Lost Creek Lake

There is no better way to end summer than with a lake adventure. The only problem? Everyone else thinks so, too.

We've all had the experience of cramming the whole family into a car only to scramble to find a spot on hot, muddy ground, fight over the last hotdog at an overpriced concession stand, and be too grossed out by the low water levels to swim.

Wouldn't it be better if there was a lake that was, according to Sydney Zeve, a 14-year-old tourist from Orange County, Calif., "10 million times better than any lake we have in California?"

Wouldn't it be better if that lake were expansive, beautiful and rimmed by fir-crested mountains?

And wouldn't it be better if that lake wasn't overpopulated with people?

Dreams can become a reality at one of the most spellbinding lakes in Southern Oregon, Lost Creek Lake.

As locals know, Lost Creek is a 5-square-mile reservoir on the Rogue River just north of Shady Cove. It's home to Joseph Stewart State Park and numerous other public picnic areas, campgrounds, boat ramps and a trail system along 30 miles of shoreline. A visitor center at McGregor Park, which is designed for those with disabilities, features exhibits about the lake and region, and views of the Cole M. Rivers Fish Hatchery and Lost Creek dam are also available.

Lost Creek has something for everyone — fishermen, bikers, hikers, campers, swimmers, boaters, water skiers, even those who just want to sit and enjoy the view.

A 5-mile hiking trail starts at the marina, winds beside the lake and through the state park before traversing back to the lake.

Families can rent boats for the day at the marina, which is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March through October. The marina offers fishing boats, water-skiing boats, pontoon boats, paddleboards, jet skis and a single houseboat, among other equipment. The marina can be reached at 541-560-3646.

For information about camping, visit www.reserveamerica.com.

Amelia Covert Zeve is an Ashland High School student and freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach her at ameliacovertzeve@gmail.com.

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