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Otter Lake

Willamette Foothills, Oregon

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Otter Lake

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  • Sign along Forest Service Road 19.- Otter Lake
  • Skookum Creek Campground and trailhead for Otter Lake.- Otter Lake
  • Trailhead sign near Skookum Creek Campground.- Otter Lake
  • Footbridge across the creek to the trail.- Otter Lake
  • The trail to Otter Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Otter Lake
  • The trail to Otter Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Otter Lake
  • Trail junction for Otter Lake and Erma Bell Lakes.- Otter Lake
  • Sign for Irish Mountain Trial toward Otter Lake.- Otter Lake
  • The trail to Otter Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Otter Lake
  • The trail to Otter Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Otter Lake
  • Otter Lake.- Otter Lake
  • Rhododendron near Otter Lake.- Otter Lake
  • Vault toilets in the parking area for Skookum Creek Campground.- Otter Lake
  • Otter Lake in the Three Sisters Wilderness.- Otter Lake
  • Otter Lake surrounded by an alpine forest.- Otter Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Wildflowers. Fishing. Scenic lake.
Cons: 
Mosquitoes during summer.
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Region:
Willamette Foothills, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
NW Forest Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,500.00 ft (1,371.60 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

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Located in the popular Three Sisters Wilderness, Otter Lake is a nice spot for hiking and fishing. From the Skookum Creek Campground, head across the footbridge toward the trailhead. After about a half-mile, the trail splits. Head to the left toward Irish Mountain Trail. The right heads toward Erma Bell Lakes. Then it’s just another half mile hike up to the lake. The lake is filled with rainbow trout and surrounded by a beautiful alpine forest. Keep an eye out for birds and wildflowers.

From Otter Lake, the Irish Mountain Trail continues for a few more miles east  with views of Waldo Lake. The steep trail along the ridge connects with other trails going farther into the Three Sisters Wilderness. From Otter Lake, there is also the option of heading south on the Williams Lake Trail, which connects back with the Erma Bell Lakes trail to make a larger loop of about 8.5 miles.

Be warned, the mosquitoes can be vicious during the summer months. The trailhead from Skookum Creek Campground is usually open late June through the beginning of October, depending on snow levels, but it’s best to check with the Willamette National Forest for exact dates.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(61 within a 30 mile radius)

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(124 within a 30 mile radius)

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