Marion Lake

  • Easy (to Marion Lake)
  • 6 miles round trip
  • 800 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-May to mid-November
  • Use: hikers, horses

  • Difficult (to Marion Mountain)
  • 11.2 miles round trip
  • 2000 feet elevation gain
  • Open mid-June through October

Generations of Oregon families have hiked to Marion Lake to escape the Willamette Valley’s summer heat. Traditions die hard. For many people, this mile-long lake remains the only familiar destination in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness—even though the trail is trampled to a wide, dusty promenade. If you avoid the crowds by coming any time other than summer weekends, however, the easy walk to Marion Lake does have attractions. Don’t miss the unmarked side trails to Marion Falls and the lake’s scenic rock peninsula, with its distant view of Three Fingered Jack. A long, optional side trip up to Marion Mountain’s former lookout site provides a bit more exercise and a frontal view of Mt. Jefferson, a mountain you otherwise wouldn’t see.

To start, drive …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.