Our Central Oregon Anniversary Kayaking Trip

This year we decided to head over to Central Oregon for our Annual Anniversary Trip, to the Bend and La Pine area. Last year we originally wanted to go here but we couldn't find any available camping spots so we headed down to the Redwoods in California instead.  I am thankful my husband found one of the last two spots at the Gull Point Campground on the Wickiup Reservoir.

Day 1 Highlights:
We left Salem and headed over the mountain to Central Oregon.

Driving by Detroit Lake we talked about the current drinking water restrictions in Salem due to the algae levels here on the lake.  Our first stop was a little thrift store in Sisters and to the Bi-Mart.

For lunch we went into a local market in Bend. I got very overwhelmed by how busy it was so we left, checked out a little food truck pod. We ended up at Mod Pizza. We sat outside on the deck with a view of South Sister.
Gluten free and it was good!

After lunch, we drove out to check out Tumalo Falls. It is very beautiful. I am thankful the water fall is right off the parking lot. I have been to Bend multiple times and have never been here before. A very pleasant surprise! I would highly recommend coming here.

Tumalo Falls

We made our way to Gull Point Campground. We were surprised at how big the camping spots are and how beautiful some of the views were over looking the Wickiup Reservoir. There are no showers. Thankfully there was a flushing toilet and sink but the next day it was out of order for the remainder of the trip.

We went for a walk down to the dock and along the beach side. We set up camp and hung out for the rest of the evening.  Time to rest up for a big day tomorrow.

Wickiup Reservoir
Gull Point Campground
Our camping spot.

Day 2 Highlights: 

We woke up early.  Ate breakfast in camp. We checked out South Twin Lake. No parking. Bought an annual Northwest Forest Pass for parking and entrance to all the parks.  (highly recommend)

We kayaked at North Twin Lake. It was very crowded with limited parking. Thankfully we found a spot to park right up front. We watched an eagle on the far side of the lake when we were kayaking. We made it around around the entire lake.

North Twin Lake

We got something cold to drink at the Resort store at Crane Prairie lake and took in the view of the mountains.
Crane Prarie

We continued North in search of the perfect spot to kayak i.e. easy access, not too windy and not so many people. All these lakes were jammed packed with people and Lava Lake was really windy.

Lava Lake

Little Lava Lake looked good to kayak but we decided to keep looking and come back if needed since all the lakes are pretty close. Hosmer lake was recommended but was super busy as well.  We liked "The Beach" at Elk Lake. The Resort at Elk Lake required a $10 boat dock fee and was very very crowded so we kept going. Devils Lake looked so pretty. The lake was very green and beautiful.

Devils Lake

We drove into Sparks Lake. This was pretty crowded but as well but it had a very good view of South Sisters. I definitely want to come back here some day to kayak.

Sparks Lake

We voted and decided we wanted to go back and kayak Devils Lake. Upon arrival, we discovered that there wasn't a boat ramp. We would have to carry the kayaks in a long ways so we decided to save it for another time. The water was so green and beautiful. Devils Lake also has rugged camping spots.

Devils Lake

We ended up kayaking at "the Beach" on Elk Lake. The lake has a great view of South Sister and Mount Bachelor. We discovered a perfect picnic table so we made dinner on the camping stove here and hung out for a while.



Dinner and a beautiful view 
South Sister
Mt. Bachelor

On the way back to camp we checked out Cultus Lake.

Cultus Lake

What a great day! We saw so much today and enjoyed God's beautiful creation. This area is very impressive! I definitely want to come back and explore this area more.

Day 3 Highlights: 
Our campground hosted part of Pacific Crest Triathlon and Weekend Sports Festival. We got caught up in the bike portion of the race so we decided to change plans and go a different direction for the day. We went into La Pine for gas and hit the local Dollar General. We headed up to Paulina Lake. Little did we know that we would be entering the Newberry National Volcanic Monument as we came to the Newberry Welcome Station. Our pass allowed us into the Newberry Caldera without paying the $5.00 fee. On the way we stopped at an awesome viewpoint overlooking the mountain range and Paulina Falls (80 ft. twin waterfall)


Paulina Falls

We also went and checked out the Big Obsidian Flow (Oregon's youngest Lava flow).  


Obsidian Flow

We got prime parking at East Lake so we decided to do a little kayaking. The lake was engulfed with little bugs that looked like dragonflies. They did not bite but were literally everywhere.  The lake had a very nice beach area to dock in and out of.  Today was the hottest day so it was nice to spend some time at a lake. We set out our chairs on the beach area and hung out before and after kayaking. We watched a guy catch a fish while fly fishing. There is lots of fly fishing here in Central Oregon.

East Lake

Smoked Fish from my Dad

We checked out the Visitor Center and picked up a little newspaper with information on the area. We headed back down the Mountain and ended up at Lava Lands. We by passed the Lava River Cave due to it being over crowded. We found out later in the gift shop at the Lava Butte that there was a long wait. We each got a vinyl decal to put on our kayak to commemorate the trip.

We pulled $4.00 out of thin air to ride the $2.00 shuttle up to the top of the Lava Butte. Very hot up on top but worth the views.

Lava Butte Shuttle
On the shuttle

The gorgeous view at Lava Butte

We got gas in Bend and checked out the Bend Goodwill. I got two awesome picture frames at $5.00 each. Love them! We took a chance on another food truck. This time it was a win. Every single bite was delicious. "A La Carte" at The Lot.

After lunch, we decided to check out a Starbucks to cool off and so I could rest a little. This was very helpful. I took inventory of how many lakes we have seen thus far. I noticed that we missed one lake on the North end of the Cascade Lakes Oregon Scenic byway. My gracious Husband knows me so he suggested that we go check it out so we could say we saw all the lakes.

Yummy Pink Drink for me!

We made it to Todd Lake. This was our first run in with mosquitos. We got the spray out and made the 1/4 mile trek into the lake. This lake area is closed for restoration so you have to stay on the designated pathways. We saw patches of snow and it was 80 degrees out! There were lots of pretty wild flowers.

Mt. Bachelor

Todd Lake


We drove the Scenic Byway back to camp.

Day 4 Highlights:

Waking up early after a rough pain night with energy is the best! We packed up camp and was hitting the road for home by 8:30 am.  Big plans for the day.  I am so thankful to have some energy to enjoy the road trip back home. We decided to go a different way home going through Eugene.

We made it back onto the Cascades Lakes Oregon Scenic Byway to finish the last stretch. We took  a little side detour to see the West side of the Wickiup Reservoir.

Wickiup Reservoir

We made our way down to see Davis Lake. The last lake of the Tour.

Davis Lake

We officially made it through the entire Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.  I am so thankful my Husband does all the driving.

We took Highway 58 home over the Willamette Pass.  We checked out Crescent Lake. It was super windy and had big waves crashing into the shore.  There was a good view of Diamond Peak from the a view point on the side of the road.

Crescent Lake


We also stopped to check out Odell Lake. The water was very pretty.  I saw an Eagle swoop down into the water and then flew towards me before going up into a tree. Check out the video below.

Odell Lake

We drove up through the Waldo Lake Wilderness to Waldo Lake. It is the second largest lake in Oregon. We were so thankful that our Northwest Forest Pass covered the day fee here as well. We kayaked Waldo Lake. We enjoyed getting out on the little islands. The Lake had a great view of Huckleberry Mountain.

Waldo Lake

My Handsome Husband!

The beautiful view

Hanging out on an island.

The water is super clear.

After Waldo Lake we had one last surprise stop. I noticed Salt Falls on the map so we stopped to check it out. I am sure glad we did. It was so beautiful and turns out the waterfall is the second highest in Oregon.

I am so thankful for this trip. We got to see and do so much. I have a lot of bad pain days and long stretches of being home laid up or enough energy to do a few things around the house. It is times like this weekend where God gives me grace and the strength to go and do things. And even though I may be in pain or have moments of low energy or being too overwhelmed in a busy environment. I am able to still go and enjoy the great out doors. To go on a great adventure and explore the world with my husband. We made some great memories together. I look forward to our next adventure.

Love and Prayers ❤



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