Distance: 2.1 square miles
Suggest Skill Level: Any
Workout Level: If there’s a breeze, Medium-High. Otherwise, Low
Sense of Reward: A new adventure in a far off lake
Timothy Lake is approximately 2.1 miles around although I could swear it felt larger while we were on the surface. This was by far the cleanest and clearest water we’ve been in this summer although we have admittedly been tainted by making the Willamette River our go to spot. Still, the water felt and appeared extremely fresh as we splashed about for the afternoon. We didn’t get a chance to really get out and flex our paddles much as kids were in tow and we were really more into having a splash fest together instead of a hardcore workout. If we were to break out on the lake though there’d be plenty of room to let it all out.
Motored boats are allowed on the lake although on an early August weekend with all the campsites booked it still did not seem like there were more than a handful of boats cruising about. Plus, there was plenty of room around the periphery for us to meander and play in safety and peace.
We found parking just over the dam in the southwest corner which is also where the swimming only section is laid out. We actually put in in the swimming only section with nobody giving us grief but we soon made our way to the flotation wall and threw our boards over to explore the greater lake. Most parking was full although we arrived mid-afternoon so weren’t too surprised by the parking situation.
There was an east-west breeze picking up although it never really got worse than a small bumpy chop. It’s not hard to imagine on a windier day Timothy Lake becoming a choppy nightmare but we were blessed without high winds. Still, I’d check the forecast before driving the 50+ miles only to get skunked by unfavorable wind! The water temp was in the mid-70’s and just right for a lot of intentional wipeouts and cannon balls without feeling too cool. It’s also not hard to imagine the water temp is going to cool quickly with Fall looming and due to the close proximity of Mt. Hood which will hopefully start getting a snowpack before too long.
There’s not a lot of services we found (picnic tables, entry points, beaches of any kind) on the southwest section, so when it came time to eat some lunch Beverly converted her racing board into the kitchen counter and the picnic table. She’s smart, that one.
Getting there: From Portland, take Highway 26 east for approximately 60 miles. Turn right onto Oregon Skyline Rd and drive another 8 miles. The large body of water on the right is Timothy Lake =) There’s a large sign when exiting Highway 26 that is hard to miss.
Timothy Lake is a good, long day trip, or even better, a camping destination for a night or two. Its quiet ambience lent a sense of peace to the surroundings and there was plenty of wide open space to explore and play. Late Summer is our best bet for favorable water temperatures, otherwise be prepared for a chilly dip.