Just 45 minutes from Bend, sits this sweet little lake called Hosmer, on the back side of Mt. Bachelor with the stunning South Sister on the near horizon.
Put in your kayak/canoe or fishing craft at a launch amongst the lily pads. The two best destinations:
1. For Fishing: Mallard Marsh is a natural canal where schools of Atlantic salmon and plump brook trout can be found swimming in the clear coldwater.
2. For Kayaking: Quinn Creek to the waterfall.
My recent adventure found me on Hosmer Lake in a tandem kayak with Pippin, my Golden-on-the-Go. He wasn’t a helpful paddler, but made a striking bow ornament. We set out with a small group of adventurers toward Quinn Creek and its resplendent waterfall. We paddled past the lily pads across the southern portion of the lake and through Mallard Marsh, where we could clearly see schools of trout taunting nearby anglers.
When we left the reeds bordering the fishing we popped out into a shallow stretch of lake, ankle deep in some spots and a stunning light emerald color. This is where Pippin spontaneously leaped out of the kayak and bounded like a bunny through the water and silt to greet other adventurers. (Getting a dog out of a kayak is easy; getting the same mud-soaked pup back in the kayak … not so easy.)
Paddling past an island in the same shallow space, we came upon the entrance to Quinn Creek, where a brisk little current met us head on. It took a fair amount of grit and determination to get to our destination, negotiating the narrow channel, fallen logs and each other. Finally! We see the lovely little waterfall tumbling through patches of wildflowers, near a narrow footbridge. We pulled the kayaks to shore and let Pippin run wild while we set up our picnic. An hour and a half after we launched, we lunched: artichoke bruschetta on rustic Italian bread with fresh sliced tomatoes, plus mixed nuts, dried fruit, apples, cheese and iced tea. Just because you’re roughing it doesn’t mean you have to eat Spam sandwiches, right?
Fueled up for a little more adventure, we walked the short distance beyond the waterfall to the wooden bridge to look back on our picnic site and recall our journey. Soon, the current would sweep us back into the emerald pond and we’d make our way back to shore and terra firma once again.
How to Find It: From Bend the most scenic route is to take Century Drive (FS Road 46) to about mile post 35 and then turn left onto Road 4625 (Elk Lake/Hosmer Lake sign).
Launch Points: South Campground has a paved boat ramp. One other access primarily for float tubes and canoes is at the Mallard Marsh Campground off a trail between campsites 14 and 15.
Fishing Access: To fish the best fishing areas, you need a boat (electric motors only), float tube or canoe. No angling from motor-propelled craft while motor is operating. Bank access is not very possible due to the vegetation.
Resources: US Forest Service Website