Clear Lake, Oregon

Clear Lake, half an hour's drive west of Sisters, certainly lives up to its name, even if it is much more modest than its clear cousin to the south. In a way, though, that modesty makes it all the more charming. It's approachable, and the five-mile hike around its perimeter shows off the little lake to good effect.

Which way is up?
Which way is up?
Also created volcanically, Clear Lake boasts some very clear, blue water. Being fed by many streams, though, it isn't quite as clear. Still, if you get out into the middle of the lake on a bright day, you can see the bottom a few dozen feet below you. If you're not used to that, it's actually rather eerie....

Clear Lake is fed by snow run-off that passes through miles of volcanic rock, coming into the lake virtually pure. And being a few degrees above freezing, it doesn't harbor much in the way of algae. A hike around the north end of the lake brings you to this treasure: Great Springs, where the clear water just flows out of the rock, to the delight of the butterflies that land there to drink. Fed by Pure<br>Spring Water
Fed by Pure
Spring Water

Muscle-Power Only
Muscle-Power Only
Another reason why Clear Lake is so clear: no motor boats allowed. You can rent row boats by the hour or by the day, or you can bring your own. Just be sure that it's only muscle-powered. That actually makes Clear Lake very pleasant: no motors, no jet skis, no wake. The only noise you hear is the occational wooden clunk of an oar hitting the side of a boat, and the splash of the trout.

Speaking of trout, the lake is managed by the Santiam Fish and Game Association, and it regularly stocks the lake. It also has cabins for rent at the north end of the lake, and a campground at the south end. If you like the thought of a quiet get-away, or want a peaceful place to drown worms, this is the place to come. Out on the Water
Out on the Water