Somewhat of a hidden gem, Hosmer Lake is tucked away in the Cascade Range just 20 miles southwest of Bend. It’s one of several natural bodies of water formed standing as a geographical legacy of Oregon’s volcanic past.
Because it’s less popular than the region’s other lakes and campgrounds, Hosmer Lake is perfect for those wanting a little solitude in the wilds and by the water. The lake is surrounded by thick forests, and rimmed with aquatic vegetation, and lush bunches of bulrushes. And from the campground and lake you can take in great views of Mt. Bachelor, South Sister, and Broken Top.
For all that it’s a quiet space, the lake is popular with a small yet loyal band of fly fishers. Hosmer was stocked with big Atlantic salmon from 1957 until just a couple years ago, so you might find those or the cutthroat and rainbow trout currently being stocked, as well as brook trout – all easily visible to even the casual observer due to the amazing clarity of the water. Folks set up all over in the shallow lake, though usually away from the northern edge where the water drains into a porous rim of lava.
You’ll also spot canoeists enjoying the smooth lake waters, and if you’d in the mood for a little wildlife spotting, experiencing the area by paddling around the lake is definitely the right move. Bring your bird watching gear and get ready to take in a flurry of water birds, as well as the occasional deer. But the water-shy can also loop around Hosmer Lake on horseback or on foot along one of several equestrian-friendly trails circling the shore and winding through the woods.
For those staying the night, there are RV and tent-friendly camp spots. But even during the busy months I’ve never seen all 23 sites booked up, making this a great place to experience a true high-mountain lake without the crowds.
- Head south from Eugene on I-5 and take Exit 188 to go east on Highway 58 until you reach the Crescent Lake junction.
- Turn left onto Crescent Cutoff Road and in 3 miles, turn left on FR 46. Continue 10 miles past the Cultus Lake turnoff to the Elk Lake/Hosmer Lake turnoff.
Visitors must obtain an Annual Northwest Forest Pass or Interagency Pass, or a $5 daily pass, available for purchase at the site.