Top Swimming Lakes Near Bend
Where You Can Live That Lake Life
Bend is home to numerous stunning lakes, perfect for hiking, taking a dip on warmer days (or braving a dip on colder days, too!), and capturing that perfect family photo, or selfie. If you’re looking for things to do in Bend, visiting the many alpine lakes in the summer should probably go toward the top of your itinerary!
A stay in one of our beautiful Bend or Mt. Bachelor Village vacation rentals will provide the perfect home base for exploring Central Oregon’s nature in all of its splendor. Here are some of our favorite alpine lakes for exploring:
This pristine lake is nestled at the base of Broken Top, providing visitors with stunning views of wide-open meadows, mountains, and summer wildflowers. A 1.5-mile trail, suitable for all ages, will guide you around the lake. Keep your eyes open for hundreds of baby frogs that hatch here early summer. Note: the trail is only open during the summer months.
Situated at the basin of the Newberry Volcano caldera, Paulina Lake boasts breathtaking views reflecting thousands of years of volcanic activity. The day use area offers picnic areas and swimming beaches. The water comes mostly from snowmelt, so it can be chilly for swimming in the early season. Luckily, the Paulina Lake Loop Trail leads you to some geothermal hot springs on the north shore.
This high mountain lake is easy to access and is not too far from Bend, making it the ideal family outing. The lake is not very deep, so late August/early September, the water is warmer – perfect for taking a dip as you soak up the views!
The 3-mile hike into Twin Lakes will take your breath away with meadows of wildflowers, miles of old growth Douglas Firs, and views of turquoise water. Please note: This trail is currently closed. Please check this link for current updates.
Just off the Cascade Lakes Highway, Sparks Lake boasts stunning views of Broken Top, South Sister, and Bachelor Butte, a perfect backdrop for your family photo.
Elk Lake, with the Three Sisters towering over the north end of the lake and Mt. Bachelor dominating the eastern horizon, has a beautiful backdrop. It is not a high-traffic fishing destination, but it is so clear that you can see all the way to the bottom from any area on the surface. Instead, it offers sandy beaches, picnic areas, and plenty of trails to hike and bike. Going to Elk Lake is a full-day trip.
Ready to take the plunge? You can view our amazing selection of Bend vacation rentals online, or contact our friendly Reservations Team at 877.778.9055 to book your stay. We hope to see you soon! In the meantime, follow us on social media and post those vacay pics with #STAYWITHMEREDITH.