Hidden lake is a great little 11 acre lake up the Cougar valley past the reservoir. The hike in from the road is a short half mile. If you are going early in the spring the shore line will be very marshy, and it will be difficult to make it to the lake without getting a bit wet. As with all high cascade lakes remember to bring mosquito repellent. The trail ends at the stream outflow to the lake with a nice deep inlet. The fishing is fairly good all year around in the lake. Walking around the lake is difficult due to brush so there is a low amount of fishing pressure. A float tube or a light pontoon boat would be ideal for fishing the lake. The largest fish I have caught from the lake was a nice 12″ cutthroat trout. The trout in the lake that are easy to catch on lures or flies. Supposedly there are trout up to 16″ in the lake. That would be nice to catch on a warm sunny day. Snow is usually on the ground until around June. This is one of the first high lakes in the area that you can get into. Due to the size I recommend catch and release to all fish. It would not take long to remove a large portion of the population.
Directions: From McKenzie highway 126 take the south fork of the McKenzie road up past Cougar Reservoir to Forest road 1980 (1/2 mile past French Pete campground). Drive west 3 miles on rd 1980 to a right angle intersection with Forest rd 231. Turn onto NF-231 until there is a left turn onto NF-230 which is the hard left at the intersection. There is a small sign on the left about 500 yards before the road dead ends that marks the trail into the lake. Using a forest service map of the area makes it easier to find your way there. The back forest roads are easy to get lost on if you are not careful.
Several great books for the local areas:
- Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes https://amzn.to/3zKaM2K
- Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes https://amzn.to/2VnaMa4
- 100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades https://amzn.to/2V52a88
- 100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range https://amzn.to/3zVG9XY
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