Portland Monthly - Lake Escapes
Drive time: 3 hours
Don’t even bother packing your iPhone when you go to Waldo Lake. For one thing, you probably won’t get service in this secluded basin, one of the world’s purest alpine lakes and the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Plus, you don’t want any pings and rings interrupting the silence. Thanks to a 2010 ban, nary the whir of a gas motor will tarnish your serenity at this 9.8-square-mile jewel. In fact, except for the occasional swoosh of a bald eagle’s wings and the harmonic song of a hermit warbler, the only sound you’ll hear is the echo of your paddle dipping into Waldo’s haunting blue waters, where the view down reaches a world-record 157 feet.
Anchor PointAvoid the mosquitos during high season (June/July) at North Waldo Campground, the driest and most popular of the lake’s sites.
nibblesFill your cooler with tentside staples at Ray’s Food Place in Oakridge.
Dive In Rent a canoe from Upstream Adventures in Oakridge and explore Waldo the old-fashioned way ($45 per day).