This pristine lake set in the middle of central Oregon's Cascade Lakes region should be on every paddler's list! The highlights range from its shallow and astonishing emerald waters to the unique outlet that constitutes the humble beginnings of the Deschutes River. The trout-filled lake also boasts northern views of Mount Bachelor and South Sister.
Cut off from its bigger brother, Lava Lake, by a solidified lava flow, Little Lava Lake sits at an elevation of 4,744 feet and will not disappoint. While in your boat, be sure to explore the headwaters of the Deschutes and its tranquil marshy banks, and then dock right in front of your campsite where you can snuggle up next to a warm fire for the rest of the evening. That being said, if you're looking to camp out at Little Lava Lake Campground, get in early as it runs on a first-come first-served basis.
Note: The only access to the lake is via 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.
Here's a list of our go-to essentials to get you started: