Discovering Tranquility at Summer Lake Hot Springs in Oregon

Sunset over Summer Lake Hot Springs. It's a cloudy evening and orange light reflects in the clouds and in a body of still water surrounded by dry grasses and sage brush in the desert. There are low flat mountains in the background.
Summer Lake Hot Springs. Photo via the Summer Lake Hot Springs Website.

If you're searching for a summer getaway that combines natural wonders, wildlife encounters, and outdoor exploration, look no further than Summer Lake in Eastern Oregon. This hidden gem has something for everyone, from the soothing Summer Lake Hot Springs to the picturesque landscapes and nearby hiking, camping and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Summer Lake, Oregon: Big Views And Wide Open Spaces

Summer lake on a blue sky day with white fluffy clouds overhead. The blue skies are reflected in the calm waters. There are tall yellow grasses around the lake edges.
Summer Lake Wildlife Area. Photo by Joan Amero via Flickr CC2.

The area around Summer Lake, Oregon is characterized by a captivating geography and diverse landscape. Situated in Lake County, this region is home to the expansive Summer Lake Basin, which was formed by ancient volcanic activity. The basin encompasses approximately 20,000 acres and features the picturesque Summer Lake, a large shallow playa lake. The surrounding terrain includes rolling hills, rugged mountains, and vast stretches of open plains, providing a stunning backdrop for outdoor adventures.

Blue skies reflect in a pool of water. There is a rock path down to the pool of water and low flat desert mountains in the background.
Photo via the Summer Lake Hot Springs Facebook page.

While the community of Summer Lake only has a population of about 90 people and doesn't have any shopping, nearby Paisley has a population of 250 people and has a few restaurants and a mercantile so you can get some necessities for your Summer Lake adventure.

Unwind And Rejuvenate At Summer Lake Hot Springs

Nestled near the southern shore of Summer Lake on Highway 31, the Summer Lake Hot Springs is a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Imagine soaking in natural mineral-rich hot springs as you gaze at the surrounding breathtaking vistas.

fort lock oregon summer lake hot springs
Image via / Summer Lake Hot Springs

The bathhouse at Summer Lake Hot Springs was built in 1929 and has been serving locals and travelers who want to soak in the healing waters ever since. The waters here come from over a mile beneath the earth's surface and are heated by the geothermal energy below ground.

With a variety of pools offering different temperatures, you can tailor your experience to your preferences, whether you seek a tranquil soak or a therapeutic session to soothe your muscles. The average temperature of the hot spring pools is 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Please note, this is not a day use area. You must make a reservation to stay in order to soak in the hot springs.

Cabins, RV sites and tent sites are available with a reservation.

Experience Cozy Comfort At The Lodge At Summer Lake

Tall green trees and small cozy cabins sit on the edge of a body of still water.
Photo via the Lodge At Summer Lake Facebook page.

If you're seeking a comfortable retreat, The Lodge at Summer Lake is the perfect choice. This charming lodge offers cozy accommodations, exceptional dining, and awe-inspiring views of the surrounding landscape.

Cute little cabins with green roofs sit right on the edge of a body of calm water. Someone is fishing from the porch of a cabin.
Photo via the Lodge At Summer Lake Facebook page.

Whether you prefer a room with modern amenities or a private cabin with rustic charm, The Lodge at Summer Lake will exceed your expectations and provide a memorable stay.

While the Lodge does not sit on Summer Lake itself, it is across from the Summer Lake Wildlife Refuge at the base of Winter Rim and sits on it's own private three acre bass fish pond which is full stocked with bass. This is a great place to stay not only for the cozy cabins and the views, but also for the awesome food at the Lodge's Flyaway Restaruant.

Wildlife Viewing And Nearby Outdoor Adventures At Summer Lake

Summer Lake is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, with diverse habitats and abundant fauna. Explore the Summer Lake Wildlife Area, managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, where you can observe a myriad of bird species, including majestic Sandhill Cranes and Tundra Swans. The area is also home to mule deer, pronghorn antelope, and coyotes, providing ample opportunities for wildlife photography and encounters.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Ana Reservoir RV Park offers tent and RV camping options, as well as swimming and fishing.

A dock goes down into Ana Reservoir on a nice day.  There are a few trees, some grass, and a picnic bench on the shore of the still waters of the reservoir.
Photo via the Ana Reservoir RV Park Facebook page.

Located just six minutes outside of Summer Lake, the Ana Reservoir county park is a convenient base for exploring the area's natural wonders.

People on jetskis enjoying the waters of the Ana Reservoir on a blue sky day with no clouds.
Photo via the Ana Reservoir RV Park Facebook page.

Nearby Picture Rock Pass boasts ancient petroglyphs and stunning views, making it a must-visit destination just a short drive north of Summer Lake.

fort rock oregon
Image via / The Author / thePDXphotographer

Venture further to Fort Rock State Park, located approximately 43 minutes north of Summer Lake, and discover the intriguing Fort Rock Cave and its fascinating Native American history.

A boy inside a volcanic fissure in Oregon.
Inside Oregon's Crack In The Ground. Photo by BLM via Flickr CC2.

If you're feeling adventurous, embark on a 50-minute drive north to explore Crack In The Ground, a remarkable volcanic fissure that stretches for two miles.

If hiking is your passion, Thompson Reservoir offers camping, hiking, and fishing opportunities just 47 minutes west of Summer Lake. Don't miss the Slide Lake Trail and its stunning scenery, accessible within a 30-minute drive from the Summer Lake Hot Springs.

For the avid hiker, the Fremont National Recreational Trail at the Fremont Point Day Use Area promises breathtaking vistas, though it's important to note that reaching this trail requires a one-hour-and-ten-minute drive from Summer Lake, largely on dirt roads.

Summer Lake in Eastern Oregon offers a summer adventure like no other. Whether you're seeking relaxation in the therapeutic hot springs, wildlife encounters in the Summer Lake Wildlife Area, or thrilling hikes through unique landscapes, this destination has it all. Embark on an unforgettable journey and explore the wonders of Summer Lake and its surrounding attractions in Oregon's high desert.

fort rock oregon summer lake
Today, Eastern Oregon's lake are mostly dry like Summer Lake. / Image via / Wikimedia Commons

We think you'll also like reading about the scenic town of Joseph, Oregon, named 13th most beautiful small town in the US, as well as the Hell's Canyon Adventure Guide, and about the Owyhee Canyonlands of Oregon, which are gorgeous and a geological masterpiece!

Will you be heading out to Summer Lake this year? Let us know in a comment and tag the friends and family you want to go on an eastern Oregon adventure with!