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.
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
Body of water: Natural lake
Water quality: Clear & transparent
Depth: Deep and shallow
Water T° (summer): Cool to warm
Boat Ramp on Suttle 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.