In June 2017, my friend Kae and I took a lovely afternoon drive to Lake of the Woods. As it is almost 5,000 ft above sea level, I knew it would be a relief from the summer heat.
It’s a fun destination in of itself, but the drive there is stunning as well. From the Chanticleer Inn, you travel 38 miles north-northwest. The route is windy in parts, but takes you through a number of distinct habitats. As you leave Ashland in the Bear Creek Valley, you go through oak savannah woodlands, gain a little altitude and conifers start mixing in with the oak. As you top over the first Cascade ridge line you‚ you’ll drive through thick conifer forests and breakout onto large flats of high mountain meadows. The views of Mt McLoughlin from the meadows are stunning. While admiring the last remaining meadow flowers, we could heard the echoes of elk bulging in the distance!
When you arrive at the lake you can see why it is a summer favorite get-away. The Lake of the Woods is a completely natural subalpine lake. The crystal clear waters are wonderful for kayaking and swimming. There are trails that head out into the Fremont‚ Winema National Forest. The lake covers 1,146 acres. It was named by Oliver C. Applegate, in 1870.
The welcome sign for Lake of the Woods Resort
The resort makes you feel you stepped back into time! There are day passes available for $5/car. Didn’t bring a picnic basket? There is a restaurant and a cafe at the marina. There are all sorts of amenities and services: cabins and camp spaces, boat, kayak, and water ski rentals. The General Store, open in the summer, is a great little place to find cool drinks and even cooler yet toys! Yes, that’s right the sort of toys that are not electronic, that don’t beep and light up, such as, Paddle Ball sets and stuffed Sock Monkeys!
Near the marina one can lounge in Adirondack chairs and enjoy the beautiful lake.
Kae and Ellen at Lake of the Woods
Ashland, Oregon is home to Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Oregon Cabaret Theater and gateway to Rogue Wine Country, Crater Lake National Park and Wild & Scenic Wilderness.