When faced with the many gorgeous lakes near Bend, Oregon, it can be hard to pick a favorite! Make sure to bring your paddle board and sunscreen because some of these lakes require a hike!
From Sparks Lake to Elk Lake, the beautiful lakes in Bend, Oregon range in popularity, temperature, ease of access, and depth. Some require 10 minutes or more of hiking to reach them, and others are so isolated you'll need to be 'in the know' to find them. These 8 favorites are hard to go wrong with!
Distance from Bend: 40 minutes / 25 miles
Why Visit: Panoramic views
Sparks Lake is incredibly popular due to its beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. It's popular with paddle boarders and kayakers and is a great place to spend a warm summer day. There is also a 1.5-mile or so loop around the lake that you can choose to enjoy if you want to!
The lake formed over 10,000 years ago after Mt. Bachelor erupted and blocked up part of the Deschutes River.
Did you know? Sparks Lake was named for Lige Sparks a central Oregon stockman.
Distance from Bend: 35 minutes / 28 miles
Why Visit: Calm waters are great for paddleboarding
Devils Lake has incredibly clear blue water, making it one of the most beautiful lakes on this list. It's fed by mountain springs, though, meaning that it'll be disappointingly cold most of the year!
It's 685 acres and is popular with paddleboarders and fishers. It is also one of the best kayak fishing lakes in Oregon. The lake is located near the trailhead to hike South Sister, one of the most popular hikes in Oregon.
Distance from Bend: 33 minutes / 28 miles
Why Visit: Isolated and near South Sister
Moraine Lake is another wonderful lake near Bend, Oregon. It's along the southern part of South Sister and is about 33 minutes from the city center and 10 minutes from Mount Bachelor. You'll have to hike in to access the lake making it far more remote than Sparks or Elk Lakes. The trail starts near the also-popular Devils Lake.
Distance from Bend: 50 minutes / 50 miles
Why Visit: High-speed watercraft are allowed
Cultus Lake is a popular destination for families around the Pacific Northwest. It's near the also popular Cultus Lake Resort, which boasts 23 gorgeous cabins to rent. It's one of the best lakes for boating in Oregon. It's one of the best lakes for vacation in Oregon.
The lake was formed by a glacier and is around 50 miles from Bend. It's only of the only lakes that allow high-speed motorized watercraft due to its larger size. There is also a nearby campground where you can enjoy a few amenities.
The lake is perfect for swimming, sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, and even windsurfing. Around the lake, you're likely to see ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir trees.
Distance from Bend: 30 minutes / 23.5 miles
Why Visit: Views of Broken Top Mountain
Todd Lake is conveniently located along Cascade Lakes Highway. It's the first that you'll come to from Bend. It's near the Mount Bachelor Ski area as well, meaning you can move from one activity to the next without much driving.
You'll have to walk in about 1/4 of a mile before you see the lake so make sure you're prepared to walk back and forth or bring all your gear on the first trip!
From the lake, you'll see incredible views of Broken Top Mountain, one of the best mountains to climb in Oregon. You're likely to see many other visitors hiking, fishing, and picnicking during the summer. You'll also be required to pay the $5 recreation fee per vehicle unless you have a Northwest Forest Pass.
Distance from Bend: 39 minutes / 31 miles
Why Visit: Paddle boards for rent!
Elk Lake is certainly one of the most popular lakes along the Cascade Lakes Highway. There, you can rent paddle boards and kayaks at the marina and enjoy nearby amenities like an ice cream shop. You can also boat here, and it's common to see pontoon boats and sailing boats on a summer day.
The Three Sisters can be seen looming over the north end of the lake, with Mount Bachelor to the east. The lake only reaches a maximum depth of 25 feet, and with a relatively small acreage of 87, you may want to get there early to get a spot!
Distance from Bend:
Why Visit: A hidden gem
This hidden gem of a lake is well-loved for its isolated feeling. It is a fly-fishing-only lake that boasts fantastic views of the Three Sisters and Mount Bachelor. It's one of those locations that are hard to find, especially considering that it's somewhat hidden behind Elk Lake.
The lake is also popular with canoeists and hikers who make use of the boat ramp, which makes it very easy to access the water.
Distance from Bend: 44 minutes / 37 miles
Why Visit: Isolated and warm
Lucky Lake is a great location for swimming and hiking. There is a short hike in to access the lake, about 1 mile, that only gently inclines. But, you won't want to hike up it several times. Make sure you bring everything you need with you on the first trip!
You're likely to be surprised by how pleasantly warm the water is here and how few visitors you'll have around you at this Bend, Oregon lake.
Does Bend, Oregon have lakes?
Yes, Bend, Oregon has lakes! There are many lakes within an hour's drive of the city. The Cascade Lakes Highway is scattered with them. They include Sparks Lake and Devils Lake.
What is the lake near Bend?
Sparks Lake is one of the most popular lakes near Bend, Oregon. It's gorgeous and is popular for paddleboarding and kayaking.
Can you swim in Devils Lake Bend, Oregon?
Yes, you can swim in Devils Lake, Bend, Oregon. Its crystal clear water is perfect for swimming if you can take the cold!
Can you swim in Elk Lake?
Yes, you can swim at Elk Lake. It's popular for swimming, fishing, boating, and paddleboarding.