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  • Writer's pictureTina McLain

Clear Lake

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

A reservoir with a drivable and camp-able shoreline in Mount Hood National Forest.

Clear Lake

Lake Name: Clear Lake Lake Coordinates: 45.1802, -121.7049 Lake Elevation: 3500′ Access: Drive up Note: There are multiple different points of access to the lake. There’s a campground, a day use area, and then a whole side of the lake with dispersed camping and 4×4 accessible road. Date: 6-17-20

I went to Clear Lake for the first time last summer. I was exploring back roads and ended up at the lake. I ended up coming back with my mom and dad one weekend and we drove the rocky shore road. There were tons of people camping along the shore. (This was in the last week of July 2019.)

I decided to go back to the lake recently. I went on a Wednesday and there were definitely a lot less people then the last time I was there. I drove the rocky shore road and stopped frequently to get out and take pictures. I ate my lunch by the lake. It was a cool day with a breeze. It was partly sunny and the lake looked idyllic. There were a few boats out fishing and a few people fishing from the shore. But I mostly had the lake to myself on my drive. I personally prefer the west side of the lake (the side with the rocky shore road and dispersed camping) better than the east side with the campground and official day use area. The day use area has a boat launch.

The lake makes a Y type of shape with 3 arms and is rather large. The shoreline is rocky with tons of stumps and there are some stumps poking out of the shallow water.

Two separate times I saw a mama duck with small babies following along behind her on the lake. They were so adorable! They were both common goldeneyes. Sadly I didn’t bring my big camera lens so I wasn’t able to get any good pictures of them.

There is a trail that goes along the south side of the lake, but from what I’ve read it’s mostly going along a road and isn’t anything special. There are so many points of access by car for this lake that I think one could easily see just as much and more without hiking.

How to get there (from Estacada, OR)



Orange line – rocky shore road Red dot – start of rocky shore road Yellow dot – Clear Lake Campground Blue Dot – day use area (fee area)

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