Lakeside, Oregon could be known as a small town with many lakes. For such a small town of only approximately 1700 people, Lakeside is the home to two lakes that make up the Tenmile Lakes, and Eel Lake “next door”. The lakes have many creeks, streams and waterfalls between them. We live on Tenmile Lake (the North side) but we love to enjoy Eel Lake whenever we feel like a close outing.
Just a couple miles, about a 5 minute drive from Lakeside, will get you over to Eel Lake and the Tugman State Park. Eel Lake has camping, yurt rentals and two fantastic hiking trails. One hiking trail heads north of the parking lot, the other is on the south side of the playground/park area. Our first trip to Eel Lake, we were unaware of the south hiking trail so we took a walk over to the north trail.
The hike is an easy hike that almost anyone can make. It’s mostly dirt with some beautiful little wood bridges over the creeks that run into the lake. The trail is covered in trees, ferns, and dozens of types of foliage. There are birds abound and the sound of the babbling creeks is one that I could stand and listen to for hours. The trail takes you into tucked away spots, away from the lake, under the canopy of trees and then back out towards the lake with lookout points overlooking the lake. The clear waters and forested mountains around the lake make for a spectacular view!
As you walk the trail back and forth around twists and turns, you’ll find the end in about an hour – if you’re taking your time to stop and experience nature along the way as I often do. The end of the trail has an old wooden bench at the point of the land and you can sit and look out over the blue waters, at the green mountains with a backdrop of some of the bluest sky you’ve ever seen. If you’re lucky, it will be a warm sunny day and the breeze will feel fantastic as it brushes your face. Equally lucky are those heavily overcast days where there isn’t a stitch of wind and the warm insulation from the clouds and humidity envelop you. I would imagine even a rainy day would be lovely on this trail as long as it wasn’t a torrential downpour. It’s the sort of trail that affords all sorts of weather to create a pleasant experience.
If you are visiting in the summer, Eel Lake is a great lake to swim, kayak and fish. Boats are only allowed a maximum of 10MPH speed limit so you’re sure not to get waked and flipped over on a stand up paddle board either. There is a lovely playground and grassy park for kids to enjoy, perfect for picnicking also. A gorgeous campground covered in trees and as I mentioned at the start, there are even some yurt rentals, perfect for the family that wants a little more structure for their camping experience.
Our next trip to Eel Lake, we’ll be making the hike on the south side of Eel Lake. I’ll write to let you know all about it!