Ray Atkeson Memorial Trail

EASY 16 reviews
#35 of 112 trails in

Ray Atkeson Memorial Trail is a 2.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Sunriver, 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 June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
2.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
88 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

paddle sports

rock climbing

trail running

walking

beach

forest

lake

views

snow

hiking
15 days ago

PUT SOME “SPARKS” IN YOUR LIFE!
Words and pics by Ian Smith
Eventually we choose the Pine Tavern at Bend (Oregon) for food and what a choice. Right in the middle of the restaurant are two mature pine trees growing out of the floor and straight through the roof. While I ponder how the roof might be sealed, Lorraine checks out the wine list until my gaze is taken by the lovely garden that tilts toward the Deschutes River.
The birds are loving it; a robin hops around the plants in a vigilant search for insects while a flock of waxwings are having a wonderful time at the bird bath as mallards paddle back and forth in the river. It feels like you’re part of nature without even leaving your table. The tasty food gets us thinking about what else to do and we decide to have a crack at Sparks Lake.
Sparks is renowned among photographers as being a place to get a good shot but, as is always the case, you have to get the weather right......that’s where Lorraine, the weather goddess, comes in.
It’s not that far from Bend up the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Highway and, as we pass Mount Bachelor, the local ski field, it’s so hard to imagine people skiing over a rugged lava flow; just doesn’t seem right.
We’ve a bit of time on board so we slip into Todd Lake first. It’s a 4 km stroll around a placid lake and, while it’s nice and there’s some interesting bird life, we’re hoping for better at Sparks.
To get into Sparks it’s a twisting road with, at times, corrugations and bumps, the like of which we’ve never seen in America where just about everything is sealed road it seems. In fact, you have a less than 1% chance of driving on one, according to statistics. Still, our hopes of a reward at the end aren’t dashed though the weather goddess has let me down a little because of a breeze coming across the lake.
Its potential is easy to discern however, South Sister and Broken Top stand stark in the background, ready to cast their images on a millpond should it transpire and, since it’s a while before the earth spins around and delivers darkness, we first amuse ourselves watching a chipmunk letting some birds know just who’s in charge of discarded apple. The frenetic energy they forever display never ceases to warm us to their ways; oh that we should be able to scurry as fast.
We then look in other directions and start to wander down past the lava fields. Where once the flow from Mount Bachelor cooled it formed a barrier to the heated rock still flowing beneath and, in places, it rose up to 70 feet like a giant loaf of leavened bread.
The level of the lake is low, the snow season wasn’t great and, it hasn’t rained much since, so you can walk some places where you’d normally get your feet wet and thus we follow a narrow band of sand beside the lava wall.
You can see how good this place could be but the ripple, however small, frustrates us so we have to be content with the leg exercise and the occasional snap. Still, it’s a pleasant afternoon beneath a virtually cloudless sky and we reach a point where the realization dawns that it’s pointless to walk any farther around this strange body of water with no known exit. Somehow, somewhere, it just drains slowly.
We’d returned nary 50 metres before we were rounded up by a young couple, she of boundless energy demonstrated by practising rock climbing techniques up and down the lava flow with mind blowing dexterity. In leaps and bounds reminiscent of a mountain goat did she ascend with a confidence borne of youth. As we waited expectantly for a slip she continued to confound us with her suppleness.
The entertainment over, as quickly as it eventuated, we idled back to the carpark and stepped back to our original viewpoint. The breeze was faltering and two other photographers were waiting in anticipation so we deigned to join them and everyone’s optimism turned out to be justified.
Though we didn’t get an atmospheric ruddy glow we got a crystal clear sky with classic mirror reflection. South Sister and Broken Top were haze free and it’s easy to see why there are so many shots on the internet of this spot. In the stillness we were mesmerized by the natural beauty of the setting. Oregon just keeps on delivering.
We drove home satisfied, we’d seen and digested much without travelling too far today.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful trail. Very nice walk and views. Easy hike.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike for the kids

10 months ago

Great hiking with the kiddo and grandparents.

walking
Monday, August 01, 2016

The Ray Atkeson Memorial trail is named after a photographer. The first 1/4 mile is paved and wheelchair accessible. This paved trail follows the Sparks Lake edge. Early in the morning the view is particularly outstanding, glassy lake with the South Sister mountain in the lake reflection. If you like the ruggedness of rock formations in your photos the dirt trail beyond is unbelievable, especially when you can have the mountains as the backdrop. At the southeast side of the south loop there is a log bench viewpoint overlooking the trees below, the Three Sisters to the north, Broken Top to the northeast and Mt Bachelor to the east. There are several crevices along the trail. One interesting challenge is to find where the water is draining out of the lake, hear the flow and see the swirling water. I consider this one of the better relaxing outing locations to go to, that is why i adopted the maintenance of this trail. Hope to see you there, Chuck.

hiking
Monday, July 08, 2013

Pretty much a second Sparks Lake trail, but more for the avid hiker. Not paved, goes around the lake. Pretty short and easy though, however you're less likely to run into as many people on this trail as opposed to the Sparks Lake trail. Still fairly popular though.

hiking
Sunday, October 16, 2011

Very beautiful area along Sparks Lake. So much to see and do all around the area...a week goes by quickly! All at the foot of South Sister, Broken top and Bachelor. Hike, kayak, fish...got it all!

hiking
4 months ago

7 months ago

recorded Track - Jun 19, 11:07 AM

8 months ago

8 months ago

Saturday, November 12, 2016

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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Friday, June 19, 2015

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

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Thursday, August 23, 2012