Elk Lake is a high-elevation lake in the Deschutes National Forest, located about 32 miles southwest of Bend and along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. With 405 acres of water surface, 5.1 kilometers of shoreline, and an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level, it’s a well-known and popular destination for swimming, fishing, boating, windsurfing, hiking, and camping. The lake is open all year, but weather conditions may make it inaccessible between November and late May.
The lake is the most popular and heavily used among other Cascade Lakes and reservoirs. There are three day-use areas, four campgrounds, a resort, boat ramps, and hiking trails around the lake.
Elk Lake is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and experience all that Central Oregon has to offer, so we’ve compiled a list of things to do at Elk Lake to make sure you’re getting the most of your visit.
Enjoy the Beach Picnic Area
The beach/picnic area is located on the shores of Elk Lake, and has stunning views of South Sister. During the summer months, it is a popular location to enjoy a sandy beach (that’s right! – we said “sandy beach” 😊), swim, and picnic.
The beach is open from late May to mid-September, weather and conditions permitting.
Fishing at Elk Lake
Elk Lake is stocked with Kokanee and Brook Trout. A valid Oregon fishing license is required for all anglers 16 years of age and older. You can purchase a license online, at any Oregon license agent or at an ODFW office.
The best time to fish is usually early in the season or late in the fall when the water temperatures are cooler. Check the stocking reports for recent stocking information.
Visit the Elk Lake Guard Station
The historic guard station known as Elk Lake Guard Station is located near Elk Lake. The guard station, which served as a base for a forest guard, was built in 1929. It is now a visitor information center where you can learn about the life and work of the last century’s forest guard.
From Elk Lake, you can access Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which connects you to various trails and lakes throughout the Cascade Range. Hosmer, Sparks, Blow, Doris, Devils, Todd, Cultus, Lava, and Little Lava Lakes are all near Elk Lake, making hiking in this area interesting and fun. In fact, the PCT is America’s second-longest trail, running from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon, and Washington states. So, needless to say, there is a lot of hiking fun to be had when we’re talking about the PCT.
Hit the Lake with Meredith Lodging!
Are you ready to discover one of Oregon’s most beautiful vacation destination spots? Mt Bachelor Village Resort has you covered with an impressive collection of Mt Bachelor vacation homes and Bend lodging accommodations – ranging from all sizes and budgets. You can view our complete collection online, or call our Reservations Team at (8777) 778-9055. We hope to see you out on Elk Lake soon!