Under the Stars near Portland

Northern Oregon Cascades: Ollalie Lake
  |  Gorp.com
Directions : Roughly 63 miles southeast of Estacada, Oregon. From Estacada, take Ore. 224 southeast to FS 46 to FS 4690 to FS 4220.
Travel time : Approximately 2 1/2 hours.
Information : (503) 630-6861.
Reservations : No.
Fee : $6 to $12.
Open : Late June through September (sometimes into October).

The Ollalie Scenic Area is a sort of a northern Oregon Cascades lakes district with some four dozen major lakes (twice that number when you count all the little ponds) scattered among the scruffy pines on a plateau on the crest of the Cascades. Within the scenic area, there are half a dozen campgrounds, most of which are on lakes.

However, of all of these, the Peninsula Campground on Ollalie Lake is just about your best bet. As the name implies, this campground is set on a peninsula, which means there are lots of campsites close to the water.

Though trout fishing is the main activity here, the peninsula for which this campground is named is fun to skirt in a canoe, and from Ollalie Lake, you can even portage to Monon Lake and explore its convoluted shoreline. If you haven't got a boat, you can hike around Ollalie Lake, as well as nearby Monon Lake. There are also many more miles of hiking trails in the vicinity and you can easily spend days doing day hikes to secluded lakes and viewpoints overlooking the area's many lakes. The Pacific Crest Trail also passes through the region, and from the south end of the lakes district, you can hike up into Jefferson Park, a gorgeous lake-studded valley at the foot of Mount Jefferson.

Be forewarned, however, that the mosquitoes can be voracious here in July. You'll have a much pleasanter visit if you wait until August or September to come up here, though the trout fishing isn't likely to be as good that late in the summer.


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