Diamond Lake

Mt. Thielsen from Diamond Lake

  • Easy (North Shore)
  • 3.4 miles round-trip
  • No elevation gain
  • Open mid-May through November
  • Use: hikers and bicycles

  • Easy (Silent Creek)
  • 2.3-mile loop
  • 100 feet elevation gain

  • Difficult (entire lakeshore)
  • 11.5-mile loop
  • 100 feet elevation gain

Crater Lake may be a dramatic draw for out-of-staters, but Oregonians visit neighboring Diamond Lake five times as often. This popular getaway is surrounded by mountain views, over 400 campsites, five boat ramps, a resort lodge, and a paved 11.5-mile loop trail. It’s easiest to tour the lakeshore trail by bicycle, but a quiet section along the lake’s north shore makes a lovely stroll, and the beautiful, unpaved spur trail through the wildflower meadows of glassy Silent Creek is open only to foot traffic.

The 3,015-acre lake has an average depth of only 20 feet, so it becomes swimmably warm in August. It’s also stocked with rainbow trout. Waterskiing is allowed, but not jet skis. Mosquitoes are a problem in June.

Diamond Lake’s basin once cradled a broad Ice Age glacier that descended from the flanks of Mt. Thielsen, Mt. Bailey, and Crater Lake’s volcano, Mt. Mazama. A lake had replaced the glacier by the time Mt. Mazama’s eruption sent a glowing avalanche of frothy pumice and hot gases racing toward the North Umpqua River canyon. The lake did not vaporize under that hot blast, perhaps because earlier eruptions had left a blanket of pumice floating on the lake as an insulating bridge.

The Diamond Lake Lodge …

This chapter taken from the book 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon.