Sparks Lake

This site will stretch your capability to focus only on wildlife. Approximately 370 acres of lake wetland are surrounded by another 360 acres of meadow, marsh, or stream wetlands. The spectacular setting – a memorialized favorite of the late, acclaimed, landscape photographer Ray Atkeson – is dominated by South Sister towering to 10,358′ elevation, Broken Top to 9,175′, and Bachelor Butte to 9,065′. Dark-green forests, bright-green meadows, and deep-blue skies will linger on your real or imaginary canvas. Look for the yellow-flowers of Indian pond lily in small ponds at the meadow’s northwest corner.

Sparks Lake is located about 25 miles west of Bend off the Cascade Lakes Highway. The lake was named for “Lige” Sparks, a pioneer stockman of central Oregon. Except for possible early-day trappers, the first organized group of white men to visit the Sparks Lake area was a Pacific Railroad survey party led by Lts. R. L. Williamson and Phil Sheridan, accompanied by Dr. John S. Newberry, physician and scientist.

In seeking a pass through the mountains to the north, they traveled the Green Lakes trail in August 1855. They returned in September and evidently traveled by the Old Horse Lake Trail from its junction with the Green Lakes Trail and passed by Moraine Lake and on to Wickiup Plains. It is guessed that this group went past Devils Pass, Devils Lake, and followed the approximate route of the north Century Drive.

The lake was formed about 10,000 years ago when lavas from the Mt. Bachelor Volcanic Chain blocked the upper Deschutes River. Sparks Lake is a large, shallow, trout lake located on the northwest edge of Mount Bachelor, and is the first of the high lakes you see from the Cascade Lakes Highway west of Bend. The views of South Sister, Mount Bachelor, and Broken Top are breathtaking. Prior to 1997, Sparks Lake was a brook trout fishery and, although brookies may still be available, the lake’s featured species will be introduced cutthroat trout.

Caution: Move cautiously in the meadow’s tall grass to avoid narrow, concealed water channels. Cold water and deep holes in these “beaver highways” can make for a frigid or injurious plunge. Mosquitoes and biting flies are abundant in early summer, so bring repellant.

Both motorized and non-motorized boats are allowed on this body of water. There is a maximum speed limit of 10mph on this lake.

For more information go to Sparks Lake Day Use