Big Lake Area

Image of Big Lake

Big Lake is 225 acres in size and is situated on the historic Santiam Wagon Road. It was the first resting place for early travelers heading west. A youth camp operates under special use permit on the east side of the lake. Volcanic peaks and cinder cones visible from the lake include Mt. Washington, Sand Mountain, Hoodoo Butte, Hayrick Butte and Three Fingered Jack.

Big Lake is popular for motor boating and water skiing, as well as camping, picnicking, fishing and swimming. Access to wilderness trailheads is located nearby. The nearby Santiam Pass Dispersed Motorized Recreation Area is open to Off-Highway Vehicles. A boat launch is located in the Big Lake Day Use Area (fee required). Two campgrounds are situated on the lake.

View more Popular Lakes & Rivers

At a Glance

Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: McKenzie Bridge, OR
Passes: Some trails and day use sites require a Recreation Pass
Information Center: McKenzie River Ranger District

General Information


From McKenzie Bridge, OR, travel east on Highway 126 for 29.5 miles to Santiam Pass. Turn right, heading south on Big Lake Road (Forest Road 2690). Follow Big Lake Road for 3 miles to Big Lake.

General Notes:

map of area around Big Lake


Boating Regulations & Boating Safety: Oregon State Marine Board manages boating regulations. Visit their website for boating regulations and safety information. They also have links to information about water levels in the reservoirs.

Fishing Regulations & Information: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages fishing regulations. Visit their website for information on fishing seasons and fishing licenses.

Reservoir and River Level Information: From the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Lake and Pond Fishing

Recreation areas with activity Lake and Pond Fishing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:


Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Boating - Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Motorized:

Boating - Non-Motorized

Recreation areas with activity Boating - Non-Motorized:


Recreation areas with activity Swimming:


Recreation areas with activity Waterskiing:

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
225 Acres

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
4650 feet