Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
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 in the shadow of Tam McArthur Rim and sitting at at 6,550-feet in elevation, Three Creek Lake is the main base camp for those exploring the northeast side of the Three Sisters Wilderness.

Located 16 miles south of Sisters, Oregon, this high mountain lake (technically a reservoir) is one of the most spectacular locations in Central Oregon to spend a hot summer day. Because Tam McArthur Rim rises 1,200 feet to the south above the lake's surface, snow tends to linger longer than in nearby areas, limiting full access to as late as mid-July after big winters. Whether you bring your own boat or rent from the Three Creek Lake Resort (a general store with bait and tackle that is open all summer, 541.873.2961) you'll certainly enjoy a paddle on this lazy 28-acre lake.

Anglers will find plenty of opportunities. According to the U.S. Forest Service:

Soon after the lake is stocked every spring [with brown and rainbow trout], spin and bait fishermen do well near the dam on the northeast corner of the lake. A little later in the season, try still fishing the deep water along the cliffs on the south end of the lake and along the campground on the southeast shore. The largest fish are usually taken from these areas. Trollers do well near the dam, the boat ramp, and along the south end with both spinners and lures. The west shoreline between the two inlet creeks is also a popular trolling lane. Fly-fishing can be rewarding during evening hatches or while trolling nymphs along the west shoreline. Morning and evening are the best times to fish water this clear.

Further, according to The Fly Fisher's Place, located in Sisters, "Callibaetis and Caddis are highlights here, but midges and terrestrials are often fine producers too."

If you're looking to stay overnight you'll find first-come, first-served camping at Three Creek Lake Campground, Driftwood Campground and nearby Three Creek Meadow Campground + Horse Camp.

Note: Motors are not permitted on the lake, and Three Creek Lake Resort does not have accommodations.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


High mountain lake. General store with tackle, boat rentals, etc.


Limited season due to snowpack.


Campgrounds + Campsites
Picnic tables

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required




I would say three creek lake's campsite is my favorite. You can do everything in here even sunbathing on the beach. Best part is Tam McArthur Rim Trail is just behind you.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.