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Lake Billy Chinook rests in a spectacular high desert setting south of Madras, encircled by high basalt cliffs and hillsides dotted with juniper and sagebrush. Formed by the construction of Round Butte Dam in 1964, the lake includes the canyons of the Deschutes, Crooked and Metolius Rivers; the inflows of these nutrient rich rivers may help explain Billy Chinook’s healthy populations of bull trout and kokanee salmon.

Given the region’s warm air and the lake’s cool waters, Billy Chinook (which takes its name from a Tribes of the Warm Springs ancestor) is a favorite venue for waterskiers and wakeboarders who can take in the awesome canyon lands while slaloming to and fro. Billy Chinook may be best known for the legions of houseboaters it attracts. No vacation home gives easier access to the water! (A number of campgrounds and marinas are available for those who don’t opt for a houseboat!)

Courtesy of “Boating in Oregon” by Oregon State Marine Board

What’s around here? Location & Nearby Things to See & Do

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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A related Trip Idea

  1. Lake Billy Chinook

    written by Grant McOmie on June 28th, 2012

    Many of us enjoy taking our homes on the road in summer whether in a tent, trailer or recreational vehicle – but this week’s getaway shows us a place where you take your home on the water. When Oregon’s Cascade Mountains are behind you…

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