Clear Lake Area


Image of Boater on Clear Lake

In the summer months, this sparkling lake in the Cascades is a great place to fish, paddle (no motorized boats allowed), hike and mountain bike. While the clear waters might seem tempting to jump in to, the nearly freezing temperature of the lake makes it unsuitable for swimming. A picnic shelter, built by the Civilian Conservation Corp, is at the day use area near the resort. Osprey and bald eagles, and native cutthroat trout call the lake home. Non-native rainbow and brook trout are also found in the lake.

The "lake born of fire," is the headwaters of the McKenzie River and was formed 3,000 years ago when lava from Sand Mountain reached the river and backed up water to form the lake. The original forest lining the riverbanks was submerged. Remnants of some of these submerged trees still stand under 120 feet of water and are visible from the trail and by boat.

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At a Glance

Rentals & Guides: Linn County Parks  operates the Clear Lake Resort under special use permit. It features cabins, boat rentals, boat launch, and a restaurant.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: No motors allowed on lake
Closest Towns: McKenzie Bridge, OR
Restroom: available at campgrounds and day use sites
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 18 miles to Clear Lake.

General Notes:

Map of Clear Lake Area


Hiking at the 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.



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Camping & Cabins

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Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

Nature Viewing

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Water Activities

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