Waldo Lake Trail

HARD 16 reviews
#35 of 120 trails in

Waldo Lake Trail is a 19.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Odell Lake, Oregon that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
19.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,381 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

paddle sports

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

backpacking
1 month ago

Overrated. While there are nice views on portions of the trail, for the most part there aren't any.

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked around Waldo Lake on a late June weekend, on a mostly sunny day.
Yes, June is likely not the best time to visit as the little flying and thirsty creatures are all "out to get you". Bug repellent and or mosquitoes headnet are a must. One advantage of June, of course, it the number of daylight hours.
I parked at the Shadow Bay boat ramp area (south-eastern end of the lake) and hiked the loop clockwise, the plan being to hike the 4.5 inland eastern branch first, keeping the most scenic part of the loop for later. This also allowed me to have the sun above and behind me most of the time.

I diverted twice from the route shown for the trail: once at Shadow Bay to explore the Shoreline trail with nice views of a few small islands; the second time, again on the Shoreline Trail, at North Waldo for a quick snack and exploration of camping opportunities.

The best views (and the most access to the lake shores) is from the aforementioned Shoreline Trail sections, from the Taylor Burn to the north and from the short peninsula south of the inlet to the North Fork Willamette river. The north side, at least during my visit was more windy, the breeze thankfully keeping the bugs at bay.

South of the peninsula, the trail mostly remains about .1 mile inland, passing by several small lakes, ponds, and creeks (more mosquitoes!). Even when getting closer to the lake, the trail on that section does not provide access to the shoreline. I descended about 20 feet at some point (southwest of Rhododendron Island) to filter water and snack; the shore is steep and the underbrush and dead limbs make it less than easy to get there. In mosquito-free months, the few small lakes on the can be a good alternative to a stop on the lakeside.

The southern end of the lake is flatter, features a shelter, and provides easier access to the lake; again, not an option for me as mosquitoes love that calmer area with lowland marshes.

The loop trail (Jim Weaver trail) is a bit over 19 miles as per this trail's description. The diversions to the Shoreline Trail (plus short spurs to the lake) make is a bit over 21 miles.

Likely because it was June... I only encountered 5 parties (either 1 or 2 people) the whole time I spent on the trail on this fine Saturday. North Waldo is also significantly more frequented by campers/boaters than the smaller Shadow Bay area on the south east end.

Views of significant landmarks around include: Diamond Peak, Mt David Douglas, Maiden Peak, The Twins, Gerdine Butte, Charlton Butte and Rigdon Butte.

With the exception of the Taylor Burn section on the north side, most of the trail is through wooded areas, with the west leg of the trail being slightly overgrown when I went (made it a bit harder to use trekking poles).

Oh...and yes! The transparency of the waters in shallow parts was just as amazing as the deep blue / indigo of the deepest parts.

hiking
9 months ago

Great day hike or overnight. Lots of MTB traffic so watch out. A 2 mile side hike to Rigdon Butte for a scramble to the top is very nice to get a. view of the area. (Turn north at the footbridge over the Willamette on North side of lake -2miles from north islet th)

backpacking
11 months ago

August 26 and 27, 2017 - backpacking/camping trek with 12 year old son. A truly gorgeous hike with nearly all trees that fell during the winter/spring cleared from the trail. Huckleberries were truly awe inspiring in variety, quantity and flavor. Thousands present, truly! We went counter-clockwise starting at Islet campground, hitting huge sections of huckleberries starting in the burned section furthest from North Waldo Campground, then going for at least eight or nine miles after!!! Very few full circle hikers, though a dozen or so full circle mountain bikers. Well worth the trip. Few mosquitoes at this late time of year. Only downside was smoke from all the fires hindering visibility,.

backpacking
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Three day backpack with son and 14 year old granddaughter, August 4-6. Awash in delicious huckleberries! Mosquitos love Waldo in July and August, so be prepared. My favorite place!

hiking
Monday, August 08, 2016

fantastic trail. hike ran west half. look for patches with plump huckleberries.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

great loop, watch out for skeeters.

hiking
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Haven't hiked it in a while but remember it being beautiful and hard, but we had to turn back because the trail wasn't being maintained. Too many fallen trees on the trail

Monday, April 11, 2016

Amazing in late August or September.

mountain biking
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Did an out and back going clockwise. Super burned out area at the north end of the lake but some really cool features. Crossed the head waters for the north fork of the Willamette river.

hiking
4 days ago

mountain biking
1 month ago

Saturday, July 18, 2015

mountain biking
Sunday, July 03, 2005