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Lava Lake - Oregon | Your Complete Guide

Lava Lake is located in the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, specifically within the Cascade Range. It is situated in a beautiful mountainous setting, surrounded by forests and volcanic landscapes. The lake sits at an elevation of approximately 4,700 feet (1,433 meters).

Lava Lake is known for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. It offers opportunities for camping, hiking, fishing, and non-motorized boating. The lake is popular for trout fishing, particularly for brook trout, rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon.

Lava Lake Oregon

Lava Lake: At a Glance

  • Location: Deschutes County, Oregon

  • Elevation: 4,740'

  • Average Depth: 20 feet

  • Max Depth: 34 feet

  • Surface Area: 368 acres

  • Nearest City: Sunriver, Oregon

  • Why Visit? Scenic views, watersports, and fishing

  • Camping: Yes, Lava Lake Campground, Lava Lake Resort, and Little Lava Lake Campground are nearby.

Lava Lake Location

Lava Lake is located in the Deschutes National Forest in central Oregon, United States. It is situated within the Cascade Range, a mountain range that stretches from northern California through Oregon and Washington.

The lake is specifically positioned in Deschutes County, southeast of the city of Bend.

Lava Lake 1
At Lava Lake, you can rent a variety of boats.

Getting to Lava Lake

Use the map below to get directions to Lava Lake:

History of Lava Lake

Lava Lake in Oregon is characterized by its unique formation and natural features. The lake owes its existence to ancient lava flows that created a natural dam along its eastern shoreline. This geological process is responsible for the lake's distinctive shape.

Lava Flows
Lava flows near Lava Lake

One notable aspect of Lava Lake is its age, which is evident in the presence of vegetation in the shallower areas. Rushes, waterlilies, and other plants live along the perimeter.

The primary source of water for Lava Lake is subsurface springs located in the northeast corner of the lake. These springs contribute to the lake's inflow.

Occasionally, Lava Lake connects with Little Lava Lake during periods of high water in the spring. This connection occurs via an outlet channel situated in the southeast corner of Lava Lake.

Lava Lake: Activities

Lava Lake offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the activities you can engage in at Lava Lake:


Lava Lake is known for its fishing opportunities. The lake is stocked with trout, making it a popular spot for anglers. You can cast your line and try your luck at catching rainbow trout or other fish species found in the lake.


Lava Lake provides a scenic setting for boating enthusiasts. You can bring your own boat or rent one locally to explore the tranquil waters of the lake. Enjoy leisurely cruises, go paddling, or engage in water sports such as water skiing or wakeboarding. You can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and even pontoon boats from Lava Lake Resort.

Mountains on Lava Lake
Boating is popular on the waters of Lava Lake.


On warm days, you can take a refreshing swim in the clear waters of Lava Lake. The lake's pristine environment and beautiful surroundings create a serene atmosphere for a relaxing swim.


There are hiking trails in the area that offer opportunities to explore the natural beauty surrounding Lava Lake. Whether you prefer short walks or longer hikes, you can embark on trails that lead to stunning viewpoints, waterfalls, or other points of interest in the vicinity.

Lava Lake via Metolius Windigo Trail

2.8 miles, 100' of elevation gain

The Lava Lake/ Windigo Trail is a good option for those at the lake. It starts at the Resort and follows along the east side of the lake.

Lava Lake Dock
Lava Lake Dock with South Sister, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor in the background.

Wildlife Viewing

Lava Lake is home to various wildlife species. As you explore the area, keep an eye out for birds, including waterfowl and raptors, and mammals like deer or small mammals scurrying through the forest. Binoculars and a camera can enhance your wildlife viewing experience.


The day-use area at Lava Lake Campground provides picnic tables and a scenic setting for outdoor dining. Pack a delicious meal, relax with friends or family, and enjoy a picnic in the midst of nature.

Picnic Area at Lava Lake
There are a few picnic tables to use along the shores of Lava Lake.

Camping at Lava Lake

There are two campgrounds on the banks of Lava Lake:

Lava Lake Resort

Lava Lake Resort is one of the most popular campgrounds on the banks of the lake. It is a small RV fishing resort that offers a camping experience with some awesome amenities. It includes showers, bathrooms with flush toilets, a store, laundry facilities, and boat rentals.

Lava Lake Resort Store
The Lava Lake Resort Store sells everything from toilet paper to ramen.

Situated close to Lava Lake, this popular campground provides a sense of privacy and tranquility. The campground features a range of accommodations, including single RV sites for small RVs, tent sites, and double campsites, catering to various camping preferences.

Conveniently located off Lava Lake Road (Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway) and north of Little Lava Lake, Lava Lake Campground offers easy access to many natural attractions.

To Do Nearby

Near Lava Lake, there are several attractions and activities to explore. Here are some of the notable destinations and activities in the vicinity:

Visit Bend

As a vibrant city located nearby, Bend offers a range of attractions and amenities. Visit downtown Bend to explore its shops, restaurants, and breweries. You can also enjoy outdoor activities such as biking along the Deschutes River Trail or exploring the beautiful parks and gardens in the area.

Visit Sunriver

Situated south of Bend, Sunriver is a resort community known for its outdoor recreation opportunities. Explore the Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory, go horseback riding, play a round of golf, or take a relaxing float down the Deschutes River.

Go See Mount Bachelor

Just west of Lava Lake, Mount Bachelor is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing on the slopes of the mountain.

Mount Bachelor
Mount Bachelor is located just up the road from Lava Lake.

In the summer, take advantage of scenic chairlift rides, mountain biking, hiking trails, and disc golf.

Boat on Elk Lake

Located southwest of Lava Lake, Elk Lake is a picturesque mountain lake known for its clear waters and beautiful surroundings. It offers various recreational opportunities, such as fishing, boating, paddleboarding, and kayaking.

Elk Lake
The beautiful Elk Lake offers as much, or more, than Lava Lake.

Explore Cultus Lake

Situated south of Elk Lake, Cultus Lake is another stunning alpine lake. It's a great spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. The lake is surrounded by the Deschutes National Forest, providing ample opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing.

Cultus Lake
Cultus Lake is a large, nearby lake.

Kayak on Devil's Lake

Located in the Cascade Lakes region, Devil's Lake is known for its emerald-green waters. It's a great place for fishing, canoeing, and picnicking.

Devil's Lake
The amazing green waters of Devil's Lake aren't far from Lava Lake.

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