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Magical Trail at Eel Lake

A sense of excitement poured over me the first time I pulled into Eel Lake in Lakeside, Oregon. Pulling off of the highway, you wind around, past the adorable campground – complete with yurts for rent, past the lovely little grassy park with a play area for children, and into the parking lot and boat launch. From there, you can choose one of two trails. The trail to the right will take you on a one-mile hike, out and around the back of the lake. The trail to the left is quite a bit shorter – maybe half of a mile. We took the trail to the left as we didn't know about the trail to the right on our first visit.

One of the many coastal lakes in southern Oregon, Eel Lake is big, beautiful, and pristine! The water is perfect for kayaking – especially with their 10mph rule for power boats – no wakes to fuss with. Protected by trees and coastal mountains, the water is often glassy and just begging for you to launch your kayak and go for a paddle. We didn't have our kayaks with us on our first visit, so instead, we just dreamed of how lovely it would be. We also saw people swimming, fishing, and relaxing at the lake.

We began the little trek along the path that followed the edge of the lake. We walked past pre-historic looking ferns, old-growth trees, and over little bridges with creeks streaming underneath them. The scent of the forest was divine and the warm, humid air under the canopy of the forest made our little winter outing much more tolerable. Not that the temps get that cold on the southern Oregon coast - it's mostly in the 50s on any given winter day.

We traversed the well-groomed path through the forest and winded around and up and down while glimpsing views of the lake through the trees off to our right. The trail ended at a point where the land jutted out into the lake, with the feeling of being on a deserted island with no one around. An adorable hand-made bench awaited us at the point and we walked over and had a seat, enjoying the view of the blue sky and clear water. It was a rewarding ending to our little trek and made a great resting spot before heading back down the trail to our Blumebulance (ambulance-turned-camper-van).

I knew after this first visit we would stop here many more times and we have. We've enjoyed swimming and kayaking and hiking at this lake often. I even got to work with the team who put in an ADA-approved kayak launch at Eel Lake (aka Tugman State Park). We look forward to many more adventures on Eel Lake over the years and I can't wait for our next one!

Here are a few more pics from that lovely first visit for you to peruse and enjoy. If you're ever on the southern Oregon coast, I highly recommend stopping in at Eel Lake or better yet, making a camping reservation at Tugman State Park. It's a great stop either way - for the afternoon or a few days!

Have you ever visited Eel Lake (Tugman State Park) in Lakeside, Oregon? Let me know in the comments!

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