Backpacking Lake with Kids Recommendations

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
Post Reply
User avatar
barrya
Posts: 3
Joined: June 26th, 2017, 11:22 am

Backpacking Lake with Kids Recommendations

Post by barrya » August 5th, 2020, 9:26 am

Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has any recommendations for some short backpacking trips with kids (11 and 10 year olds who are carrying their own stuff) to a lake suitable for swimming. So far those trips have been to easy-to-reach places that are beautiful but get big crowds (Buck Lake, Boulder Lake, etc). Looking for more, with perhaps a bit more of a hike.

It would be Thursday through Sunday, and within 3.5 hours of PDX. Ideally getting a little farther on the dry side of the cascades would be great.

Currently looking at:
* Twin Lakes in Mount Hood National Forest
* Matthieu Lakes Trail in Deschutes National Forest
* Scott Lake Trailhead to Benson lake and Tenas Lakes
* Green Lake in Deschutes

Anyone with mosquito reports especially for Matthieu and Benson lake? We really would love to hike into Matthieu lakes on a Thursday -- how popular is this place?

Green Lakes is on my list of places to check out, but realize it's incredibly popular, and the potential for not getting a campsite is high.

Anyway, any recommendations and/or mosquito warnings would be much appreciated.

User avatar
drm
Posts: 5365
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: The Dalles, OR
Contact:

Re: Backpacking Lake with Kids Recommendations

Post by drm » August 5th, 2020, 10:04 am

Take a look at Pete and Waptus Lakes and around in SE Washington outside of Cle Elum. They are popular, but they are also large lakes, so room for people to spread out, especially if you're arriving on a Thursday.

User avatar
walrus
Posts: 174
Joined: July 9th, 2014, 7:24 am

Re: Backpacking Lake with Kids Recommendations

Post by walrus » August 5th, 2020, 1:54 pm

Santiam Lake - don't know how busy it gets on weekends, but we've been the only ones there on a Thursday night in August. Plenty of other lakes and things to explore in the neighborhood.

leiavoia
Posts: 109
Joined: April 24th, 2015, 9:53 pm

Re: Backpacking Lake with Kids Recommendations

Post by leiavoia » August 5th, 2020, 2:07 pm

Booth Lake bear Santiam Pass is easy to get to and has a nice shoreline for swimming. You can continue north on the same trail for other nice lakes as well.

The best swimming lake I have been to is Deadman’s Lake north of mt St. Helens. It’s about 4-6 miles with a hard uphill climb, but I think it should be doable by a 10yo. Nice ridgeline views with wildflowers on the way there. Lake has a sandy shoreline ideal for swimming or even snorkeling.

User avatar
barrya
Posts: 3
Joined: June 26th, 2017, 11:22 am

Re: Backpacking Lake with Kids Recommendations

Post by barrya » August 10th, 2020, 9:22 am

Thanks to everyone who replied with swimming-friendly lake spots. We did wind up exploring Matthieu Lakes area -- these kids aren't ready yet for much longer hikes carrying their own (ill-fitting) gear. We left on Thursday, and got on the trail in the rain, which meant lots of camping options when we got there as there weren't many people around. And no mosquitos until a couple days later. We set up in North Matthieu lake, explored South Matthieu lake and the ridges above overlooking North and Middle Sisters and views to Jefferson. Leaving on Sunday we checked out Scott Lake campsites, which seems like a really nice idyllic spot for families and a great base to explore other hikes around the area.

One more thing - the butterflies in this area were off the hook! I don't think it would be hyperbole to say we saw millions of butterflies in the area around HWY242.

Post Reply