RV Life / Cover Feature
The Most Beautiful Lake You’ve Never Seenby Dan Pimentel
RV owners who have traveled our nation’s back roads know that, especially in Oregon, around every turn can be a new surprise, a new adventure waiting to be enjoyed amongst a seemingly endless scenic backdrop. But along Oregon’s beautiful Coast Range, just outside of Reedsport, is one hidden recreational treasure that, once discovered, brings RVers back again and again.
The usual detour most lucky RVers take to discover Loon Lake is to travel east along the gorgeous Umpqua River on State Highway 38. But interstate travelers on the I-5 corridor can access Highway 38 and the Umpqua from the east as well. From the river, a side trip takes travelers through splendid groves of Douglas fir, western hemlock and red cedar trees before arriving at Loon Lake Lodge and RV Resort, located on the shores of a lake that has been compared to lakes in the Swiss Alps because of the dramatic peaks that surround it.
The natural beauty of Loon Lake was created about 1,400 years ago when a major landslide along Mill Creek sent a mountainside of debris and house-size boulders crashing into the narrow river canyon. The resulting dam allowed rainfall to collect, forming a two-mile-long, wind-protected lake. The site of the original landslide drops the creek’s flow over 120 feet in less than a quarter-mile, creating a spectacular cascade of waterfalls and pools.
Loon Lake Lodge and RV Resort was one of several destination RV resorts purchased three years ago by Guest First Resorts. With this new ownership came a renewed sense of pride for the property, with on-site managers Jeff and Robin Schweiterman overseeing a three-year renovation effort. “We’ve added many new RV sites right down by our beach,” Jeff explained. “The owners have invested heavily in the lodge and RV resort, and as a result, we hear people say they really enjoyed their stay here.” The Schweitermans also operate the on-site deli, marina, general store and gas station. In addition to campsites for RVs, the resort has room for tent camping and includes cabins and cottages.
Part of the attraction of Loon Lake – aside from the stunning scenery viewed from the resort’s one-mile of lake frontage – is the amount of recreational activities awaiting visitors. Because of its unique setting, the year-round lake has a mild, fog-free climate, and is popular with boaters of all types. On most days, you can find pontoon boats and sailboats co-existing on the uncrowded water with family ski boats and the occasional personal watercraft.
But one of the most popular types of boats on the trailers of many RVers arriving at Loon Lake is a fishing boat, mostly because the lake has a reputation as a top producer of largemouth bass, trout and many other varieties. The surrounding mountains create steep descents into deep water, providing plenty of depth for trout species to grow and flourish, while shallow flats near the RV campsites make a perfect hideout for bass.
There are plenty of things to do near Loon Lake Lodge, with hiking, picnicking, hunting, fishing, birding, sunbathing, swimming or just plain relaxing ranking high as popular activities for guests. But if you want to explore the Oregon Coast further on a day trip, a short drive toward the Pacific Ocean lets you visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area or Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. Some other attractions farther inland include wine tasting in the Umpqua Valley Wine Region, exploring historic covered bridges or visiting the Douglas County Historical Museum in Roseburg.
Back at the lake, you’ll find your neighbors are as thrilled about staying at Loon Lake as you are. Because of the serene location just slightly off the beaten path, it seems as if everyone camping there knows they’ve found a treasure that they wouldn’t mind keeping all to themselves.
The new excitement surrounding the lodge and RV campsites is starting to spread throughout the RV community. For campers who know their way up and down the Oregon Coast, Loon Lake Lodge is becoming almost a required stop. It appears that Lewis and Clark aren’t the only explorers who discovered some of the scenic treats that Oregon’s Coast Range has to offer.