Lost Lake sits just off Highway 20 near the top of Santiam Pass. Along the west banks of the lake is a campground with 14 basic campsites, nearly all with lake access. From some you can even see the top of Three Fingered Jack to the north and Hoodoo Ski Area at the top of Santiam Pass to the east. Other than a few exceptions included in the recommended campsites, many of the campsites at Lost Lake Campground are well spaced, but not well separated from neighboring sites. The campground also sits across the lake from Highway 20, which is a busy route for traffic between Western and Central Oregon. The noise and lights of passing cars and trucks is unavoidable, but it doesn't overly impact the beauty of the lake's scenery.
Lost Lake itself is a natural wonder. The lake volume varies based on snow melt and drains through a sizable lava tube. In the summer, the lake drains significantly and the lake bed turns into a marsh surrounded by willows.
The campground is fairly basic. Three vault toilets are accessible from the spaced campsites. Fire rings and picnic tables are provided at every campsite and at two day use areas. Campsite 1 was turned into a boat ramp, but it appears to still get used by campers. No potable water or other amenities are provided. The campground road remains ungated year round, but the area gets covered by snow in the late fall through spring, making the campground inaccessible.
Oregon Field Guide is OPB's long-running local weekly TV series. The program covers natural resources, ecological issues, outdoor recreation and travel destinations across the Northwest region. This award-winning show is one of the most-watched local productions in the public broadcasting system.
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