Why is Elk Lake a popular summer destination? It's probably the four campgrounds sprinkled around its shoreline, numerous cabin rental options, a full-size marina perfect for docking sailboats, several day-use beaches, central Oregon sunshine, Cascade mountain vistas, canoe and boat rental options, and a resort that serves some of the best huckleberry ice cream anywhere. Just a 32-mile drive west of Bend, Elk Lake is set on the northern end of Oregon's Cascade Lakes region, a 40-mile stretch of magically scenic subalpine lakes located between the Three Sisters Wilderness to the north and Diamond Peak to the south.
Although it's mostly visited during the summer months, Elk Lake is a year-round destination. Situated at 4,900 feet, the lake is snowed-in during the winter months, but this doesn't stop many local winter enthusiasts who make the approximately 11-mile trek (one-way) to overnight at the unique winter destination of Elk Lake Resort, which keeps its doors open all year.
Note: The only vehicle access to the lake is via the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, which is closed during the winter months due to extensive snow pack. The highway typically opens in late June and closes in early November.