Loon Lake: Hwy 38

Loon Lake sits off of Highway 38, between Reedsport and Elkton. For many years as a young child, I traveled that road with my family while my Dad fished out of Winchester Bay. And for all those years, the turn off to Loon Lake has intrigued me.

Several years ago, my partner and I pulled off there on a whim on the way home from the coast, just to get a feel for the area, but we didn’t have much time to look around. And, since starting this blog, I have researched Loon Lake several times trying to find some good information about it, but mostly I’ve come up empty.

So, a couple weeks ago, we packed a lunch and some sunscreen, loaded up our canoe, and headed out to Loon Lake to see what we could see.

Loon Lake in the Coast range.

Loon Lake in the Coast range between Reedsport and Elkton.

Loon Lake is just over one and a quarter hours from Cottage Grove. Wikipedia tells us it is about 2 miles long, and at its max, about 0.4 miles wide, and it was created when a landslide blocked the Lake Creek valley.

When we arrived, we drove around the lake and finally decided to put-in at the East Shore Campground. For the next several hours we paddled the circumference of the lake, enjoying the views and looking at all the vacation homes that dot the shore. This lake is very popular amongst the boating crowd — we saw water skiers, wake surfers, and several tubers, as well as jet skiers. There were also a couple crazies like us, bobbing around in canoes and kayaks. If you aren’t comfortable managing boat wake while paddling, this isn’t the lake for you.

Paddling up Lake Creek, from Loon Lake.

Paddling up Lake Creek, from Loon Lake.

Finally, we found the paddling gem, the area where Lake Creek feeds into Loon Lake. Lake Creek is wide enough and deep enough to paddle up for quite  a ways. And it wasn’t long before the sound of motor boats was replaced with the sound of sparrows.

In all, we had fun exploring Loon Lake, though it really isn’t a good lake for paddling.

If you decide to head up to Loon Lake, here’s what I know. Loon Lake is just over 7 miles up Loon Lake Road from Highway 38. You’ll have the opportunity to turn right to Loon Lake Recreation Site (managed by the BLM) where you’ll find a sandy beach, an area for swimming, and a boat launch. The BLM website says there is also a short walk from here into the Elliot State Forest to a waterfall. If you continue on the main road you’ll reach the small East Shore Campground (we parked in the day-use area and carried our canoe down to the lake) and Loon Lake Lodge and RV resort. Wherever you choose to stop, be prepared to pay a day-use fee.

If you are familiar with the Loon Lake area, and I’ve missed something please leave a comment. I feel like there should be more here, and I just haven’t found it yet.

3 thoughts on “Loon Lake: Hwy 38

  1. Colette, I think you grasped the true nature of the lake, a bit of mystery. My wife and I visited the lake several times when we lived in Elkton, and each time felt like you, that we must be missing some thing.


    • Hi Jim — this looks like a great lake for water sports, swimming, kicking back with family and friends, and perhaps a little fishing. It’d be awesome if there were a couple trails into the Coast range from here, but it doesn’t seem like there are.


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