Doris Lake (Deschutes)

Reachcode: 17070301000865 | Area: 72.8 acres | Shoreline: 1.6 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985).  Doris Lake is a deep, beautifully blue lake in the Three Sisters area of the Central Oregon Cascades. It is a popular destination for backcountry enthusiasts in search of a pristine wilderness lake only a few miles from the highway. Doris Lake is also a popular stopover for hikers continuing to the Mink Lake Basin. Just south of Elk Lake on the Cascade Lakes Highway, the Six Lakes Trail heads west through a dense forest of lodgepole pine. Blow Lake is two miles from the trailhead; Doris Lake is about three miles in.

The drainage basin is very small and consists of steep, forested slopes on the north side. On the south side, the topography is more gentle. No perennial surface streams flow into or out of the lake, and it is presumed that surface seepage occurs in the volcanic terrain. Although there are no developed campgrounds, there are a number of beautiful, rustic sites. Eastern brook trout are stocked annually and fishing is reported to be quite good, both from shore and from small rafts on the open water.

The lake basin consists of a single, deep (90 feet) basin scoured out during the Pleistocene by glacial action. Relatively shallow (less than 10 feet) bays are present at both east and west ends of the lake. Water quality is excellent, being extremely low in chemical constituents; major ion concentrations, alkalinity, and conductivity are among the lowest of Oregon lakes. Phosphorus and chlorophyl concentrations are very low, and the water is exceptionally transparent. Doris Lake is a marvelous example of a pristine mountain lake; it is ultraoligotrophic, and biological productivity is very low.