Scout Lake – Deschutes National Forest

Scout Lake
Swimming Holes Rating

Scout Lake

Scout Lake

Scout Lake

Scout Lake

If you are looking for an idyllic lake for swimming in Central Oregon, there really is no better option than the scenic Scout Lake located in the Deschutes National Forest.

Nestled in a mixed conifer forest, Scout Lake sits 3,700 feet high with a picturesque view of the shoreline. The deep flowing waters coupled with its sandy shores, make Scout Lake ideal for swimming as the weather heats up. The landscape surrounding the lake is known for showcasing volcanic activity which is unique to this region. In fact, those who are interested can visit neighboring extinct volcanoes, lava flows, and calderas.

The undisturbed beauty of the pristine streams and diverse forests allows the surrounding wilderness to support a myriad variety of wildlife such as squirrels, deer, salmon, trout and a plethora of migratory birds. Scout Lake is known for being a haven for adventure or outdoor enthusiasts as it offers multiple options for a variety of interests.

You are also free to explore up to 1600 miles of trails covering pure wilderness, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs scattered throughout the Deschutes National Forest and the Ochoco National Forest. If hiking sounds tedious then Scout Lake and Suttle Lake, less than a mile away, are phenomenal for water sports enthusiasts.

While Scout Lake only allows for non-motorized watercraft (wading, swimming), Suttle Lake is known for its water skiing, boating and fishing opportunities.

Finally, for those desiring an experience like no other, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, also known as 'Oregon’s Highway in the Sky’, is a beautiful 66-mile drive weaving through the Cascade Mountain Range affording travelers views of majestic snowcapped peaks and stunning alpine lakes. No matter what you desire, Scout Lake can satiate your appetite.

General Description

Access allowed: Mid-May
Walking distance: Short
Day-use fees: $5 per vehicle per day

  • Northwest Forest Pass - Annual/Day Pass
  • Golden Age/Access Pass
  • Interagency Senior/Access/Military Pass

Dogs: Not allowed at Scout Lake
Usage: Moderate to heavy
Accommodations: Scout Lake Campground
Location: Deschutes National Forest
GPS coordinates: 44.410493, -121.746916
Elevation: 3700 ft (1128 m)

Scout Lake is located:

  • 15 miles west of Sisters
  • 39 miles northwest of Bend
  • 95 miles east of Eugene
  • 98 miles east of Salem
  • 144 miles southeast of Portland

Phone:  541-383-5300

Navigation Link*


Body of water: Natural lake
Water quality: Clear & transparent
Current: None
Depth: Deep and shallow
Beach: Sandy
Water T° (summer): Cool to warm


Water sports


Drinking water
Garbage service
Boat Ramp on Suttle Lake
Picnic sites

Scout Lake

Scout Lake

Directions to Scout Lake

From Sisters, OR: Follow 13.2 miles Northwest on Highway 20 to SW Suttle Lake Loop, turn right onto SW Suttle Lake Loop and drive 1.2 miles to Forest Road 2066, turn left onto Forest Road 2066, and continue 0.8 miles to the destination.

Weather Forecast

Chance of Rain
11/22 50%
Chance of Rain
High 62° / Low 49°
11/23 100%
High 56° / Low 32°
11/24 10%
High 52° / Low 34°
11/25 90%
High 52° / Low 37°
11/26 90%
High 49° / Low 32°

One Comment

  1. G. Mark Dorn

    I have many fond memories of camping at, and excursions to Scout Lake(60’s). It had clean beaches, clear cool water, large logs floating about that kids would climb on, jump off of, and have a jolly good time.

    It has no observable inlet or outlet. Spring fed, and stabilized by evaporation and seepage. There were orange belly salamanders, lots of dragonflies, deer and of course mosquitoes.

    Recent visits have been discouraging. IMO the aquatic life has been killed off by the overuse of sun screen, tanning oils, etc. That put a sheen on the surface of the lake that has destroyed any aquatic life, thus disrupting the flora/fauna diversity.

    Today, I don’t think I should enter the water. So sad.

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