I love hiking high in the Cascades amongst the lodgepole pine. The air smells so good, and the sun is hot and dry. The lakes seem bluer up there, complementing the brilliant blue sky.
Ever since January, when I read about the Fawn Lake Trail while researching hiking options around Crescent Lake Resort, I’ve been looking for an opportunity to get up there and check it out. Last weekend it finally happened.
Tucked into the Deschutes National Forest between Crescent and Odell Lakes, we found the trail to Fawn Lake to be an easy day hike. The sign at the trail head says it is 4 miles into Fawn Lake. Eight miles (four miles in, then 4 miles out) is farther than we typically go for our hikes. However, the trail is wide, easy to navigate, and it climbs at such a gradual pace that it hardly feels like you are heading up. In fact, once we were there, we hiked around the lake before heading back.
With Lakeview Mountain and Redtop Mountain providing a picturesque backdrop, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch along the lake shore. The dog with us enjoyed a lot of time in the lake, as the shore line was easily accessible and the water was not very deep.
I was disappointed that there were not many wildflowers along the trail … but we did find this beauty. I love parasitic flowers and hadn’t seen this type before, I’ve since identified it as the “sugar stick” (Allotropa virgata).
William Sullivan in his book, 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades, says that the Fawn Lake Trail is “one of the most popular destinations in the Diamond Peak Wilderness,” and that this popularity means that the “trails have been beaten to dust.” Maybe on other weekends… when we visited we only encountered two other groups of people on the trail.
To reach the Fawn Lake trail head, head east on Highway 58 over Willamette Pass. At Crescent Junction, turn right at the sign for Crescent Lake Campgrounds. Follow this road for just over 2 miles, then turn right at a sno-park and go another .4 miles. Turn left toward the Campground, then immediately right again into a large gravel parking area intended for boat trailers. At the far end of the parking lot is the trail head for Fawn Lake. There are signs.