Badger Lake (Hood River)
Reachcode: 17070306002015 | Area: 45.5 acres | Shoreline: 1.2 mi | View on Interactive Map
(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985). Badger Lake lies in the extreme northwest corner of the Deschutes River Basin about eight miles southeast of Mt. Hood. It originated as a small glacial cirque lake situated in the upper end of the steep Badger Creek canyon, carved out during the period of intense Pleistocene glaciation. Approximately 30 years ago, the lake was artificially enlarged by the construction of two earthfill dams to provide additional water for downstream irrigation in drier lands outside the National Forest boundary. Consequently, there is a large draw-down during late summer when irrigation demands are high. Several small, intermittent streams flow from the small, rugged drainage basin into the lake. Outflow occurs through a flume into Badger Creek about 200 feet downstream from the dam, until minimum pool is reached (usually by the end of September) and no further releases are made. The amphitheater-shaped drainage basin is heavily forested with grand fir, mountain hemlock, silver fir, and Engelmann spruce. Douglas fir is dominant in some areas due to past fire occurrence.
Badger Lake can be reached by a rough 10 mile Forest Service road, but it is more appealing as a hike-in lake, reached either by Gumjuwac Trail from Oregon Highway 35 or from Bonney Crossing Campground on the Badger Creek Trail. It is considered to be a good rainbow trout lake and is stocked annually; fly-fishing is best during the fall when the fish are larger. A pleasant Forest Service campground is maintained at the lake. The Badger Creek Roadless Area is currently under consideration for wilderness classification. If it is so classified, road access will be eliminated entirely.
The lake is elongate in shape, with shallow areas at each end; however, the bottom slopes steeply along the northwest and southeast shoreline. There is no growth of submerged macrophytes. The concentrations of major ions in the water are about average for lakes in the Cascades. Total phosphorus and chlorophyl concentrations are low, and water transparency is good. The bottom of the lake consists primarily of gravel with some boulders. The lack of organic sediment and the water chemistry indicate that Badger Lake is distinctly oligotrophic. The coarse sediment prevents any significant resuspension of bottom material that might otherwise be expected in a lake with water level fluctuations due to artificial withdrawals.