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Easy / Class A
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High at an elevation of 4,900 feet, with 7,215-foot Olallie* Butte looming over it, Olallie Lake is the main destination for one of Oregon’s most remote wilderness areas. Located between Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson and bordering the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, Olallie Lake is actually one of more than 200 subalpine mountain lakes that make up the nationally designated Olallie Scenic Area.

The area is protected by miles of rough gravel roads from the north and the south, but once you pull up to Olallie Lake the attraction of this place will be clear as the heavily chiseled, 10,495-foot Mount Jefferson dominates the southern horizon.

With 240 acres of surface area and a maximum depth of 47 feet, Olallie Lake is by far the largest lake in the scenic area, with Monon Lake to the south being the second largest.

Be sure to bring your boat if you plan to try for any number of the lake’s annually stocked rainbow or brook trout, as many fish congregate toward the middle of the lake as summer progresses. You can also rent relaxing little row boats from Olallie Lake Resort for a fair price

The lake has no shortage of options for camping or accommodations. The Olallie Lake Resort rents out 10 primitive cabins, there are two yurts available at Paul Dennis Campground, and there are dozens of lakeshore campsites at Paul Dennis, Peninsula or Camp Ten Campgrounds. If those are full, consider nearby Olallie Meadow, Lower Lake, Horseshoe, or Breitenbush Lake Campground.

If you are looking to venture out into the surrounding wilderness, consider these nearby adventures:

Paddling/fishing:

  • Explore adjacent Monon Lake and Horseshoe Lake, both ideal for a lazy day paddle.

Hiking:

  • Walk 2.9 level miles around Monon Lake and take the extension that skirts around Olallie Lake’s eastern shore and leads to Long Lake, located in the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
  • The most popular location in the area is Jefferson Park, a subalpine, wildflower-filled meadow at the base of Mount Jefferson (11.6 miles there-and-back).
  • Venture on a trail that passes Top Lake and numerous others in the Scenic Area as it climbs to the top of Double Peaks (5.3 miles as a there-and-back/loop) for views of Mount Jefferson and the rest of the Olallie Scenic Area. The trailhead is at Head Lake just west of Olallie Lake Resort.
  • Climb 2,600 feet to the top of 7,215-foot Olallie Butte for stunning, 360-degree panoramic vistas of Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson and much of Northwest Oregon. The trailhead is on northwest side of Olallie Butte off of NF-4220 under the power lines.

* “Olallie,” a name associated with countless outdoor destinations throughout the Northwest, is Chinook slang for “berry.”

Note: Motorized boats and swimming are not permitted on the lake, as the lake is a source of drinking water the resort.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Mount Jefferson views. Adjacent camping and resort. Row boats for rent.

Cons

Access includes 13 miles of rough gravel road.

Features

Campgrounds + Campsites
Lodging
Fishing
Picnic tables
Bird watching
Wildlife

Site characteristics: Water

Lake

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

03/15/2015
An impressively scenic lake with an alpine feel.
This is one of our favorite areas to play. Although remote, it can get busy during the summer months. There is no swimming allowed in Olallie lake as it is a drinking source but just on the other side of the road in, is Head lake where you can swim. On this trip, we had the entire area to ourselves. In fact, we believe, we were possibly the last visitors of the year.
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