But, if your love of swimming tends towards the more natural, chlorine-free type, Central Oregon offers a wide variety of river and lake-based swims.
Bend's newest swim spot
Northwest Crossing's Discovery Park has opened for the summer offering a 3-acre "swimming hole" complete with a small beach and large grassy areas for lounging in the sun. Restrooms and a covered picnic area complete the growing-in-popularity summer spot.
But, be advised that the irrigation pond was not created for swimming, and Bend Park and Recreation District recently released the following notice: “People recreating in the lake should do so knowing that the lake was built for irrigation and the water is not potable (drinkable). If people choose to recreate in it, to do so will be at their own risk.”
(To be fair, unless you're in a pool with a lifeguard, you're always swimming at your own risk.)
The Deschutes Multisport Club has adopted the park as its local, near-to-Bend, open water training facility, showing up twice weekly to swim the approximately .17 mile long pond.
The Deschutes River
The river can certainly be floated, starting in town as far up river as Farewell Bend Park and ending downtown at the pullout in Drake Park. But, the river is also a swimming haven, with the ever-present caution about the strength of the current. With the construction at McKay Park taking that location off the list this summer, river swimmers, in addition to heading to the somewhat kid-friendly Farewell Bend, head to First Street Rapids for its collection of small soaking spots amidst the rocks.
The Local's Choice
"I love, love, love Scout Lake," offered Charity Creech. "All the logs to jump off of and the semi-sandy beach to play on makes this lake perfect for my boys."
Approximately 13 miles west of Sisters on Highway 20, Scout Lake is located near the larger Suttle Lake and offers a picnic area and campground on its shores. Visitors are forewarned that Scout Lake is one of the few in the Deschutes National Forest that does not allow dogs, citing concern for sanitation and heavy use of the lake, which has no natural outlet.
Sally Pressler's choice is to drive, or bike, to Elk Lake, swimming from either the shores of the resort or at Sunset Beach on the Elk Lake Loop Road. A lack of motorized boat traffic makes this a safe place to swim, even for distance swimmers who might opt to swim across the lake.
"Elk Lake all the way, baby!" exclaimed Pressler enthusiastically. "The clear glacier water and view of South Sister makes this our favorite."