Spirit Lake Oregon – An Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise

Are you looking for a breathtaking destination for your next outdoor adventure? Spirit Lake, Oregon is the perfect place for hiking, camping, fishing, and more.

Located in the heart of the Cascade Range, Spirit Lake offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding mountains and crystal-clear waters. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, you’ll find trails of varying difficulty levels to explore.

The lake itself is a popular spot for fishing, with an abundance of trout waiting to be caught. If you’re a fan of water sports, you can also enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, or even swimming in the lake’s refreshing waters. As long as you don’t mind the short hike to carry them in.

For those looking for a more immersive experience, there are several campsites in the area where you can pitch a tent and spend the night under the stars. Just be sure to pack warm clothes, as the temperature can drop significantly at night.

Spirit Lake is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elk, deer, and various bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for these majestic creatures as you explore the area.

Spirit Lake, Oregon is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From hiking and camping to fishing and water sports, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plan your trip today and experience the natural beauty of this stunning destination.

  • Directions: Proceed east from the Oakridge Ranger Station on Hwy. 58 to Oakridge. From downtown Oakridge proceed east on Salmon Creek Road (24) for about 13 miles to the junction of Road 2422. From here proceed left on 2422 for 9 miles to trailhead on right. Across from the Waldo Meadows Trailhead.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Recommended Season: June – October
  • Elevation change: 169 feet

Hiking books for the area:

Day hike or overnight gear on the cheap side: not the lightest but great for getting into hiking


Nice easy walk to the lake.
Nice easy walk to the lake.

The view of the lake as you come to the end of the trail

The view of the lake as you come to the end of the trail.


Interesting tree growing in the meadow.  looks like it had fallen down and then grown up from the fallen trunk
Interesting tree growing in the meadow. It looks like it had fallen down and then grown up from the fallen trunk.

Lots of fallen trees in the water

Lots of fallen trees in the water.


Katy all ready to return back to the car for lunch
Katy all ready to return back to the car for lunch.

Several great books for the local areas

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Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area

Part of a herd of bull elk at the viewing area
Part of a herd of bull elk at the viewing area

If you want to go on a drive to see wildlife this is a great place to find Elk.  They are normally fairly close to the viewing area so you can take pictures and show children these giant herbavores.

From the BLM website:

The Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area is the year-round residence for a herd of about 100 Roosevelt elk. A mild winter climate and abundant food allow the Roosevelt elk to remain at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area all year. Dean Creek is a Day Use Only site. The O.H. Hinsdale Rhododendron Garden is located across Highway 38 from the elk viewing area. The garden will be open for public tours on Saturday, May 11, 2013 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There are educational exibits at the ends of the viewing area to explain about Roosevelt elk and their life cycles.  And it has the needed bathroom for most of those people that need it after a long drive.

More of the elk resting from a hard day of eating grass
More of the elk resting from a hard day of eating grass


  • From Reedsport and Highway 101: Travel about three miles east on Hwy. 38 to the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area signs.
  • From Interstate 5: Take Hwy. 38 west to Reedsport and the viewing area.

Whittaker creek


One of the great places in Oregon that you can view spawning salmon and steelhead is in this little tributary of the Siuslaw river.  The creek is closed to fishing year around to help preserve the native populations of the four anadromous species of fish that spawn in the creek. That means that spawn in fresh water and live most of their lives in the ocean to those of you who are not fish people. The four fish species that use the creek are King Salmon (Chinook), Silver salmon (Coho), Steelhead, and sea-run Cutthroat trout (also called bluebacks).


The Chinook enter the river as soon as the fall rains raise water levels up to the point where these large fish can start their travel up from the Siuslaw estuary.  The Coho will be right behind them on the trip up the river.  Steelhead will start hitting the creek around Christmas time and continue until late March. If you are going now you will see a few of the remaining salmon and the start of the steelhead run.  We saw 6 steelhead in 3 different holes this weekend when we stopped by.  I love seeing the expression on my daughters face when she see a 2-3 foot fish swimming in the creek.


For the last several years the dept of fish and wildlife have been working on improvements to the spawning conditions for the fish.  While driving along you can see where rocks and logs have been added to the stream to make larger area’s full of gravel for the fish to spawn in.