Clear Lake Trail

EASY 55 reviews

Clear Lake Trail is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Sisters, Oregon that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.5 miles
262 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly





mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running





wild flowers



This hiking trail loops all the way around Clear Lake along the scenic McKenzie Highway in Oregon. Clear Lake, the "lake born of fire", is the headwaters of the McKenzie River and was formed 3000 years ago when lava from Sand Mountain reached the river and backed up water to form the lake. The original forest that had lined the river banks was submerged. Remnants of some of these submerged trees still stand under 120 feet of water and are visible from the trail and by boat. The nearly freezing temperature of the lake makes it unsuitable for swimming. Osprey and bald eagles, and native cutthroat trout call the lake home. Non-native rainbow and brook trout are also found in the lake. Clear Lake is popular for fishing, canoeing and boating. No motors are allowed on the lake. The Clear Lake Loop Trail is open to both hikers and mountain bikes.

7 days ago

Great hike around a beautiful clear lake. A bit rocky around the back side in bits but very doable. Definitely longer than 5 miles stated on the app. We clocked around 6.5 miles.

1 month ago

Gorgeous hike around an amazing "clear" lake! We clocked it at 7.2 (easy) miles, not 5. We had 5 kids with us, ages 3 1/2, to 10 years old and they all did great.

1 month ago

beautiful! my favorite lake

1 month ago

I must have made a mistake somewhere, because my phone tracked me at over 7 miles doing this hike! Started at the resort and went down to where the bridge goes left and then on the side with the lava rocks and all the way around. It was a sunny day until we got caught in a hailstorm for about 5 minutes. So cool! You see forest, a BLUE BEYOND BLUE cove, lava rocks, and more. The variation in scenery was incredible. But I wasn't prepared to go that long...did I make a wrong turn?

2 months ago

Super pretty scenery! A little under 5 mile trail loop - completed in 2 hours at a steady pace with plenty of water and picture breaks. Part of the trail goes through lava beds (some crushed lava) so walking with small kids or a dog might be tough, although we saw lots of dogs. The trail is well maintained. No motorized boats on the lake. Entertaining to watch people fishing, canoeing, and kayaking from the trail. Very peaceful.

2 months ago

2 months ago

Easy and peaceful hike.

3 months ago

The snow was almost knee deep in some places, but our waterproof boots kept us dry. We started at the store and headed West through the picnic area. The views are gorgeous, we saw all kinds of birds. There’s a point several hours in where you could almost throw a pebble and hit the store, so you might think your hike is winding down. The trail continues way past the East end of the Lake with an incredible river bridge and a blue pool. Take plenty of snacks and water. We can’t wait to come back in the summer for a whole new experience.

6 months ago

Nice walk around the lake. Mellow enough to take it as a stroll. Friend and I went in mid-January on a clear blue sky day. Though we started the hike at 1pm we could still admire the crystal clear water, finished around 4:30. Can't wait to go back again and admire it on a bright summer day!

8 months ago

I went back in July and it’s a good hike! Not shaded though for half of it. By the end of it we had gotten a little tired of almost the same view. Can get busy when there’s good weather.

9 months ago

The fall colors are here, along with tiny bits of snow. Very pretty walk around the lake - we took the whole family, and we haven't hiked for quite awhile. Taking our sweet time and stopping for lots of pictures, it took about 3.5 hours to finish the loop. The lava fields are a little more difficult to maneuver - there's some bits with paved path, mostly it's rocks you're walking on) but there isn't much of the trail with the lava fields. Mostly nice forest trails throughout. Would have loved to take a boat on the lake, get a closer look at the underwater forest - but the hike was gorgeous.

11 months ago

Lovely easier trail with views of lake and over lava beds as well as through forested trails.

trail running
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Gorgeous, but challenging for a run in the summer. I went on a 90 degree afternoon and found the asphalt lava rock portions to be sheer drudgery. Not too crowded on a Monday morning. Couldn't find where the map said the trail forks off into the McKenzie trail, but that's probably on me.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The lake is beautiful but the trail is not for mountain bikes. The portion that is the Clear lake trail is gentle and easy but the middle is the McKenzie trail and found ourselves caring our bikes

Saturday, June 24, 2017

varied type of trail - from paved to volcanic to a peaceful forest hike. I enjoyed it . The scenery is beautiful and it didn't seem heavily traveled.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Once again right after you park the fall is right there!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Great hike. Pretty easy, some rocky areas but nothing bad. Very pretty hike.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kid and dog friendly trail. Beautiful blue water.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great trail. Very well maintained. loved the underwater forest.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Easy hike that is great for the dogs and family. We went May 13th and there was some snow on the trail. Beautiful mix of blue water, the "Great Spring", lava rock, and wildlife.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Great workout and beautiful views after beautiful views.

trail running
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

went on a very rainy day so the lake didn't have the same awesomeness as on a nice one.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Love this hike. Great for distance and scenery. Do it on a week day lot less people. I personally would recommend it for dogs because one end is lava rock. Trails easy to follow the road is on a small
Part of it but it's wooded enough to not ruin the lake view.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I hiked the eastern portion of this trail while hiking down to Tamolitch pool, making this part of a 2 day backpacking trip. We camped near Tamolitch pool and the Clear Lake trail was at the very beginning and end of our hike, which was great! The paved path through the volcanic flows is wild to look at.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

We like to start at Clear Lake Resort and hike North around the lake. Easy hike most of the way. You will hike thru an old lave flow on the East side of the lake. Some loose lava rock and can get very hot in the summer. Bring your water bottle. Beautiful views of the Three Sister's. And the lake's color is amazing. A nice bridge takes you over the start of the McKenzie river on the south end. Plan about 2.15 hours for this hike.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Just did the Blue Pool section which is a 2 mile hike in from the blue pool trail head.

mountain biking
Monday, April 14, 2014

totally love this trail. got back just in time to pack up the bikes! lots of climbs and pretty techy.. must start early! blue pool chilled the brewskis pretty darn fast!

mountain biking
Monday, January 20, 2014

Such a great mountain biking experience. I went during Memorial Weekend and it was pretty busy, duh. It was challenging but worth it. The best part was coming across crystal clear Tamolitch Blue Pool. One of these days I'm going to jump in.

I did see a rider go down pretty hard and cut their leg on some rock. Bring a first aid kit and tire repair kit.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

we hike this every summer as we camp at cold water cove. It is the most beautiful lake in Oregon by far! the lake is fed by underground springs, it is cold and clear. the blue color will take your breath away. the hike is a very easy one, expect to see lots of wild life, especially birds. ducks, dippy birds, Osprey, and sometimes Bald Eagles. the lodge has good food, and snacks. and do include a hike down the McKenzie River to the waterfalls. so BEAUTIFUL!
I added some summer pictures, and some fall pictures. the vine maple around the lake are so pretty in the fall.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Started near picnic grounds on south end of the lake & walked counter clockwise. This first section of trail goes thru a lava field, some of the trail is paved. At the north end of the lake, took the trail to Fish Lake and back continuing back to car on west side of the lake. Most of the trail wanders thru forest with good glimpses of the lake. Expect some mountain bike traffic on the west side of the lake. Very well maintained, easy trail hike. Books list the trail milage around the lake to be 4.6 to 5.5 miles.

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