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Waldo Lake Images and Information

East of Eugene in the Cascade Mountains just 3.5 hours from Portland, Waldo Lake is a wonderful opportunity for easy paddling, camaraderie, star watching, and maybe a moonlight paddle.  Carved out by ancient glaciers, Waldo Lake is nearly 6 miles long, up to 2.5 miles wide, covers 10 square miles, and lies just above 5000’ elevation.  Waldo Lake is one of the four clearest lakes in the world - it is so clear you can see the bottom 40 feet below you, and in the deepest parts it is almost purple.  Waldo Lake is now off-limits to gasoline-engine boats, and float planes.

Scroll down for information about the most recent event at this location

Additional resources: 

  • How to submit more pictures for this page
  • OOPS runs a paddle weekend at Waldo Lake, usually during the last weekend of August.  See  below.
  • Click to view Waldo Lake's map location
  • USDA Forest Service Website.
  • General Information about the Shadow Bay Campsite, Shadow Bay Campsite Map and brochure

  • Conditions in August
    • Some years the water temperature can be above 60, but other years not.  Bring immersion protection
    • Air temperatures can get into the 80s, but nights at 5000 feet can drop into the 40s.  Bring clothing for all temperatures and sleeping gear for cold.
    • The weather is usually nice, but there can be fog and rain even in late August
  • Other Concerns
    • There are no services available for gas, food, etc. closer than Oakridge (50 minutes away), so bring it with you.
    • You must have invasive species permit.
    • Cell service is very iffy, and only available for some providers.
    • Waldo Lake's mosquito population is legendary, especially at the south (Shadow Bay) campground.   Bring repellant, bug screens, etc.

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Waldo Lake Bottom Inspection Photos


Carved out by ancient glaciers, Waldo Lake is noted to be one of the four clearest lakes in the world! It is so clear you can see the bottom 40 feet below you. East of Eugene in the Cascade Mountains, Waldo is a wonderful opportunity for easy paddling, camaraderie, star watching and maybe a moonlight paddle.

Your On-site Volunteer Event Team is:

  • Event Manager -- Joe Howell
  • Trips Coordinator -- Mel Wishan
  • Concierge -- Marty Martinez

What: A camping and kayaking trip Shadow Bay Campground on Waldo Lake. Evening campfires and camaraderie. 

When: Aug. 26-30, 2018. (Sunday-Thursday) 

Trips: Level 2 and Level 3 trips on Waldo Lake. Level 1 trips may be limited due to the potential for wind. All trip sign-ups will be done on-site unless otherwise announced.

Clothing on the water: A wet suit or dry suit is recommended, but clothing requirements will follow the OOPS Cold Water Policy. Wet exit certification is required, unless you participate in only Level 1 trips while you are not wearing a sprayskirt, as is compliance with all other OOPS safety policies. Bring layers and wind protection. Organizer will communicate requirements. Note: Cold water protection will be required if the surface water temperature is below 60. At lower depths, it’s always in the 40-degree range, and a strong wind can churn that up, no matter how hot the day.

Meals and Gatherings: Bring your own food, stove etc., and plan on at least one potluck evening. Registrants will receive more information from the Event Concierge. Please do not bring firewood. Your event fee covers the cost of firewood that we will purchase locally. Please plan to join us for group campfires!

Accommodations and Cost: We have sites at Shadow Bay Campground. Walk your kayak to the lake! Vault toilets only; no showers. Registration fees are found on the calendar. See detailed campground information below.

Parking: If you stay outside the park, you will need to purchase a day pass at the entrance booth to launch from sites within the park.

Time from Portland: About 3-1/2 hours.

How to sign up or get more info: Go to the OOPS website Calendar and click on Waldo Lake.

Camping Details: We have sites at Shadow Bay Campground. Vault toilets only; no showers, no electrical or water hook-ups. Water nearby. This campground is remote--no phone, no store, no gasoline stations, not much cell service. There may be mosquitoes, more some years than others, but please come prepared! Check-in begins Sunday at 4 p.m. Check-out is 1 p.m. Thursday.  Campsites will be shared. We have planned for approximately three-four people and 2 vehicles per site. When you register, you will have a chance to identify who you would like to share a campsite with, however, we may not be able to honor all requests.

The park allows small trailers under 18 feet in these campsites. Please indicate on your registration if you plan to camp in a van, camper or trailer so that you can be given an appropriately sized campsite. However, we cannot guarantee that these will be available.

What if you don’t know anybody to share a campsite with? This is your chance to meet some new paddle buddies! We are a friendly group! OOPS will assign the campsites based on your vehicle/equipment needs and the size of the campsites.

Your event registration fee for camping is for the complete event. This includes three-four nights of camping and additional vehicle fees. DO NOT pay the extra vehicle fee until you have visited your campsite or OOPS HQ and you are sure that you are the “extra” vehicle, not the first vehicle. The Event Manager will either pay for or refund any extra vehicle fees on site.

Skywatching: At this latitude during late summer, it gets light by 6:30 a.m. and the sun sets about 8 p.m. Our location at the 5400 ft. elevation, far from city lights, makes for a great view of the night sky.

State Park firewood advice: “Please protect the Pacific Northwest from invasive species by getting your firewood at the campground, or close to it. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that threaten the health of our western forests. You can make a difference.”

General Information about the park

Map and brochure


From Portland - Travel time from downtown Portland – about 3.5 hours.
  • Go south on I-5 about 114 miles, just past Eugene, to Exit 188A, highway # 58.
  • Proceed east on Hwy 58 for 35 miles to the town of Oakridge. THERE ARE NO SERVICES OF ANY KIND FROM THERE ON.
  • From Oakridge continue east on Hwy 58 about 20 more miles to the highway tunnel.  (One mile past the tunnel is the entrance to Salt Creek Falls which offers toilets and a nice view point down just a short walk)
  • Proceed 2.9 miles past the tunnel to the Waldo Lake road, also marked as FS Road 5897.  (at N 43d-37’-03.4”, W 122-04’58”)
  • Turn left onto FS Road 5897 and go 6.7 miles to the Shadow Bay turnoff, FS Road 5896.
  • Turn left onto FS Road 5896 and go 1.7 miles to an intersection. This is the beginning of the campground map, found at the end of this document.
  • Turn right toward the campground. (Don’t continue straight to the boat launch) After your right turn, you are heading toward the campground and going from the top toward the bottom of the map. Bear left from here on.

From Bend or K. Falls
  • Head west on Hwy 58, go past Odell Lake.
  • The hard-to-spot right turn onto FS Road 5897 is about 3 plus miles after the “store” at Cascade Summit, and just after a big right to left “S” turn in the highway. THERE ARE NO SERVICES OF ANY KIND AFTER CASCADE SUMMIT.
  • Turn right onto FS Road 5897 and go 6.7 miles to the Shadow Bay turnoff, FS Road 5896. Continue on the same route as Portland listed above.
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