Elk Lake (Oregon)

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Elk Lake
Elk Lake and South Sister, Oregon.jpg
The lake with South Sister in the background
LocationDeschutes County, Oregon
Coordinates43°58′27″N 121°48′09″W / 43.97417°N 121.80250°W / 43.97417; -121.80250Coordinates: 43°58′27″N 121°48′09″W / 43.97417°N 121.80250°W / 43.97417; -121.80250
Lake typeNatural, oligotrophic
Primary inflowsSnowmelt, seepage
Primary outflowsNone on the surface
Catchment area13 square miles (34 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area405 acres (164 ha)
Average depth12 feet (3.7 m)
Max. depth62 feet (19 m)
Water volume7,000 acre feet (8.6×10^6 m3)
Residence time1 year
Shore length15.1 miles (8.2 km)
Surface elevation4,882 feet (1,488 m)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Elk Lake is a natural body of water in the central Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. Nearly 4,900 feet (1,500 m) above sea level, the lake is part of a volcanic landscape about 25 miles (40 km) west-southwest of Bend along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.[2]

Elk Lake is about 6 miles (10 km) west of Mount Bachelor in Deschutes National Forest. Nearby lakes include Hosmer, Sparks, Blow, Doris, Devils, Lava, and Little Lava.[4]

Heavily used for recreation, the lake is among the most popular of the Cascade Lakes.[2] Its name stems from the large number of elk that formerly frequented the area in summer.[2] During winter, Elk Lake freezes, and access roads are usually closed by snow until late May.[2]


The United States Forest Service manages campgrounds, boat launches, and picnic sites at various locations around the lake, also served by a private resort with cabins.[2] Lake activities include sailing, motorboating, fishing, swimming, and windsurfing.[5]

The lake supports populations of brook trout generally ranging from 7 to 14 inches (18 to 36 cm) and kokanee averaging 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 cm).[5] Hiking trails leading to other high-elevation lake groups, such as those in the Mink Lake basin, begin at Elk Lake.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johnson, Daniel M.; Petersen, Richard R.; Lycan, D. Richard; Sweet, James W.; Neuhaus, Mark E., and Schaedel, Andrew L. (1985). Atlas of Oregon Lakes. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-87071-343-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Atlas of Oregon Lakes: Elk Lake (Deschutes County)". Portland State University. 1985–2012. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  3. ^ "Elk Lake". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  4. ^ United States Geological Survey (USGS). "United States Geological Survey Topographic Map". TopoQuest. Retrieved January 2, 2013..
  5. ^ a b Sheehan, Madelynne Diness (2005). Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide (10th ed.). Scappoose, Oregon: Flying Pencil Publications. pp. 222–23. ISBN 0-916473-15-5.