Guide to Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon is one of the all-time great outdoor-lover destinations.  And one of the best ways to enjoy the “great outdoors” is to head up the Cascade Lakes Highway & hop in one of its many lakes!  One of my personal favorites is Devils Lake: I’ll never forget the first time I saw it ~ it seemed to appear out of nowhere, near a bend on the side of the highway…shimmering turquoise perfection in the afternoon sunlight.  At the right time of day, there’s no prettier lake than this one.  So in this “Guide to Devils Lake by Bend,”  I’ll give you all the info you need to swim, kayak, paddle board, hike, & camp at this stunning mountain-surrounded beauty.

Guide to Devils Lake in Oregon, Top Five Lakes by Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World

Devils Lake is one of the best Cascade Lakes for photography! Its turquoise water formz the perfect backdrop for photos…this shot was taken right on the side of the highway.

Map of Devils Lake

Todd Lake

Devils Lake


Quick Facts about Devils Lake

  • How Far is Devils Lake from Bend?  Devils Lake is 26 miles from Bend, & the drive takes about 35 minutes. Take the Cascade Lakes Highway (Century Drive) up towards Mt. Bachelor; you’ll pass Todd Lake & Sparks Lake ~ then next up, on the left side of the road, is Devils Lake.
  • Where to Park at Devils Lake?  There’s a fairly large parking lot on the west side of the lake, but many people also park right along the highway, on the left side of the road ~ beside the lake (there’s a steep embankment down to reach the lake from most of these parking spots). 
  • Is There a Toilet Here? How About a Water Source?  Yes, there’s a vault toilet ~ & NO, there’s no water source. Bring our own WATER! 
  • What are the Closest Hotels to Devils Lake?  Tetherow Lodge Hotel & Seventh Mountain Inn are both located right off Century Drive in Bend, an easy 20-minute drive from Devils Lake.  Family-friendly Sunriver is also about a 20-minute drive from the lake(s).
  • Can You Camp at Devils Lake?  Yes! There are 10 hike-in, tent-only, beautiful lakeside campsites. Park in the South Sisters/Devils Lake Trailhead parking lot (same as the one I mentioned above). There are no reservations for camping here: first-come, first-serve. Get more details on the Deschutes National Forest website here.

Can You Camp at Devils Lake in Oregon? Girl Who Travels the World

This is one of the campsites that overlooks the lake.

  • Do You Need a Recreation Pass to Park Here?  Again, yes! Pick up a $5 Day Recreation Pass at sports stores like Powder House in Bend, or click here to purchase online. 
  • Can You Swim in Devils Lake? How cold is the water?  The water here is REALLY COLD!! It’s coming right off the mountains (South Sister is one of the mountains above the lake), which feed into Hell & Tyee Creeks: so it’s chilly. Bottom line: you can swim here if you enjoy cold-water swims (like Wim Hof!) ~ but everyone else will want to stay out! (For better & warmer swimming, head to nearby Elk Lake).
  • Can You Fish at Devils Lake?  Yes! You can fish for rainbow & brook trout. 
  • Is Devils Lake Pet-Friendly?  BIG YES!! Any dog that loves to swim will love this lake ~ my Charlie girl swam for about an hour straight!

Guide to Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World

Look at that green water! Devils Lake is pet-friendly, so bring the pups along on this adventure…

  • What’s the Weather Like at the Lake vs. in Bend?  You can pretty much count on it being about 10 degrees colder in the mountains than in Bend, any time of year. So if it’s 90 degrees in Bend, it’ll be about 78 degrees in the mountains/at the lakes. Occasionally during the summer, you may get a storm in the mountains that doesn’t make it to town ~ but they’re usually forecast quite accurately. 
  • Can You Kayak & Paddle Board at Devils Lake? Absolutely! These are some of the best activities you can do here, because they keep you dry ~ while allowing you to get amazing photos of this stunning, turquoise lake. No other lake along the Cascade Highway has water this color: so take advantage of it. Bring your waterproof camera or a waterproof case for your phone so that you can get pictures out on the water. In some of the photos below, you’ll see that my friends & I are using an inflatable kayak & we tied up a comfy floatie behind it…complete with drink holders!
  • Can You Hike at Devils Lake? Yes. There’s a nice, fairly flat 2.1 mile walk around the lake that will take you past some of the lake’s campsites. But this is also a base for much longer treks into the mountains: such as the extremely hard South Sister hike (11.6 miles, one of the toughest in town), or the less difficult Wickiup Plain Loop Trail (5.7 miles). 
  • What You Need to Fully Enjoy the Lake = Bring a picnic lunch, water, some drinks, some kind of inflatable/water gear like paddle boards or kayaks (even a floatie ~ you can tie it up to one of your boards!), a waterproof camera or case for your phone, waterproof outdoor speaker, & towels.

Photos of Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon

Guide to Devils Lake by Bend, Top Five Lakes by Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World, Devils Lake

TURQUOISE!!! And FREEZING!!! That sums up Devils Lake in two words : )

Photo Guide to Devils Lake in Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World

And bring the pups…or they may just try to come anyway : )

How to Get to Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World

We brought an inflatable kayak AND a floatie to the lake ~ & it turns out we needed both!

How to Get to Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World

Into the blue…

Hikes by Devils Lake in Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World

This is what the walk around the lake looks like: nice & easy.

Guide to Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon

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Photo Guide to Devils Lake by Bend, Oregon, Girl Who Travels the World