Directions: From the town of Oakridge take OR-58 East and follow it for a little over 23 miles where you will see a sign for Waldo Lake. Take a left here and follow this road for 9 miles to the Shadow Bay Campground entrance, follow the signs for the boat ramp.
We chose to put in at the Shadow Bay dock because it was closest to where we were camping. There are multiple places around the (very large) lake that you can put your kayak in. Each area offers something different which is great.
Waldo Lake is one of Oregon’s largest natural lakes and it’s pretty high in elevation (you’re at 5,414 feet).
We had pretty windy conditions while we were here and it made the water very choppy. We were bouncing around so much that our poor dog got motion sickness. Luckily the Shadow Bay area has a few islands you can get out and relax on as well as little inlets that were much calmer. The lake is huge and we mostly stuck around the half that was closest to us but that was more than enough to explore. The lake is known for how clear it is and that you can see way down, sadly it was way too windy for us to see really deep. It was definitely very clear when you were out of the wind or along the shore.
The lake is beautiful and massive. If you come all the way out here definitely plan on spending quite a while on the lake- there’s just so much to see.
Distance: There’s 10 square miles of water surface
Pet Friendly: Yes if your dog likes kayaking
Good For: All ages
Bathrooms: At the campgrounds
Parking Fee: NW Forest Pass
Seasons: Summer through Fall
Warnings: Always wear your lifejacket.