Cultus Lake (Oregon)

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Cultus Lake
Cultus Lake Resort (Deschutes County, Oregon scenic images) (desDB3312).jpg
Cultus Lake boat dock
LocationDeschutes County, Oregon
Coordinates43°50′16″N 121°51′36″W / 43.83766°N 121.86006°W / 43.83766; -121.86006Coordinates: 43°50′16″N 121°51′36″W / 43.83766°N 121.86006°W / 43.83766; -121.86006
TypeNatural lake
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length2 mi (3.2 km)[1]
Surface area1,145.7 acres (4.636 km2)[1]
Max. depth211 ft (64 m)[1]
Shore length18.1 mi (13.0 km)[1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Cultus Lake is a natural lake in Deschutes County in the U.S. state of Oregon. Formed by a glacier, it is located in the high Cascade Range in the Deschutes National Forest. The name is from the Chinook Jargon and means variously bad or worthless, or simply "in vain".[2]

In the early 19th century, the lakes in this area abounded with beavers. The earliest explorers to this area were primarily on a quest for furs.


Satellite image of Cultus Lake
Cultus Mountain seen from Little Cultus Lake

Cultus Lake lies at the base of the Cultus Mountain. The lake itself is natural and is 211 feet (64 m) at its deepest point and about 2 miles (3.2 km) long.[1] Several species of fish inhabit the lake, including rainbow trout, lake trout (mackinaw) and brook trout.

The lake also receives several streams inhabited by younger fish. The largest is Winopee Creek, which enters through the marsh on the northwestern side,[1] a popular fly fishing spot. Two miles south is a smaller lake called Little Cultus Lake. The two lakes are divided by Cultus Mountain.[3] The lake empties to the east via Cultus Creek, which flows into Crane Prairie Reservoir.[4]

The area around Cultus Lake is known for its large ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and western white pine, sometimes rising to 120 feet (37 m) tall. However, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the large pines are being weakened by competing understory fir trees and mountain pine beetle attacks. If the trend is not reversed, there will be a shift in tree species (and tree size) from pine and Douglas-fir to white fir.

The service recommends the selective thinning of white fir understory trees around selected ponderosa and western white pine to increase light, and the availability of nutrients, allowing the selected pines to grow more vigorously and increase their resistance to bark beetles.[5]

Management policies[edit]

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the lake for the natural and hatchery production of rainbow trout and brook trout. They also manage the natural production of Mountain Whitefish and lake trout.[6]


Cultus is a recreational lake and is also popular for water skiing, sailing, jet skiing and boating.

The lake has a resort with 23 cabins and a lodge with a restaurant and a store. There are also three other campsites for people to set up tents or park RVs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Cultus Lake (Deschutes)". Atlas of Oregon Lakes. Portland State University. 2014 [1985]. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  2. ^ " Definitions for Cultus". Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  3. ^ "Cultus Lake". U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
  4. ^ Crescent Topo Map at Lat 43.808°N Long -121.8164°W Zoom 11 S Size (Map). Cartography by U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  5. ^ "Cultus Lake Thinning". VegTools. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 2014-09-02.
  6. ^ "Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife". Archived from the original on 2006-06-17. Retrieved 2006-06-11.

External links[edit]

Media related to Cultus Lake (Oregon) at Wikimedia Commons