The High Cascades in eastern Douglas County offer stunning beauty with mountains, forests, wildlife, waterfalls and some of the best high lakes fishing in the Northwest.

The biggest lake in Douglas County is about 80 miles east of Roseburg. Diamond Lake is known as the Gem of the Cascades and the 10,000 acre lake’s fishery is legendary.

The area draws visitors from all over the world. Because of the close proximity to Crater Lake National Park, many people from around the country and from many other countries will stay at Diamond Lake and make the short 20 mile trip to visit the national park.

“We, here at the lodge, have 41 cabins and 50 motel rooms,” said John Jonesburg, marketing and events coordinator for Diamond Lake. “And there are 100 summer homes on the west shore that are privately owned.”

The resort has motel rooms, cabins, studio units, campsites and an RV park where visitors can make their home base to see the whole area.

Hikers find miles of trails to explore around the lake and the nearby Mt. Thielsen trail is a popular hike to the top of the 9,182-foot peak east of the lake. If you go all the way to the top, it’s a stunning view, but the popular climb has some ability-testing stretches along the way.

“Going up the tree line is an uphill hike so it’s a little bit strenuous but it doesn’t take any technical abilities, but once you get above tree line, you need to know what you’re doing,” Jonesburg said. “When you get up there, it’s beautiful.”

Jonesburg said the wildlife abounds with squirrels, deer, bear, eagles, osprey, ducks, geese, all kinds of birds, otters that like to play in the lake, and even an occasional beaver.

People come to hike, ride bikes or horses along the many trails in the surrounding wilderness.

The resort rents kayaks, paddle boats and canoes and designates an area for safe swimming through the summer season.

In the winter, there are lots of snow activities with downhill skiing on Mt. Bailey, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling all the way to Crater Lake National Park. The park has an inner tube hill with a rope tow that operates when there is enough snow.

But Jonesburg said the lake is best known for its fishing.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plants trout fingerlings in the lake every year to help perpetuate the popular rainbow trout fishery and in past years they’ve added other species.

Jonesburg said the ODFW planted 17,000 brown trout and 15,000 tiger trout. The browns and the tigers are catch and release only, but Jonesburg said the lake has plenty of fish to catch.

“For the outdoors there is no better place to be,” Jonesburg said.

With many activities going on in the Diamond Lake, Cater Lake and Lemolo Lake areas all year, there is never a shortage of things to do.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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