Clear Lake Trail

EASY 99 reviews

Clear Lake Trail is a 4.6 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.

Distance: 4.6 miles Elevation Gain: 226 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

fishing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

partially paved

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Mid June hike. Good weather, no bugs and not too many out for a weekend hike. The trail is varied with forest duff on most of it but lava rock on a few miles of it too. Dog friendly trail. Parking was a bit of a challenge so get there early if you are hiking on a weekend.

1 month ago

The kids had fun, I got to watch the Osprey and Bald Eagle, my husband got to be outside. Overall, it was a success and we will definitely be back!

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent trail! Half paved and half wooded. Lots of great views.

hiking
2 months ago

My wife and I had a picnic on the shore before strolling along the trail. It is a gorgeous lake

hiking
snow
washed out
3 months ago

Overall it's not a bad hike. The trail still had quite a bit of snow which made the hiking a bit more difficult and time consuming. We chose not be bring our snowshoes which turned out to be an OK decision given that half the trail had snow the other didn't. We would have spent a lot of time putting our snowshoes on and off. There are a handful of areas were you have the potential to get wet. Be sure to wear water proof shoes - these areas are where water is over the trail due to all the snowmelt and rain lately. No one was there when we started so we had the trail to ourselves.

snowshoeing
5 months ago

This would have been pretty darn good, but it started to rain. The lake is a glorious color, and there was no one else out there. Would have rated higher except for rain.

hiking
5 months ago

Great walk around clear lake, it was a little frosty and had some icy spots on the trail, I recommend some traction shoes. But what a beautiful winter day to explore this glassy clear lake.

hiking
8 months ago

Such a beautiful hike. We took our time and took lots of photos, so it took us just over 3.5 hours to complete. Gorgeous views of Clear Lake. The water is uniquely green, blue and aqua depending on the sun and depth of the water. You won’t be disappointed.

hiking
9 months ago

Awesome hike! First time on this trail but will definitely go back. If you follow the trail around the perimeter of the lake it comes in right at 5 miles....took us about 2 hours. We did this hike today...gorgeous fall colors and spectacular weather. I’ve never seen water so clear before....and the submerged tree stumps still standing from the volcanic damming of the McKenzie river make looking into the water even more amazing. Definitely recommend hiking the trail counterclockwise otherwise you may miss the views of the 3 Sisters from the north end of the lake (if you go clockwise they will be to your back)....they will come into view shortly after you go past the northern most point of the lake on your return to the Clear Lake Resort parking area and trailhead. This is a very easy hike and one well worth the time!

9 months ago

Gorgeous fall colors of the leaves contrasting with the surreal blue of the ice cold lake water. Easy hike, almost flat, about 6 miles. It was a bit crowded even on a Friday early morning and parking can get challenging.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike at any season. This is a gorgeous and unusual lake. Just hiked this during Fall and it was beautiful lit up with color against the blue of the lake. Hike is longer than reported (about 7 mi/not 4.5). The trail seems a little different than when I hiked it 15y ago. Maybe it was rerouted. Watch out for bees.

9 months ago

Stunning hike on a Fall day. I'll be back to go kayaking next Summer.

hiking
10 months ago

Camped across from the lake, hiked the trail around the lake. Took pictures and fished for a little. Was a great time, nice even workout. Saw plenty of people fishing, no one seemed to be catching. A nice lake all around. Reasonably easy trail, paved or packed the complete loop.

hiking
10 months ago

I absolutely loved this well maintained hike along the edge of Clear Lake. The only reason I gave 4 Stars was because of proximity to the road and occasional traffic noise, which is basically the bane of my existence. The lake itself is stunning, and as the name implies, quite clear. It’s mostly flat with a few slight inclines, varied terrain, and varied sun exposure. Bring your sunblock because you’ll need it for only half of the trail.

hiking
11 months 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.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

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.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

beautiful! my favorite lake

hiking
Monday, June 18, 2018

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?

hiking
Monday, June 04, 2018

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.

hiking
Sunday, June 03, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Easy and peaceful hike.

hiking
Monday, April 16, 2018

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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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!

Monday, November 27, 2017

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.

hiking
Monday, October 16, 2017

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.

hiking
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

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

hiking
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.

Load More

Featured Trails