An artificial lake, Crane Prairie Reservoir is located along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway in the beautiful scenery of the Deschutes National Forest. The relatively shallow crystal-clear lake features picturesque views of South Sister and Mount Bachelor on the horizon.
The reservoir was formed by constructing a dam across the Deschutes River in 1922 for irrigation purposes. The Deschutes River itself is originated 8.4 miles north at Little Lava Lake. After the Crane Prairie Reservoir, the river continues its way for 5 miles south to Wickiup Reservoir.
The 3,420-acre reservoir was named for the Sandhill cranes that inhabit its wetland. Besides cranes, this area attracts many migrating and nesting birds including ospreys, bald eagles, cormorants, Canada geese, terns, and ducks. An observation area is located on the west side of the reservoir where you can see birds on snags and artificial nesting poles. Ospreys that dived for fish can be seen from May through October.
Osprey Point Trail - a short trail with interpretive signs runs through a twisted pine forest offering wildlife viewing opportunities.
Crane Prairie Reservoir is a popular place for swimming, boating, tubing, fishing, hiking, and camping.
Crane Prairie Resort, Crane Prairie Campground & Boating Site as well as grocery store, gas, and boat rentals are located on the northeast shore of the reservoir.
Rock Creek Campground, Day-Use & Boating Site on the west side of the reservoir offers fishing and boating opportunities. A boat ramp, boat docks, and a fish cleaning station are within the campground. There is a small parking lot for trailers.
Quinn River Campground, Day-Use & Boating Site is located 1.4 miles north of the Rock Creek Campground. There are a boat ramp and a gravel parking lot for trailers.
The reservoir is well-known for excellent fishing opportunities. A rainbow trout is abundant in this nutrient-rich water. There is a good chance to catch a trophy “cranebow” trout that ranges in weight from 4 to 10 pounds. Mountain whitefish, brook trout, and kokanee.
The reservoir boasts one of the largest populations of bass in Oregon, thus making it an excellent place for bass fishing. The ample supply of food in the form of vegetation and timber makes it a heaven for bass.
Crane Prairie Reservoir | General Description
Open: Year-round; Due to snow in winters, the roads are closed
Managed: US Forest Service
Location: Cascade Lakes Highway, Deschutes National Forest
Services: Campgrounds, restrooms, picnic sites, boat ramps
Activities: Swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, camping, and picnicking
Accommodations: Crane Prairie Resort, Crane Prairie Campground, Rock Creek Campground, Quinn River Campground
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Interagency Senior/Access/Military Pass for all Day-Use and boating sites; Free for Osprey Point Trailhead
Popularity: Light to moderate
Elevation: 4,270 ft (1,301 m)
Crane Prairie Resort is located:
- 37 miles west of Bend
- 110 miles east of Eugene
- 170 miles southeast of Salem
- 200 miles southeast of Portland.