Disappearing Lake

South Prairie

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

Start Exploring
Disappearing Lake


  • Canoeing in Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Canoe, kayak, or SUP through the lake and its channels.- Disappearing Lake
  • Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • A large cottonwood tree floats on the lake's surface.- Disappearing Lake
  • Reflections on the lake are mesmerizing.- Disappearing Lake
  • Explore the pools and lava fields along the lake's shore.- Disappearing Lake
  • A kayaker explores Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Cottonwoods surrounded by water in Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Beautiful lake reflections.- Disappearing Lake
  • Cottonwoods surrounded by water in Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Zach Urness in his kayak on the lake taking in the magic of the area.- Disappearing Lake
  • Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Trees and vegetation grow from the surface of a Mount Adams lava flow.- Disappearing Lake
  • Disappearing Lake.- Disappearing Lake
  • Across the road from Disappearing Lake you'll see another lake to explore.- Disappearing Lake
Overview + Weather
Serene and beautiful. Unique forest "bayou" environment.
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, WA
Site characteristics: Water: 
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
Published in collaboration with
Paddle Description

Paddle Description


Disappearing Lake is an occasional feature, and that is what makes the place so special. The lake forms in the spring, with a depth of 6 to 8 feet in places. As the weather warms it quickly disappears, leaving an area known as South Prairie in its place. Forest Service botanists speculate that the lake is formed when a lava tube freezes up, damming the creek that feeds the prairie. When the ice melts, the lake water quickly recedes. 

The area's bayou-like feel makes Disappearing Lake a unique destination. Paddlers can get up close to huge cottonwood trees surrounded by water, and driftwood floats in the lake and along its shores. Lodgepole pine and aspen ring the lake along with the Douglas fir that is more commonly found throughout the area. There are many opportunities to explore the features that become lake channels, our you can wander through the lava fields that surround the lake and become filled with crystal-clear water. In the summer, South Prairie stays lush much longer than most other meadows in the area. According to the Forest Service, South Prairie is host to the largest population of a rare iris species. 

The lake is easy to reach once you know where to go, and the easiest put-in for the lake is at the junction of Forest Service roads 66 and 6610, which is marked by the Forest Service sign that for South Prairie. The road to Disappearing Lake is beautiful in its own right, as it follows an ancient Mount Adams lava flow and occasionally offers glimpses of the volcano through the trees.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Map

Field Guide + Map

Published in collaboration with
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(92 within a 30 mile radius)

Published in collaboration with
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
86 Members
Who's Done It
10 Members
Submission by
195 Adventures Explored
73 Adventures Published

Published in collaboration with Oregon Field Guide

Oregon Field Guide is OPB's long-running local weekly TV series. The program covers natural resources, ecological issues, outdoor recreation and travel destinations across the Northwest region. This award-winning show is one of the most-watched local productions in the public broadcasting system.

Oregon Field Guide also extends the work it does in the field for the television series across radio and the Web, providing a greater degree of coverage.

Oregon Field Guide airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, and at 7:30 p.m. Sundays.

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info