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Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Situated at the base of Mount Bachelor and just south of South Sister and Broken Top, Sparks Lake is an increasingly popular destination for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, camping and hiking. Stunning views, colorful flora, and opportunities for both water and land recreation provide an ideal setting for fantastic summer days in Oregon’s high desert. Because the water depth doesn't exceed 10 feet, the lake is a safe spot for boating and swimming.  Note that if you do take a dip, it may be brief, as the chilly water temperatures will wake you right up! 

Sparks Lake was created approximately 10,000 years ago by a lava flow that divided the upper Deschutes River. Today the lake is part of a system of wetlands and meadows that is a healthy habitat for birds and other wildlife. The Deschutes National Forest maintains a boat ramp, a parking area, and restrooms at the northern end of the lake, as well as the 2.5 mile-long Ray Atkinson Hiking Trail that skirts the lake’s shore before running into the adjacent forest.

If you are interested in an overnight stay, consider the nearby Soda Creek Campground, operated by Hoodoo Recreation. Alternately, there are several campsites scattered along the shore for those who choose to pack or boat their gear.  These sites are managed on a first-come, first-served basis, so consider an early arrival.  

Visitors can expect hot temperatures in the summer and limited winter accessibility – this stretch of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway closes in October and doesn’t reopen until late Spring.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass

Pros

Mountain views. Unique lava formations. Backcountry campsites.

Cons

Less wildlife than at other nearby Cascade lakes. Peak summer crowds.

Address

Unnamed Road
Bend, OR 97701
United States

Water Temperature

32.00 °F (0.00 °C)

Features

Campgrounds + Campsites
Backcountry camping

Typically multi-day

No

Shuttle required

No

Site characteristics: Water

Lake

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

09/02/2018
Crowded lake in mid summer but all quiet in late summer. Perfect place to take a walk enjoying Cascades' veiw
08/12/2017
Visited this place again last summer. Never ceases to awe and impress. Quite pristine!
08/16/2017
BEAUTIFUL! The best part about Sparks Lake is, even though there were dozens of cars in the parking area, the lake is so huge that you feel like you have the place to yourself.
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