Waldo Lake Trail

Willamette National Forest, Oregon

Distance19.0mi
Elevation Gain4,659ft
Trailhead Elevation5,435ft
Top5,752ft
Elevation Min/Max5409/5752ft
Elevation Start/End5435/5435ft

Waldo Lake Trail

Waldo Lake Trail is a hiking trail in Lane County, Oregon. It is within Willamette National Forest and Waldo Lake Wilderness Area. It is 19.0 miles long and begins at 5,435 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 38.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,659 feet. Along the trail there are waters. This trail connects with the following: Shore Line Trail.

Waldo Lake Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A huge, high mountain lake in a near-wilderness setting, Waldo Lake is unique. One of the largest, highest, deepest, and clearest lakes in the Northwest, Waldo Lake has no significant inlet streams. Instead, it is fed by precipitation and by underground springs whose naturally filtered water results in a crystal-clear, nearly sterile lake.

Due to the small volume of water that enters the lake each year, water is retained for an average of thirty-two years before it flows through the lake’s outlet. Due to the lack of nutrients, the lake supports few fish, and only two species of plants (both mosses) can be found on the lake’s floor."

"The trails take you past rocky coves, quiet beaches, meadows, campsites, and several smaller lakes and ponds. The trip starts with two easy miles along the lakeshore. Then the trail becomes more demanding, with protruding tree roots, boulders, loose gravel, and sandy conditions. Stay off the trail when it is wet. Waldo Lake is about 75 miles southeast of Eugene."

"This wintertime classic gets you in for a look at the second-largest freshwater lake in the state of Oregon. Waldo Lake is a local landmark known for its pure waters. In recent years, however, motorized boat activity has tarnished that second designation. Still, in the winter, Waldo Lake’s size makes it a stunning sight. This route to Waldo Lake could have earned an “easy” rating if it wasn’t for the distance.

Waldo Lake is a local landmark known for its pure waters. In recent years, however, motorized boat activity has tarnished that second designation. Still, in the winter, Waldo Lake’s size makes it a stunning sight. This route to Waldo Lake could have earned an “easy” rating if it wasn’t for the distance.
Waldo Lake was apparently named for Judge John B. Waldo, who was known as an aficionado of the surrounding area, especially the mountains."

"Oregon supreme court justice John Breckenridge Waldo (1844–1907), an early advocate for the preservation of the Cascade Range, made a horse-pack trip down the crest of the range from Mount Hood to California in 1888. This namesake wilderness protects the watershed that feeds the crystalline waters of Waldo Lake, considered one of the clearest and purest water bodies in the West.

Anyone who has ever canoed or kayaked it will attest to the quality of floating on cobalt-blue air that the lake affords. More than 400 feet deep, the lake is so pure that it’s possible to see more than 120 feet down into the water. The clarity is a result of its very low productivity— there are few nutrients in the lake to support microscopic plants and animals. Indeed, according to Oregon Health Department, you can drink directly from the 6,700-acre lake. This trail guide contains six trails ranging from 1.5 to 22 miles in length."

Waldo Lake Trail Reviews

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8/1/2010
Spectacular. Even with the nasty mosquitos (and they are nasty) it was a brilliant three day trip with the canoe. We put in at the southern ramp and camped on a rocky point on the northwest end of the lake (across from the Islet campground in the guidebook map). The rocky point provided a breeze for mosquito-free days when we weren't swimming or paddling. At night, well, we pretty much had to hit the tent. When going over deep parts of the lake, the shades of blue were amazing. When going over shallower water, it felt like flying because the water was so clear. Just an outstanding place.
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8/5/2008
Great ride around the lake watch out for the skeeters though they leave a huge bump when they bite, we went of the route and up to the sisters which was a great side option befroe heading back onto the lake loop.
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Waldo Lake Trail Photos

Trail Information

Willamette National Forest
Nearby City
Willamette National Forest
Parks
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
Willamette National Forest, Middle Fork Ranger District
Local Contacts
District map of the Oakridge Ranger District, USGS Waldo Lake and Waldo Mountain
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018