In the area around Willamette Pass, it’s easy to see the shift from the greener, damper, Douglas fir–dominated west side of the Cascades to the dry east side, forested by lodgepole and ponderosa pines. Each of the lakes in the high country has its own partisans—families who have camped in the same spot for decades—and its own personality. Campgrounds are available at Crescent, Odell, and Waldo Lakes.
Pick one place to explore in depth, or hop between lakes—perhaps you’ll carve out a new personal tradition.
Willamette Pass Accommodations
Crescent Lake Lodge and Resort (541/433-2505, www.crescentlakeresort.com, $75 and up, 3-night minimum stay in summer) is an easy place to while away a few days. Crescent Lake is located about 3 miles south of Route 58 via Deschutes National Forest Road 60 from Crescent Lake junction.
The premier property on Odell Lake is the Odell Lake Lodge (541/433-2540, www.odelllakeresort.com, $60 and up). To get there, take the East Odell Exit from Route 58 and follow the road a couple of miles. The hotel rooms range $60–80, with the cabins going for $95–265. Skiers may want to take advantage of large cabin 12, which comfortably houses as many as 16 people for $250 per night. Since the lodge is extremely popular, reservations are strongly recommended, as much as a year in advance for weekends.
Moorages at Odell Lake are available for rent through the lodge, as are canoes, powerboats, and sailboats. The lodge has a complete tackle shop to help outfit you to catch the kokanee and mackinaw that inhabit the icy waters, and rental equipment is also available if you didn’t bring your own. The restaurant at the lodge is open for all meals. The lodge also maintains its own system of trails, which provide good biking in the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. The owners of the resort have put together an area map to guide you to various waterfalls. Bikes and ski equipment can be rented from the lodge. In addition to these outdoor pursuits, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and horseshoes round out the fun. Tots and toddlers will enjoy the sandbox, the toy library, and the swings.
Across the lake from the lodge is Shelter Cove Resort (W. Odell Lake Rd., Cascade Summit, 541/433-2548, www.sheltercoveresort.com, cabins $85 and up, camping $16 with no hookups, $27 with electric hookups), which features 9 cabins complete with kitchens, 69 campsites, and 65 moorages in the marina. The resort’s general store handles everything from groceries, tackle, and boat rentals to Sno-Park permits and fishing or hunting licenses. The September–October spawning displays by Odell Lake’s landlocked salmon are unforgettable.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel