Elk Lake in Oregon

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

My wife and I enjoyed a beautiful day kayaking Elk Lake North East of Detroit Lake. The water visibility was fantastic as we spent most the day watching countless numbers of crayfish & salamanders along the bottom. We launched from the developed campground on the north end of the lake. Pit toilets were installed at this location just last year and the road accessing this site was graded at this time.

The weather was crystal clear and waters calm. The lush conifers edged the lake and surrounding mountains. Rocky peaks marked the valley around us. Some deciduous vegetation began to show spots of color in the sea of green around the lake.

One family was camping over night at the campground and was our only visitors of the human kind. A group of female Mallard ducks was very friendly and followed us around the west side of the lake. At one point as we explored to find the waters entering the lake, the ducks floated along with us within almost arms reach.

Over all a fantastic day!


No Fees required but it's best to check in with the Ranger Station in Detroit to find out if any snow is covering the roads before heading up.


From Salem Hwy 22 East. From Hwy 22 at Detroit, turn onto Breitenbush Road #46. Proceed 4.5 miles, turn left onto FS road 4696. Proceed 0.7 miles, turn left on FS road 4697. Follow FS road 4697 for 9.5 miles, turn left onto small spur road located at west end of Elk Lake. The camping area is about 0.4 miles ahead. CAUTION: FS road 4697 is not maintained for the last 2 miles into Elk Lake. Access by low-clearance vehicles and trailers is not recommended as the road is rough and rocky.


Willamete National Forest website:


Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location