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Days
<1
Motors Allowed?
Yes
Difficulty
Easy / Class A
Distance
?
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At just over a half-hour’s drive from Eugene, Fall Creek Reservoir is one of the area’s most accessible large bodies of water.  The 165-acre reservoir is a popular destination for powerboats and powered personal watercraft, but the reservoir is also a great spot for a paddle.  The fingers of the reservoir make it easy to find leeward routes when the wind shows up, and several access points around the perimeter of the reservoir keep exploration options wide open.  For instance, wind was westerly during this visit, so the short 2.5-mile loop from North Shore along the reservoir wall to Winberry State Recreation Area and back was the best option for leeward passage.

Generally the water warms up significantly in late summer, which is great for some water sports; on the other hand, the warmer water can also lead to hazardous blue-green algae populations that makes water contact a bit of a hazard.  Check to make sure this isn’t an issue before you swim. 

Access is primarily through Cascara Campground, North Shore boat ramp, and Winberry State Recreation Area.  Day use fees apply at Cascara and Winberry.  Unpaved ramps may also be found at several free day use sites along the northern shore.  As the reservoir is artificial, wide fluctuations in water levels can result in the closure of certain access points, though North Shore and Winberry are reliable low water options in late summer.  The reservoir was initially constructed in 1965 for flood control, and in keeping with this mission the levels are drawn down to unusable levels in the winter.  All access areas are closed by the end of September each year and open again in early spring (as is also the case with area campgrounds).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Close to Eugene. Several access points. Nearby camping. Fishing.

Cons

Reservoir levels are low by late summer. Access is closed in the winter.

Features

Campgrounds + Campsites
Fishing
Picnic tables
Covered picnic areas

Site characteristics: Water

Lake

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

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