Oregon's Self-Draining Lake is an Underrated Attraction
Image via Twitter
Oregon's Lost Lake in Mt. Hood National Forest outside of Portland is a popular getaway spot for campers and lovers of the Great Outdoors.
The nearby Lost Lake Resort & Campground offers lodging for seasonal visitors as well as numerous lake-based activities, including boating and fishing.
But Lost Lake is making national headlines this spring thanks to a natural draining system that scientists haven't completely figured out. The unique drains are the result of open lava tubes, but experts aren't exactly sure where the water is going after it funnels down into the earth.
Nonetheless, this phenonemon, which occurs each spring, offers a tremendous sightseeing opportunity for travelers.
"It fills up in the winter, when input exceeds the rate of draining, and then it goes dry and it’s a meadow," said Willamette National Forest spokeswoman Jude McHugh via Scott Hammers of the Bulletin.
"Lava tubes are formed when flowing lava hardens near the surface but continues to flow downhill closer to the still-hot interior," writes Hammers. "If the interior lava flows out before hardening, it leaves behind a tunnel-like structure — a lava tube — that can be open to the surface immediately following an eruption or be opened to the sky through erosion."
The below video shows the lake's water draining into one of many nearby lava tubes:
Here's another hole found along Santiam Pass:
As a result of the unique draining system, Lost Lake traditionally experiences its lowest water levels by the end of the summer.
While visitors are highly discouraged from attempting to clog the tube, there's nothing preventing campers and resort goers from getting an up-close look.
"If anyone was ever successful at plugging it — which we're not sure they could do — it would just result in the lake flooding, and the road; it's an important part of how the road was designed," said McHugh.
In addition to several trails that extend around Lost Lake, non-motorized boating is authorized, including paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, and row boats.
More by Patrick Clarke
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship
Airlines & Airports