Sparks LakeBend, Oregon
Sparks Lake is one of the first of the many alpine lakes located just outside of Bend Oregon on the Cascade Lakes Highway and happens to make our top 3 Northwest paddle destinations. The volcanic formations surrounding the lake, spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains and Mt Bachelor, and the crystal clear waters all help make Sparks Lake a one of a kind can’t-miss paddle. Heads up, when you take the turn for Sparks lake off of the Cascade Lakes Highway, the actual launch is a few miles down a dusty gravel road. Just keep on keepin’ on until you reach the parking area. The parking lot area is plenty large enough and we’ve never had a problem finding a space. There are basic restrooms on site, but no fresh water. As with all of the lakes within The Deschutes National Forsest on the Cascade Lake Highway, a paid pass is required and must be purchased prior to arrival. There are no self pay stations at Sparks Lake. The launch area tends to bottleneck and there can be a bit of a wait at times, but the wait is well worth it. Sparks Lake is definitely suitable and recommended for all skill levels of paddlers. The launch is within a small bay of the lake and is very calm and mellow waters. The entire lake is worth exploring but the true beauty is in the Volcanic formations and multiple inlets to explore if you head left leaving the launch. You’re almost guaranteed to find a section of “beach” to yourself if you paddle into the various inlets and water trails. There are hiking trails leading thru the volcanic landscape worth exploring when you’re ready to beach the board and stretch your legs. From first appearances Sparks Lake looks deceivingly small, but by the time you explore every nook and cranny of the lake you can easily spend a full day paddling, especially if you spend some time exploring on land as well.
There is also a hiking trail-head near the launch that leads you on a short but very much worth-doing hike with gorgeous views overlooking the lake. A quick heads up, the mosquitoes are downright vicious once the sun starts going down! We always make it a point to be out of the water at least an hour before sundown.
SUP Site Rating
- Parking (Availability/Distance To Launch) 80% 80%
- Launch Conditions 80% 80%
- Difficulty Level 30% 30%
Note: One of our Top 3 Paddle Destinations and a great place for paddlers of all skill levels!