• South Twin Lake is a shallow crater lake known as a maar lake
• The lake is a great location for swimming, non-motorized boating, and fishing
A unique geological formation, South Twin Lake is adjacent to Wickiup Reservoir along the Cascade Lakes Highway in the Deschutes National Forest. Located 0.5 miles north, North Twin Lake is another identical lake with similar geological history and features.
The lake is a volcanic body of water that was created roughly 20,000 years ago. Rising lava ran into the groundwater. This event caused a huge steam explosion creating a crater that got filled with water forming a shallow crater lake known as a maar lake.
The lake surface area is 99 acres with a maximum depth of 58 feet. There are small water level changes throughout the year. South Twin Lake is almost completely surrounded by scenic ponderosa pine forest but a day-use swimming site is an open area with a sandy beach.
This is a great location for swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing, hiking, and camping. A campground, day-use area, beach, and boat ramp are located on the west shore of the lake.
North Twin Lake can be accessed from South Twin via a 0.5-mile hiking trail.
South Twin Lake Campground provides RV and tent camping spots and offers flush toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, campfire rings, and a boat launch area. Reservation can be made through Recreation.gov.
In 1987, South Twin Lake was poisoned by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to eliminate rough fish and to introduce more desired species of fish.
The ODFW consistently introduces legal-size rainbow trout and fingerlings. The largest rainbow trout caught in the lake was recorded at 13.5 pounds.
Fishing methods on the lake include fly fishing, still fishing, and trolling. Only non-motorized boats are allowed. Please always verify current fishing regulations.
The lake is a great swimming spot with a comfortable temperature in mid-summer. The water warms up to 75°F around July and August at the shallow parts of the lake. The sand and pebble beach and shallow swimming area with sandy bottom is great for all ages.
Because of safety and sanitary issues, dogs are not allowed in the swimming area.
South Twin Lake | Facts
Open: Year-round; Due to snow in winters, the roads are closed
Managed by: US Forest Service
Location: Cascade Lakes Highway, Deschutes National Forest
Amenities: Boat ramp, flush restroom,
Activities: Swimming, non-motorized boating, fishing, hiking, camping
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Yes or Interagency Senior/Access/Military Pass
Accommodations: South Twin Lake Campground. Reservations can be done online through Recreation.gov or by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777
Elevation: 4,050 ft (1,234 m)
South Twin Lake is located:
- 38 miles west of Bend
- 107 miles east of Eugene
- 210 miles southeast of Portland.
Directions to South Twin Lake
- Take Highway 97 and travel 17 miles south to Vandevert Road
- Turn right onto Vandevert Road and drive 1 mile to S Century Drive
- Turn left onto S Century Drive and continue 1.1 miles
- Turn right to stay on S Century Drive and follow 18.2 miles to Forest Road 4260
- Turn left onto FR 4260 and then continue 1.5 miles to the destination.