Dexter Reservoir enjoys two main points of access: Lowell State Recreation Site and Dexter State Recreation Site. Each offers excellent water access via large boat ramps and ample parking and trailer space, and each offers free, year-round day use access to all of their amenities, including picnic tables and fire pits. Of the two, Dexter State Recreation Site is closest to Eugene and is perhaps less ideal for shore-based reservoir activities.
Dexter State Recreation Site’s most unique feature, however, isn’t necessarily reservoir related. The park’s excellent 18-hole disc golf course keeps a steady stream of visitors coming throughout the year. The course begins near the parking area overlooking the water, and it quickly moves downhill into the oak trees. Here the course gets a little tighter and more challenging, but the course does a great job of keeping open drive opportunities available throughout. Given the proximity to Eugene, the course is a great option for a casual morning or afternoon.
Dexter State Recreation Site stretches out quite a bit from the area you see from the parking lot. Walk across the dam for a look down the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, or walk down past the disc golf course for the short trail network below the dam. Bikes and horses are permitted, and a trail runs downriver to Elijah Bristow State Park. Just below the dam you’ll also find an unimproved boat ramp for access to the river.
Note: Like many of the reservoirs in the area, Dexter Reservoir does suffer from periodic blooms of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae are a cyanotoxin that can cause skin irritations through casual contact and serious health issues if ingested (purification and filtration is ineffective). This applies to all mammals, i.e. humans and dogs, and it also means that area drinking water should be avoided and that fish from the reservoir should not be consumed while an algae bloom is in effect.