Under the Stars near Portland

Central Oregon Cascades: Todd Lake
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Roughly 22 miles west of Bend. Take the Cascade Lakes Highway and turn north on FS 370 just west of Mount Bachelor ski area.
Travel time : Approximately 3-1/2 hours.
Information : (541) 388-5664.
Reservations : No.
Fee : No campsite fee; Northwest Forest Pass required.
Open : Memorial Day weekend through first snow.

I have a strong affinity for hike-in campgrounds (there's nothing like a short walk from the pick-up to keep the partiers away), and this is one of my favorites. Located west of Bend just past Mount Bachelor ski area on the Cascade Lakes Highway, Todd Lake isn't very big. However, it more than makes up for its small size with its beautiful setting. Tall pines shade the banks of the lake, and behind a ridge at the west end of the lake rises Broken Top.

There's a 1.7-mile trail around the lake, plus a trail that leads from the lake up into the Three Sisters Wilderness. This campground also makes a great base for mountain biking FS 370, a Jeep trail that is also one of the region's best mountain biking routes (a 20+ mile loop can be done from here). Depending on the condition of this road, it is sometimes possible to drive a regular passenger vehicle up this road as far as the Broken Top trailhead. From here, a trail heads out through pumice fields at the foot of jagged Broken Top peak. In summer, Todd Lake's water is deliciously invigorating after a long hike or bike ride.


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