Summer Lake

Summer Lake in winter

  • Easy
  • 4.6 miles round trip
  • No elevation gain
  • Open all year
  • Use: hikers, horses, bicycles

When explorer John C. Fremont struck south from The Dalles to California in 1843, he crested a snowy ridge on December 16, saw this sunny alkali lake 2700 feet below, and named the features Summer Lake and Winter Ridge. Since 1944 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has bought 18,380 acres of marshland as a wildlife preserve where the Ana River meanders into the landlocked lake. Great flocks of birds arrive here in March and April, en route to the arctic from Central America. White pelicans, Canada geese, and ducks linger through summer. Bald eagles and swans remain in the winter. Herons, egrets, and terns are common.

From Bend, take Highway …

… White pelicans start up reluctantly with a few flaps. To the south, alkali duststorms dim the horizon across the lake. Ahead, the dike road ends at a private ranch.

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Eastern Oregon.