Little Lava Lake

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Little Lava Lake
Little Lava Lake (Deschutes County, Oregon scenic images) (desDB3305).jpg
Location of Little Lava Lake in Oregon, USA.
Location of Little Lava Lake in Oregon, USA.
Little Lava Lake
Location of Little Lava Lake in Oregon, USA.
Location of Little Lava Lake in Oregon, USA.
Little Lava Lake
LocationDeschutes County, Oregon
Coordinates43°54′37″N 121°45′24″W / 43.910394°N 121.756698°W / 43.910394; -121.756698Coordinates: 43°54′37″N 121°45′24″W / 43.910394°N 121.756698°W / 43.910394; -121.756698
TypeVolcanogenic, mesotrophic
Primary inflowssubsurface springs and occasional overflow from Lava Lake
Primary outflowsDeschutes River
Catchment area18 square miles (47 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Surface area138 acres (56 ha)
Average depth8 feet (2.4 m)
Max. depth20 feet (6.1 m)
Water volume1,100 acre-feet (1,400,000 m3)
Residence time2 months
Shore length12.8 miles (4.5 km)
Surface elevation4,744 feet (1,446 m)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Little Lava Lake lies in the Cascade Range about 26 miles (42 km) west-southwest of Bend in the U.S. state of Oregon.[1] A close neighbor of Lava Lake,[1] from which it is separated by solidified lava,[4] Little Lava Lake is at an elevation of 4,744 feet (1,446 m)[3] in the Deschutes National Forest. Generally considered the source of the Deschutes River, the lake covers 138 acres (56 ha) to an average depth of 8 feet (2.4 m).[1]

Lava Lake, Little Lava Lake, and other nearby lakes formed after lava flows from Mount Bachelor altered drainage patterns in the area. Solidified lava flows are visible along the shorelines of both lakes, and the volcanic peaks Broken Top and South Sister can be seen to the north.[1]


Fish in the lake include stocked rainbow trout, wild brook trout, and tui chub.[5] Caught trout average 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) and sometimes reach 17 inches (43 cm).[5] In addition to fishing, the lake is used for canoeing, rafting, and swimming.[4]

A United States Forest Service campground is near the lake,[1] and Big Lava Lake, about 14 mile (0.40 km) away, also has campsites.[5] The Little Lava Lake campground has 13 campsites, two tent-only sites for large groups, and a boat ramp.[4]

Trails in the area offer opportunities for hiking and horseback riding. One trail follows the west side of Little Lava Lake and leads south into Three Sisters Wilderness and on to Williamson Mountain.[4]


In January 1924 the triple-murder of fur trappers, Edward Nickols, Roy Wilson, and Dewey Morris, occurred near the lake. Their bodies were discovered in Little Lava Lake in April 1924, where they had been deposited under the surface ice. The murders are unsolved.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f 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. p. 222. ISBN 0-87071-343-4.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "Little Lava Lake (Deschutes)". Atlas of Oregon Lakes. Portland State University. 1985–2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Little Lava Lake". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d "Little Lava Lake Campground". Public Lands Interpretive Association. 1997–2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Sheehan, Madelynne Diness. Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide (10th ed.). Scappoose, Oregon: Flying Pencil Publications. p. 230. ISBN 0-916473-15-5.

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