Central Oregon’s Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a path once taken, you’ll never want to leave, but —you might try a summer detour! We did just that at Sparks Lake, 25 miles west of Bend and we found adventure on the water with Wanderlust Tours.

We joined an enthusiastic group of folks who were sporting PFD’s and – with paddles in hand – each was eager and ready to go aboard canoes to see the lake from a different point of view.

At 5400 feet in elevation, Sparks Lake is perfectly suited to a canoe adventure with awesome views of South Sister, Broken Top and Mount Bachelor. Sparks Lake was formed more than ten thousand years ago when lava blocked the Deschutes River. In fact, a narrow channel — defined by volcanic rock shorelines — connects two halves of Sparks Lake. The lake covers approximately 400 acres and it is no more than ten feet deep. We paddled, we smiled and we laughed as we toured the lake as a slight breeze eased our down wind paddle. After an hour or two, we arrived at a sprawling sandy beach.

The site offered plenty of elbowroom for a shore side lunch and a cold brew to go with the expansive view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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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 tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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