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Exploring Crescent Lake: The How to Get There Guide from Bend Kayak School and Rentals

This week’s shaping up to be the hottest so far this summer, with several days breaking into the triple digits. Best way to beat the heat? Grab a paddle board rental or kayak rental from Bend Kayak School, jump in the car, blast the A/C and head out on an aquatic adventure!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take a trip down to the southern confluence of the Cascade Lakes Highway and Route 97, where some friends and I set up camp along the shores of beautiful Crescent Lake. Once there, we embarked on an evening of fun and debauchery, filled with paddle boarding, swimming, sausages, midnight photography, and certainly no shortage of adult sodas. Cut to the next morning: Though a little worse for wear, a few fire toasted bagels and an AM swim in the refreshing water put me right back where I needed to be. And I as I stood along the shore and gazed out along the glassy blue water, surrounded by perpetual forested hills and buttes for as far as my squinted, puffy eyes would allow me to see, I found myself wondering; “Could this indeed be my favorite Cascade Lake?”

With a drive time of about an hour and 15 minutes, it’s a bit of a hike getting there compared to the lakes around Mount Bachelor, but well worth the trip. To the east sits Odell Butte, a towering, tree covered remnant of a once active volcano. The monolith extends up from the surrounding hills, appearing almost completely symmetrical, a rarity in the natural world. The water is cool and refreshing, yet not nearly as cold as the lakes around Mount Bachelor, which remain frigid throughout the summer months. It was also incredibly clear, with visibility extending upwards of 50 feet down. I would highly recommend bringing a pair of goggles!

Crescent is one of the few lakes in the Cascades large and deep enough to accommodate speed boats. The lake itself does not have any set regulations in terms of what kind of boats you can launch, so be prepared to catch quite a variety of seaworthy vessels out there. That being said, and despite being there on a Sunday, overall boat traffic was mild, and never once did the lake feel crowded.

Disclaimer: If you plan on paddling out far from shore, make sure to bring a life jacket! It is illegal to be more than 50 feet from shore without a life jacket on ANY TYPE of vessel, be it a paddle board, kayak, canoe, or blow-up unicorn floaty (we found this out the hard way).

If you’re driving from Bend, head south on Route 97 until you get to the town of Crescent (about an hour drive). From there, take a right onto Crescent Cutoff road and follow that for 10 minutes or so. When you get to the junction of Crescent Cutoff and Route 58, head right for a few minutes and the entrance to the lake will be on your left!

Make sure to come visit us at Bend Kayak School for kayak rentals and paddle board rentals down at our Colorado Street location on the way. Be it kayak, tandem or paddleboard, we’ll get you what you need! Capitalize on these hot days ladies and gentlemen. August is here, and fall is just around the corner.

Adventure is out there my friends. We’ll see you on the water.

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