This Man-Made Lake In Oregon Is Almost Too Beautiful To Be Real

Two chairs and a fire in a fire pit in front of Applegate Lake with mountains in the background.
Photo via Applegate Lake Facebook page

Tucked away in the lush embrace of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Applegate Lake is a hidden gem in southern Oregon that feels like it's straight out of a postcard. This 988-acre lake, surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Applegate Valley and the picturesque vistas of the Red Buttes Wilderness Area, is more than just a lake; it's a treasure trove of outdoor adventure and serene beauty.

Relax At Applegate Lake In Southern Oregon

Applegate Lake surrounded by trees with snowcapped mountains in the background.
Photo via Applegate Lake Facebook page.

Imagine a place where the water mirrors the sky, and the surrounding forests tell tales of the old and the wild. That's Applegate Lake for you, a man-made marvel crafted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1980 with the Applegate Dam. Standing tall at 242 feet, the dam is about more than flood control; it's about creating a sanctuary for humans and nature alike.

Applegate Lake isn't just about sitting back and soaking in the views (though we wouldn't blame you if that's all you wanted to do), it's an adventure hub where every turn offers something new. From mountain biking on challenging trails to road biking with the wind in your hair, the area is a cyclist's haven. And for those who prefer the tranquility of the water, the lake welcomes you with open arms for stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing.

Speaking of water, let's talk fish! With bountiful populations of trout, landlocked Chinook salmon, and bass, you're in for a treat. The lake is stocked with a whopping 120,000 rainbow trout and 50,000 young Chinook annually. Cast your line and wait for the magic to happen.

For those who prefer to stay on land, the lake's 17.5-mile long shoreline offers a hiking and biking trail that's as scenic as it is invigorating. And if you're into a bit of flora and fauna, the lake's surroundings are a riot of colors with diverse plant life and a playground for numerous bird species and wildlife.

Picnicking And Camping At Applegate Lake

Applegate Lake surrounded by trees with mountains in the background.
Photo by Joe Grober via Google Local.

But what's a day at the lake without a picnic? Applegate Lake has you covered with its well-maintained picnic and day-use areas. And for those who wish to linger a little longer under the starlit skies, the campgrounds, including the delightful Hart-Tish Park, are a call to the wild-hearted.

Two white chairs in front of Applegate Lake.  A rainbow is across the lake on a cloudy day in front of some mountains.
Photo via the Applegate Lake Facebook

Hart-Tish Park is not just any campground; it's a slice of heaven with lush lawns sloping down to the lake, offering views that can soothe any soul. Hart-Tish has day-use areas for swimmers, a cement boat ramp, and campsites that offer both the rustic charm of tent sites and the convenience of RV spots.

Another option is Watkins Campground with its cozy campsites, perfect for those who love the crackling of a campfire and the stories that unfold around it.

Get more information about Applegate Lake here.

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