Linton Lake (Lane)

Reachcode: 17090004021354 | Area: 81.0 acres | Shoreline: 2.6 mi | View on Interactive Map

(From Atlas of Oregon Lakes, Johnson et al. 1985)  Linton Lake is a small, deep natural lake lying just inside the Three Sisters Wilderness area on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains. It was created about 3000 years ago when lava, issuing from Collier and Four-in-One Craters to the east, flowed down the canyon of the White Branch River. As the lava solidified it dammed the tributaries, Linton Creek and Obsidian Creek, impounding their flow. The resulting lake occupies the upper end of a canyon, which was quite likely formed by the headward erosion of the two creeks. On three sides the lake basin has very steep slopes and the lake is quite deep, over 90 feet along the southern edge. In contrast, along the west shore there is an extensive shoal area bordering the fresh-looking lava dam. There is no visible surface outflow from Linton Lake; seepage through the lava dam accounts for discharge and there is considerable seasonal fluctuation in water level. Inflowing Linton Creek provides a dramatic auditory and visual display as it tumbles down the steep ridge from the meadows above.

The pristine character and easy accessibility of Linton Lake have made it a popular destination for day-hikers during the short summer season. However, because of the steep forested shoreline, camping opportunities at the lake are very limited. It is reportedly the only High Cascade lake with a native population of brown trout; rainbow trout are stocked regularly by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The water in the lake has very low concentrations of major ions and the alkalinity is low. Chlorophyl concentration and water transparency (Secchi disk depth = 45.3 feet; 13.8 meters) indicate that the lake is distinctly oligotrophic. It should be noted that the phosphorus concentration observed on 7/22/82 is quite high, but is not inconsistent with that of other lakes located in volcanic terrain.