We wanted to get one last hike in on the way home from Central Oregon. Originally we’d planned on hiking up to the summit of the Middle Pyramid on the Three Pyramids Trail, but we were greeted with clouds and rain as we came to Santiam Pass. Knowing there wouldn’t be any views we changed our plans and headed to Clear Lake 10 miles south of the Santiam Jct. on Highway 126.
The McKenzie River begins at Clear Lake where old lava flows created the lake by covering and damming the river. On a clear day The Three Sisters and Mt. Washington can be seen from various points around the lake but with the clouds we would be content with the clear, colorful water of the lake.
The trail on the eastern side spent more time in the open and closer to the lake as it crossed over several lava flows. Here we spotted several birds, ducks, and colorful wildflowers.
Merganser and her ducklings
Another family of ducks
Shortly after passing the resort on the far shore we came to the Great Springs which feed the lake with 38 degree water allowing the lake to remain unfrozen all year. They emptied into a beautiful small pool reminiscent of the Tamolitch Pool which lies further down the McKenzie.
We quickly reached the resort area which was busy with campers. The picnic area was just on the other side and before we knew it our Central Oregon hiking tour was over (for now). Happy Trails!