7 Best Things to Do in Timothy Lake (Oregon)


The story of Timothy Lake started in 1956 when Portland General Electric completed a power plant in the area, and 5.6 km² of the surrounding mountain meadows remained submerged.

Today, the artificial reservoir, which falls within the limits of Mount Hood National Forest, is an extremely attractive place for tourism.

If you enjoy hiking, boating, swimming and fishing, you will truly fall in love with this place.

Even if being quite deep (80 feet or 24 m), the water warms up quickly during the summer months, especially the shallows along the shore.

Here is what not to miss while in the area:

1. Swimming in the lake

swim in the calm lake
Swim in the calm lake by Bonnie Moreland/Flickr

Timothy Lake is considered one of the best places to swim in Oregon.

There are four different campgrounds along the shore of the lake and all of them offer a wide choice of great places to swim.

You will find some very nice small pebble beaches to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Usually, the beach season lasts approximately 2 months – from late June till late August.

However, the weather conditions may vary from one year to another so you should check the weather forecast before you go.

Another advantage is the clear emerald water. Depending on weather conditions, Timothy Lake’s water could be pleasantly warm or cold, and still, it is one of the warmest lakes in the state.

In July and August the average surface temperature is approximately 73 – 75°F (or approximately 23-24 degrees Celsius).

2. Take a lot of pictures at sunset

timothy lake at sunset
Timothy Lake at sunset by Dale Marie/Flickr

Shortly before sunset is the best part of the day if you want to take some really good pictures of Timothy Lake.

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If you are an early bird, another option is to enjoy the wonderful golden light shortly after sunrise.

Another advantage early in the morning is the pleasant coolness of the forest.

3. Birdwatching

wild goose
Wild goose by laughingmonk/Flickr

In the vicinity of Timothy Lake you will be able to observe in their natural environment a great variety of birds.

The lake is an important source of food and is a safe habitat for ducks, geese, eagles and many others.

Quite popular and widespread species of birds in the area are also loons, buffleheads, grebes and tiny thrushes.

The lake is considered one of the best places for birdwatching in Oregon.

4. Take a long walk around

pacific crest trail
Pacific Crest Trail by Aric Riley/Flickr

Timothy Lake is a very attractive spot for hiking because of its 13 miles long loop.

As the length of the route can be a bit tiring for most people, you can explore just a small part of the trail and enjoy a slow and relaxing walk.

The tourist route is very well maintained and follows the shores of the lake.

For this reason, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the lake at any point of the tourist trail.

5. Canoeing, kayaking and boating

If you are searching for a safe but still exciting place to enjoy some canoeing or kayaking in Oregon, Timothy Lake is a great choice.

Its calm and crystal clear waters act as a magnet to all lovers of the water sport.

The lake also guarantees a unique experience to the fans of boating.

6. Enjoy some camping

sunrise at camp
Sunrise at camp by Bill Geneczko/Flickr

The shore of Timothy Lake is an amazing place to camp.

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Because of the clean and fresh air, this is a tempting spot for recreation and relaxation.

The combination between refreshing cool water and pleasant dense shade are the main reason why this place is so popular during the warmest days of the year.

However, you should know that in the area live different species of big mammals, many of which are predators. Bears, foxes and wolves are some of the most common.

7. Enjoy the night sky

moonrise over the lake
Moonrise over the lake by John Hann/Flickr

Similarly to many other parts of Oregon, the area of Timothy Lake is a perfect spot to observe the night sky during the summer season.

This place is well known for its clear skies because of the low humidity and low level of dust particles in the air.

You will be able to enjoy the beauty of the Milky Way as well as the sparkling lights of millions of known and unknown stars in the night sky.