Too chilly for algae, Clear Lake’s looking-glass waters attract boaters.
The forest embraces calm Clear Lake at the pristine, spring-fed headwaters of the McKenzie River. Here, half an hour west of Sisters, Ore., rowers, anglers, and scuba divers get a glimpse of a haunting natural wonder—a stand of 3,000-year-old trees submerged in the lake’s 37-degree waters.
“These trees aren’t petrified, they are just really, really cold,” says park ranger Steve Christiansen, explaining how the trees have endured underwater without rotting ever since a lava dam formed the lake. Three large clusters of dark trunks can be found in the west end, close to Crockett Lodge and the source of the waters.
A five-mile path cuts around the lake through Douglas firs and hemlocks, offering shoreline vistas and peeks at the surrounding Cascades. Linn County Parks & Recreation rents rowboats from the lodge. (541) 967-3917, www.co.linn.or.us/parks.
Photography by Randy Dunbar
This article was first published in September 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.