A scenic natural lake with crystal-clear water and large sandy beach within the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness
Excellent opportunities for water activities at 3,700 feet altitude
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.
Located south of Suttle Lake in a mixed conifer forest, Scout Lake sits at an elevation 3,700 feet. The deep flowing waters coupled with its sandy shores, make this small pristine lake ideal for swimming as the weather heats up.
The lake features a picturesque shoreline, clear water of aquamarine color surrounded by thin forest of green fir trees that survived in the largest fire in Deschutes Forest history and burned stands of once alive trees. The lake has shallow and deep zone. The shallow water near the sandy beach is perfect for kids wading or splashing.
Due to sanitation and safety concerns and because no outlet exists, dogs are not allowed around Scout Lake.
Within walking distance of the day-use area, there are campground and group camping with a volleyball court. During peak season, reservations are required. Four other campgrounds are located along Suttle Lake about a mile away.
The area near 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 1,600 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 and Suttle Lakes, less than a mile away from each other, 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.
Scout Lake | General Description
Open: May 17 - September 22
Managed: US Forest Service
Location: Deschutes National Forest
Services: Vault toilets, picnic sites, potable water
Activities: Swimming, camping, hiking
Accommodations: Scout Lake Campground
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Interagency Senior/Access/Military Pass
Restrictions: Dogs are prohibited at Scout Lake
Elevation: 3,700 ft (1,128 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.
Directions to Scout Lake
- 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.
Points of Interest Nearby