Saturday, May 2, 2009

Places to Paddle: 35 miles from Bend, Elk Lake

Elk Lake: On the Cascade Lakes Highway, Elev. 4,884
Paddle Season: Summer only. Highway is cleared of snow in May to open Memorial Day.

About 35 miles (45 minutes) from the heart of Bend, Elk Lake is a 480 acre lake approximately 70 feet deep. Motorcraft are limited to 10 miles per hour and personal watercraft (jet skis) are prohibited. Elk is the home of Oregon's 2nd oldest Yacht Club.

On the West side of the lake is a lodge with a small store and cafe and lodging. It's a great place to get an ice cream cone and look at the sailboats docked by the lodge. Neighboring the lodge to the South, is a USFS campground. Also on the south end is a very nice beach that tends to be out of the wind.

If you're windsurfing, put in at Sunset Beach (follow the Elk Lake Loop forest service road to Sunset View) to take advantage of the prevailing winds. The winds usually kick up in the afternoon and stop at sunset. Winds tend to be light and shifty. It's the perfect place for a early morning paddle and a simple breakfast at the cafe. Sunset Beach is the place many paddlers and windsurfers meet. We often have picnics and meals toasted over a campfire. See our Events page for our schedule of paddling and windsurfing events. During 2008, Sunset Beach was closed due to too many standing dead trees (due to beetle kill). Don't know yet if it will be open 2009.

There are usually a couple Standup Paddle Boards and Paddles at Elk Lake Lodge to rent. If that's your intent, call the Elk Lake Lodge before you go.

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