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Detroit Lake
Location Linn / Marion counties, Oregon, USA
Coordinates 44°41.6′N 122°12.2′W / 44.6933°N 122.2033°W / 44.6933; -122.2033Coordinates: 44°41.6′N 122°12.2′W / 44.6933°N 122.2033°W / 44.6933; -122.2033
Lake type Reservoir
Primary inflows North Santiam and Breitenbush Rivers
Primary outflows North Santiam River
Basin countries United States
Max. length 9 mi (14.4 km)
Max. width 1 mi (1.6 km)
Surface area 3,500 acres (1,400 ha)
Average depth 121 ft (37 m)
Max. depth 440 ft (130 m)
Water volume 455,000 acre·ft (0.561 km3) full, 347 million m³ in summer.
Shore length1 32 mi (51.4 km)
Surface elevation 1,565 ft (477 m)
Islands Piety Knob
Settlements Detroit, Oregon
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Detroit Lake is a reservoir impounded by the Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River 46 miles (74 km) southeast of Salem, Oregon, United States.[1][2] The lake is adjacent to Oregon Route 22 near the city of Detroit. This mesotrophic lake stores water for use by the city of Salem and other nearby communities.



Detroit Lake is situated over a historical road bed of the former Oregon Pacific Railroad. This route was built by Colonel T. Egenton Hogg as a proposed transcontinental railroad. Because of a lack of funding, the line terminated in Idanha, southeast of the lake. Idanha had rail service until the 1950s, when the track was removed for installation of the Detroit and Big Cliff reservoirs.[3] Detroit Lake was created in 1953 after the completion of the dam.[1] Part of the Willamette Valley Projects, the lake was intended primarily for flood control and power generation but has become one of the major recreation resources in western Oregon.


Detroit Dam, impounding Detroit Lake

The reservoir has a capacity of 455,000 acre-feet (560 million m³) of water when full and 281,600 acre-feet (347 million m³) in the summer when drawn down.[1] Located in the North Santiam Canyon, the 9-mile (14 km) long lake has shoreline of 32 miles (51 km) when full.[2] One swimming opportunity is at the Mongold Day-Use Area (an Oregon State Park).[4] Detroit Lake is stocked by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with 125,000 catchable rainbow trout along with fingerling rainbow, kokanee and chinook salmon.[5] A self-sustaining population of brown bullhead catfish resides in the lake.

Detroit Lake offers year round fishing as long as you fish in still water. (not in or near the rivers and streams)

Detroit Lake is one of 32 lakes federally designated for recreation, managed by the United States Forest Service.[1] The lake serves many purposes including flood control, water conservation, and recreation. At low pool, it has a surface elevation of 1,450 feet (440 m); at the full pool season—typically May 1 to September 1—it can raise up to 119 feet (36 m) to a water elevation of 1,569 feet (478 m).

There are many camping and recreation opportunities at Detroit Lake. In 2009, a new winter boat ramp was constructed at Mongold State Park. This ramp will make it possible to launch a boat safely during the winter months when the other ramps in the lake are on dry ground.


See also


  1. ^ a b c d Tom Kline; Karen Bahus (1999). "Willamette Basin Reservoirs". The Willamette Basin Reservoir Study. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  2. ^ a b "Detroit and Big Cliff Dams and Reservoirs". Willamette Valley Projects. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  3. ^ Oregon Pacific Railroad
  4. ^ "Detroit Lake State Recreation Area". Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: State Parks. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Detroit Lake". Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Detroit Lake State Recreation Area article)

From Wikitravel

Detroit Lake State Recreation Area is a state park in the Cascade Mountains region of Oregon.



The 400-foot-deep lake was created in 1953 when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers completed the Detroit Dam project. The dam blocks the current of the Santiam River, thus keeping the downstream rivers accessible to fishermen and tourists. The lake is over nine miles long with more than 32 miles of shore line. The lake is drained at the beginning of each winter in expectancy of rainfall. During this time, the lake looks more like a unmoving river. In the spring, valves are closed in the dam in order to increase the lake depth in time for the busy summer months.


Detroit Lake is surrounded by rolling hills covered with enormous douglas firs. On a map, Detroit lake resides within the outskirts of the Willamette State Forest. Mountains can be seen in the distance, rising above the hills. Sometimes in the aerlay spring, snow still clings to the distant mountains, making the scenic views picturesque. There isn't a major city within 50 miles in any direction, allowing Detroit's night sky to be free of light-pollution and unattractive vapors.

Get in

If you live North of Salem: Drive South via I-5. Take exit 253 toward Stayton/Detroit Lake (also known as OR-22). Take a left after the off-ramp onto Highway 22. Continue for about 50 miles. You will pass the Detroit Dam on your right. The park is on your right and is easy to miss if driving too fast.

If you live south of Salem, take I-5 North until exit 253, then take a right onto 22 after you've taken the off-ramp. The rest of the directions apply.



There is a long floating dock that has 82 boat slips built into it. It cost $7.oo for each boat to be attched. The boat ramp is free to use after paying the $3 day use fee. This fee must be paid before entering the park, unless you are camping overnight.


There are two swimming areas designated by the large perimeter of orange floats. These floats are tethered together and are kept in formation by chains leading to the bottom of the lake. There is a swimming area on each side of the park. These swimming areas do not have lifeguards, so stay safe at all times.

Play Areas

There are two playgrounds available to everyone. They include slides and swing sets. There is also a basketball court next to each playground.


The town of Detroit is only a few miles up the road from the recreation area. There are several small restaurants along Detroit Avenue.

  • Korner Post, Detroit Avenue. Has a rustic feel-good atmosphere. It is a family-owned and ran business that serves burgers, pies and more. If compared to a large chain restaurant, it would be similar to a Shari's. The walls are covered in old pictures and paintings. There are rusted tools and antiques sitting on high shelves. The food is exquisite and the service is friendly.
  • KC's, 155 Detroit Ave. Owned and operated by two women. They serve espresso drinks, sandwiches and ice cream. KC's makes the best milkshakes around. The food is good and the atmosphere is fun.
  • marion foirks resteraunt. i lived in detroit for 4 years and this resteraunt is by far the best. It is locally and family owned. There is a deck that overlooks the river to eat on. the service is great. The only bad thing is its a short drive from detriot towards bend on highway 22  edit



If you are not a fan of sleeping in a tent or you do not have the luxury of owning a RV, there are several motels close by in the town of Detroit.

  • All Season's Motel, 130 Breitenbush Road.
  • Detroit Motel, 175 Detroit Ave.
  • Lakeside Motel, 110 Santiam Ave, 503-854-3376.


There are a number of small campgrounds and RV parks along the banks of the Detroit Lake, but the largest campground and recreational area is Detroit Lake State Park. The State Park offers 106 full hookup, 72 electrical, 133 tent sites for camping. Full hookup refers to having both electricity and a local freshwater well right next to your site. Full hookup and electric sites are designed for RVs and campers, thus they are larger sites than those reserved for just tents.

For Information only, call (503)854-3346 or (800) 551-6949. To make Reservations, call 1-800-452-5687.

October 1 to April 30 (Discovery Season) Full rate: $16 Electrical hookup: $16 Tent site: $12 Extra vehicle: $5 Boat moorage: $7 Daily day use: $3 Yearly day use: $25

May 1 to September 30 Full rate: $20 Electrical hookup: $20 Tent site: $16 Extra vehicle: $5 Boat moorage: $7 Daily day use: $3 Yearly day use: $25

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