Oregon is a bee-you-tee-full state. We have EVERYTHING here – in spades. Our Fair City (Portland), of course. The Pacific coast. Lush forests. The mountains. The high desert. Rivers.
And lakes. Lots of lakes.
One I had never heard of, despite living here all of my life, is Loon Lake. About an hour east of Cottage Grove (off I-5), nestled among the verdant hills of the coast range, this Oregon oasis sits, serenely awaiting your visit.
On the southern shore of the lake, you’ll find Loon Lake Lodge Resort. Here are five reasons to consider “getting away from it all” at this nature-laden sanctuary for a few days.
# 1. The Journey
Heading south on I-5. Meh. But once you exit that asphalt expressway, you’ll want to slow down and soak up the views.
Highway 38 – which will take you all the way to the coast – meanders along the Umpqua River, past several small towns. Consider a stop in Elkton at the Elkton Community Education Center which boasts a replica of Fort Umpqua and a Butterfly Pavilion – among other features – all for free. My husband and I made it a COMPLETE stop by enjoying Umpqua ice cream cones at Arlene’s Cafe. :)
The most scenic portion of the drive occurs once you turn onto Loon Lake Road. You’re cocooned among the Doug firs, western hemlocks, and red cedars. Your heart rate will slow, preparing you for a break from the workaday world.
# 2. The Lake
Loon Lake is simply stunning – a cerulean blue jewel ensconced in the forests of the Coast Range. Think “On Golden Pond” – on steroids. It’s a quintessential Oregon mountain lake, measuring about two serpentine miles long by ½ mile wide. There’s a swimming area, a beach volleyball court, and a dock to hang out on, with a handy picnic table for your waterside dinner.
And then there are the water toys. You can rent everything from pontoons, ski boats and Sea Doos to kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards. No problem getting your water fun fix here. We took a ski boat out for a couple of hours of wind-in-your-hair freedom. Invigorating!
Despite the lake’s name, you’re unlikely to see any loons here. However, you will see osprey, eagles, and fish jumping in the water – if you can get your partner to idle the boat and just sit back and take in the view.
# 3. The Adorable Cabins
The accommodations at Loon Lake Lodge run the gamut from tent sites (prices starting at $17/night) and RV sites ($30 and up) and yurts ($50 and up) to motel rooms ($65 and up), cottages and cabins ($85 and up). (Note: Loon Lake Resort is adding more yurts in the near future.)
My husband and I opted for a cabin – which was perfectly laid out and adorable. A BIG plus was the knotty pine interior. Your first impression is that lovely pine scent. Ahhh…
# 4. The ‘Veranda’
The lodge itself is a modest building with a small store, gift shop, and deli.
And then there’s that fantastic deck (we dubbed it the “veranda”) that looks out on Loon Lake.
You can buy a six-pack of Mike’s Hard (Watermelon!) Lemonade at the store and the uber-friendly staff will serve you up a cold one on the deck – and keep the rest on ice – while you chill. Sip, breathe deeply, take in the outstanding view. You’ll be transported to your new “happy place.”
#5. Other Enticing Amenities
On the northern end of Loon Lake, a short hike will take you to majestic waterfall, cascading through moss-covered logs. Highly recommended!
The beach is just 30 miles from Reedsport and less than an hour’s drive from Winchester Bay and the Oregon Dunes Recreation Area – and the Pacific. You will not lack for things to do.
Are you ready to decompress? Visit this link to get started!
Be sure to bring food for your stay. The small grocery store at the Lodge has limited options – although it DOES carry several varieties of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
Print out the directions available on Loon Lake Lodge’s website before departing on your trip. DO NOT rely on Google for navigation to the lodge! It will add a half hour (and a rough road) to your drive.
There is no cell reception but pretty decent free Internet access. Oh, and satellite TV in many of the accommodations. :)
Marie Sherlock is an award-winning, Portland-based travel writer. Follow her on twitter @SherlockTravels.