Eel Lake: Winchester Bay

Eel Lake just south of Winchester Bay, Oregon

Eel Lake

I know that many people go to the coast specifically to walk the beach — and I love the beach too — but I also like walking through the coastal forests with its salal and rhododendrons filling in the understory.

While at the coast a couple weeks ago, we stopped by Eel Lake to explore. Eel Lake is a good-sized, fresh water lake, surrounded by forest.  Located a few miles south of Winchester Bay on Highway 101, the lake is accessed through William M. Tugman State Park.

We found a wide, hard-packed sand trail that follows the lake for about 3 miles. The day we visited the trilliums and fairy bells were blooming. The trail was moderately used, although I’d guess that it gets more traffic in the summer when people are camping at Tugman State Park.

Walking trail at Eel Lake

Walking trail at Eel Lake


One reason for our visit was to scout the lake as a potential canoeing destination. I think it looks like a good prospect. Motorized boats are allowed but the maximum speed limit is 10 mph. And, from the way it looks on Google maps, there’s lots of exploring to do.


Six miles south of Winchester Bay, along Highway 101. Eel Lake and Tugman State Park are roughly a 1 1/2 hour drive from Cottage Grove, so it makes for a good day trip, or a good base to camp and explore the coast.

Have you been? What has been your experience?

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