Kayak Anywhere - Amazing Locations to Take your Packraft
If you don’t know what a packraft is, I highly recommend you check out the ones made by Kokopelli. In short, they are inflatable kayaks that fold up into the size of a sleeping bag and weigh less than 10 lbs.
It is easy to see how something like this could come into use, especially if you are like me and enjoy exploring lakes and rivers that aren't incredibly easy to access. With a packraft, you can hike into remote areas to explore where you don’t see another person the whole time or you can take them out for a quick paddle with friends at one of your favorite areas that may be easier to get to. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite places to take the packraft to, some accessible to anyone and others only to the more adventurous.
Elk Lake, Oregon
Elk Lake is the perfect place to paddle around with the family. This lake is right off of a major road with many access spots and even has a lodge you can eat and have a drink at. You can even make a weekend of it and rent a cabin so you could kayak around at sunset before heading in for dinner.
Diamond Lake, Oregon
Diamond Lake is often overshadowed by the nearby Crater Lake, but this is a place you won’t want to miss. With many drive-up campgrounds and views of Mt Thielsen and Diamond Peak, this lake is well worth the stop if you’re looking to get out on some water in the area. Locals tip - hit up Thielsen View Campground for some of the best views.
Lemolo Lake, Oregon
This aquatic beauty is tucked away near Oregon's North Umpqua river. If you're looking for some peace and quiet along with mountain views, this is the place. There are campgrounds, cabins and a small cafe, but this lake never feels over-crowded. It's the perfect place to get a sunrise paddle in before exploring the abundance of incredible waterfalls nearby.
Scott Lake, Oregon
One of Oregon's many gems, this lake offers easy access and mountain views in the warmer months. The road to get there closes in the winter, so it's the perfect place to take advantage of when accessible. There is a campground nearby and an endless amount of hikes to check out. I'd recommend visiting in late summer to avoid the armies of mosquitos that take over this area in the spring.
No Name Lake, Oregon
In my opinion, this is one of those 'save the best for last' situations. No Name Lake is one of my favorite places in all of Central Oregon. It's enough of a hike to deter crowds and gives you the prime alpine lake experience. Only a 2.5 mile hike from the trailhead (which you'll want a high-clearance vehicle to get to), No Name Lake is a great intro to hiking with your packraft. The hike never feels too steep and the raft is light enough to allow extra weight for an overnight trip, if that's what you're looking for. To see this lake from the shore is awe-inspiring in itself, but to see this area from the water gives you a perspective few others have been lucky enough to see.
For more info about packrafting and how you can get your own boat, check out the amazing crew at Kokopelli Packraft.