RV Sites
Tent Sites
Fires Allowed
Pets Unknown
Drinking Water
About Detroit Lake

In the summer months, this 3,500-acre, 9-mile long lake in the Cascades below Mt. Jefferson is a popular recreation area for fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, camping, and picnicking. The U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation and operate numerous boat ramps, campgrounds and day-use areas around the lake. Two privately owned marinas are located near the town of Detroit.

Both Detroit and Big Cliff lakes are located 43 miles southeast of Salem on the North Fork of the Santiam River. They are operated by the Corps of Engineers as part of a system of thirteen multi-purpose dams and reservoirs that make up the Willamette Valley Project. These dams and reservoirs work together for the purposes of flood damage reduction, hydropower generation, irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife enhancement, and downstream water quality improvement within the Willamette River drainage system.. To learn more about the lake and construction of the dam visit the Army Corps of Engineers website at

In late summer, early fall through spring, the water levels on Detroit and Big Cliff lakes are frequently drawn down to the point where boat launches are no longer available. Reservoir and river level information is available from the US Army Corps of Engineers here. Watch for obstructions near the shoreline such as submerged stumps, logs and rocks. Small craft should stay out of open waters when it is windy since dangerous waves can build up suddenly.

Fish Your National Forests: This site can be accessed by Passenger Car; Fish available include: Trout, Native Trout; Types of fishing available include: Shore, Motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, Bait; ADA Accessible fishing access with fishing pier, boat launch, and fish cleaning station

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Drive In
Boat In
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Phone Service
Picnic Table
Sanitary Dump
Trash Available
Detroit Lake is located in Oregon
44.7104 N
-122.2204 W
Get Directions
Detroit Lake is located 50 miles East of Salem, Oregon. To reach the lake, take Hwy 22 East exit from I-5 at Salem. The town of Detroit is located on the East end of the lake.
20 Reviews of Detroit Lake
Fun but noisy

It was fun but definitely a party atmosphere. We were looking for something quieter. Very pretty Lake and area.

Beautiful but busy

Doesn’t get better than Detroit Lake! Campground is in a beautiful spot with easy access to the lake for boating, fishing, swimming, etc. Only complaint is that this campground gets very busy and fills up fast!

Beautiful but busy

Doesn’t get better than Detroit Lake! Campground is in a beautiful spot with easy access to the lake for boating, fishing, swimming, etc. Only complaint is that this campground gets very busy and fills up fast!

Secluded areas

No reservations first come first serve. There's a beautiful lake a close store/ gas station.

It was very smokey from fires, when I went

Im sure it is a very lovely campground. Unfortunately I didn't explore much due to massive amounts of smoke from surrounding fires. We went in August of 2017. There is tons of wildlife, we camped where the river meets the mouth of the lake. There was blackberry picking everywhere. The bathrooms were clean and the campsites provided plenty of room.

Great for a weekend getaway!

I've been coming to Detroit Lake every Labor Day weekend my whole life and enjoy it every time. On a holiday weekend it can become busy and between the wind picking up in the afternoon and all the boats, the lake can turn into a choppy ocean. But it's still a beautiful area with a great mix of nature and amnenities. Close to Salem and Portland too. It's actually quite peaceful on a non holiday. Especially if you manage a waterfront site. There are a lot of spots that back up to the highway and you can definitely hear cars, but still enjoyable. Many of the spots aren't huge, so keep that in mind if you have multiple tents, etc. It is a State Campground, so at times it can feel like there are a lot of rules, but take it with a grain of salt and you'll have an enjoyable experience.

Active fun family camping

Plenty of shade on hot days, playgrounds for the kids. Boating access, swimming, biking trails. Nice clean park.

Family camping in our Trailer

We have a 30 ft camper and reserved a campsite 6 months in advance. There was not a picture of our site on the website (C10) but we were pleasantly surprised. Parking the trailer was a little tight but doable. We had plenty of room for our chairs, dog, and camp equipment. The lake was a short walk from our campsite. Bring water toys!

The bathrooms/showers just behind us. Plenty of shade and surprisingly peaceful for it being such a big campground.

Cove Creek campground

The campsites are tiny. We barely fit 2 tents in the site. The pics provided were really just of the driveways so it was hard to see the site. Swimming in the lake is only allowed in a small area and the campground host was lurking around the dock all day. Bathrooms are flush toilets and fairly clean.

Detroit Lake in September

We Visited in September, Beautiful place, there is a hike up to Red Lake, which is well worth the time we spent lost trying to find the trailhead. We got to the lake at dusk, and had it all to ourselves.