If you are looking for an idyllic lake for swimming in Central Oregon, there really is a no better option than the small scenic Scout Lake nestled in the Deschutes National Forest, a mile south of Suttle Lake.
Sitting at an elevation of 3,700 feet in a mixed conifer forest, Scout Lake is an ideal site for swimming, camping, and picnicking as the weather heats up. The lake features a picturesque shoreline, clear aquamarine water surrounded by a thin forest of green fir trees that survived in the largest fire of the Deschutes Forest history. The lake has shallow and deep zones. The shallow water near the sandy beach is perfect for wading or kids splashing.
Due to sanitation and safety concerns and because no outlet exists, dogs are not allowed in the swimming area.
There are a campground and group camping with a volleyball court within a walking distance of the day-use area. Reservations are required through Recreation.gov during the peak of the summer season. Four other campgrounds are located along Suttle Lake.
Scout and Suttle Lakes 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.
The area near the lake is known for showcasing volcanic activities. Those who are interested can visit neighboring extinct volcanoes, lava flows, caves, and Newberry Caldera.
The undisturbed beauty of the pristine streams and diverse forests allows the surrounding wilderness to support a variety of wildlife such as deer, bald eagles, osprey, and a plethora of migratory birds.
You are also free to explore miles of trails covering pure wilderness, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs scattered throughout the Willamette, Deschutes and the Ochoco National Forests.
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.
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.