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“Fantastic Lake”
Review of Clear Lake

Ranked #5 of 28 things to do in Sisters
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This is the source of the McKenzie River and offers hiking worth exploring.
Reviewed March 4, 2014

Great lake for kayaking or canoeing but the lake is extremely cold. One side of the lake is so clear you literally can see to the bottom. There are tree snags so be careful if you are in an inflatable. Other side of the lake tends to be choppy, dark and colder. More of a workout for sure. Highly recommend.

2  Thank mjd65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"row boat"
in 10 reviews
"lives up to its name"
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"name implies"
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"motorized boats"
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"cold water"
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"year round"
in 2 reviews
"east side"
in 3 reviews
"lava flow"
in 3 reviews
"mile hike"
in 2 reviews
in 10 reviews
in 13 reviews
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46 - 50 of 70 reviews

Reviewed December 5, 2013

I've lived in Oregon most of my life but had never taken the turn off on Hwy 126 to Clear Lake even though it's just an hour and a half from my home. In June 2013, a couple of my photographer friends and I set off on a Saturday morning to take pictures up on McKenzie Pass because we heard that the bear grass was blooming. My friends suggested stopping at Clear Lake as they had found bear grass there before.

We turned off the main highway and the parking area for the county-operated park was just a short distance away. We immediately spotted some blooming bear grass right in front of the little cafe. After I photographed the bear grass I walked down to the dock. I was simply awestruck by the brilliant turquoise water that was so clear you could see right to the bottom of this glacial spring-fed lake.

The lake was formed over 3,000 years ago when a lava flow dammed the McKenzie River. It flooded the forest that, due to the lake's frigid temperature, can still be seen today. These submerged trees make the lake a popular spot for divers and I could see two scuba enthusiasts swimming along the lake bottom.

Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the lake so there are no noisy outboards leaking oily slicks around to ruin the view or the tranquility. Visitors can rent a row boat for $30 a day or you can bring your own canoe or kayak. Several colorful kayaks were already paddling around when we arrived and added a nice splash of color to our photographs.

The lake is stocked with trout so visiting fishermen can try their luck at catching their supper and the resort offers a selection of cabins for rent, some sleeping up to 8 people.

It was soon time for lunch so we decided to try out the little restaurant. They had a nice selection of sandwiches and gave you a choice of fries, potato salad or a cup of soup or chili for your side dish. I decided on a hamburger with a cup of chili. It was very tasty with a juicy patty that was quite generous in size and stuffed with all the trimmings. The chili was quite good too and was a nice change from the usual fries.

We enjoyed ourselves so much we returned to Clear Lake in October to photograph the autumn leaves which were really spectacular! I even ventured a little ways down the 5-mile-long trail that circumnavigates the lake. The trail is open from late spring until the first snow although you should check with the park ranger as the west side of the trail is closed periodically to protect nesting bald eagles. You also need to keep a sharp eye out as the twisting trail is used by both hikers and mountain bikers and some of the mountain bikers pedal along quite fast.

Although you can rent a cabin in the winter, the restaurant closes during the winter and doesn't reopen until Mother's Day in the spring. I noticed that up to two pets are allowed per cabin too.

1  Thank mharrsch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

The trail around the lake is pretty easy, and there are some wonderful vistas. Be sure to stop at the pool where you can see the springs feeding the lake!

Thank rmsandvik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

We stopped here on the recommendation of the proprietor at the B&B we were staying at. If we didn't have other plans for the day we would have spent more time here. You just drive right up - no hike to get there - and we rented a rowboat for an hour and floated around. I would definitely go back there and allot more time to spend a couple of hours on the lake - it was so peaceful and the scenery is breathtaking. The water is crystal clear and turquoise blue like the Caribbean but COLD. You can clearly see to the bottom everywhere in the lake to see beautiful rock formations and trunks of ancient felled trees. It was relaxing and beautiful and I definitely recommend it.

Thank trijenn2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 4, 2013

Just five minutes drive more up the McKenzie Hwy past Sahale Falls, this unbelievebly clear and unbelievably deep lake is special, though you'll need to do the inexpensive rowboat rentals to get out to the deepest part. You can also fisn the stocked lake if that's to your liking or just be laid paid and peacful watching big sky, green trees and deep blue waters.

Thank michael s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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