There is so much to do in Central Oregon that it took us two years to visit Todd Lake. This is notable because we frequently drive past it – it is the first lake on the Cascade Lakes Highway past Mt. Bachelor. In our defense, this part of the highway is only open from approximately June to October due to snowfall (it’s at 6150 feet) and is incredibly busy during the summer months. We did try visiting it this July, but the parking lot was full to overflowing, causing us to try another location as avoiding crowds this summer was essential.
We returned on a grey day in late September. The weather left something to be desired, but it also kept the crowds away. The best part – from September 15th to July 15, dogs can be off-leash – perfect for our dog whose favorite activity is running in the cold.
Todd Lake is located in a cirque glacier – a concave depression on or near a mountain caused by glacial ice and erosion.
Besides fishing, Todd Lake is known for its spectacular views of Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top. A fact I can neither confirm nor deny as the fog rolled in the day we were there.
There is a 2.5k trail around the lake and a trail towards Broken Top if you are up for a longer hike. We walked the shorter trail first. It’s an easy hike, and the trail winds its way around the lake at the water’s edge leading you through an alpine meadow and a fir forest.
We began the trail leading to Broken Top but turned around due to driving rain. The dog thought we should keep going, but he was out voted by all those not in a fur coat.
I liked it there so much that I took the dog running there a few more times before the road closed.
Will I return? Absolutely, but not until the fall. I imagine the spring will be buggy due to the meadow’s swampy nature, and even though the flowers will be in bloom, I prefer the badlands during that time of year. As for the summer, if it’s anything like this year, it will be too crowded.