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Little Lava Lake

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Little Lava Lake

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  • South Sister (10,358'), the tip of Broken Top (9,177') and Mount Bachelor (9,068') from Little Lava Lake's boat ramp area.- Little Lava Lake
  • View of Little Lava Lake looking southeast.- Little Lava Lake
  • Deschutes River headwater channel.- Little Lava Lake
  • Deschutes River headwater channel.- Little Lava Lake
  • View to the north of Mount Bachelor (9,068') from Little Lava Lake.- Little Lava Lake
  • Little Lava Lake's opal waters.- Little Lava Lake
  • Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) along Little Lava Lake's shore.- Little Lava Lake
  • Deschutes River headwater channel.- Little Lava Lake
  • Fish below the waters of the Deschutes River headwater channel.- Little Lava Lake
  • Deschutes River headwater channel.- Little Lava Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Opal waters. Fishing and floating down the Deschutes River headwater channel.
Cons: 
None.
Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Site characteristics: Water: 
Lake
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
No
Portage required: 
Yes
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Shuttle required: 
No
Typically multi-day: 
No
Water difficulty: 
Moderate / Class B
Current Local Weather:
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Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Team

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.

Before you head out on your next adventure to Little Lava Lake, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to essentials to get you started:

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(51 within a 30 mile radius)

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(125 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with Chaco

Born on the river in 1989, Chaco builds premium footwear for outdoor adventuring. Known for our all-terrain versatility, unmatched durability, and signature arch support, Chaco gives you the confidence to tackle anything and everything that comes your way. In short, we believe that life is fantastic on foot.

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