The Malheur National Forest covers a vast amount of land in the Blue Mountains of Oregon and there are a wide variety of points of interest to explore. Many visitors discover this National Forest when seeking a campground while on a birding venture in the neighboring Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and others find the deep woods campgrounds convenient for touring the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, which lies further west in this big section of woods. There are several John Day theme city parks, museums and exhibit areas in the neighboring communities near the fossil beds, while the John Day River is a prime attraction too. Setting up a basecamp in the Malheur National Forest for a world of John Day adventures is a good way to go and the Magone Lake Recreation Area will definitely fit in with this kind of vacation plan.
The Malheur National Forest Magone Lake Recreation Area actually is a prime time summer season destination of its own, yet is is close enough to the John Day Fossil Beds to be considered for a basecamp option. The pine woods are thick in this region, so there is plenty of shade to go around, which will be like a sigh of relief after spending a hot sunny day in the barren fossil beds. Magone Lake is also safe for swimming, which is like the icing on the cake! Fishing for a fresh caught campfire dinner is part of the program too and the thick forested campground is perfect for slinging a hammock on a lazy afternoon.
Camping and fishing is what most people do at the Magone Lake Recreation Area. There are several interesting hiking trails to explore, while mountain biking has become popular in this area in recent years. There are plenty of unique geological features along the trails, which include many puzzling sinkholes that are a marvel to see. Drinking water, basic facilities and a boat launch can be found in the campground, along with a large group area that is complete with a picnic shelter. Dispersed camping in the National Forest is also an option and the pack it out rules apply. Large wild animals frequent this area, so it pays to be aware of the surroundings and bear safe food storage definitely is required, because this is wild berry picking country and where there are berries, there are hungry bears.
Magone Lake certainly is a gem in the deep woods and how this lake was formed is an interesting story. The local rangers will have all the answers for fact finding missions and they are a good resource for lesser known points of interest. When Planning a trip to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the Magone Lake Recreation Area is good to keep in mind. Magone Lake can be busy during the peak summer season and it is a favorite weekend destination for the locals, but on weekdays there are usually a few empty campsites to be found. Taking a swim in the lake after experiencing the hot dry fossil beds is like a dream come true, so be sure to keep this little gem of a campground in mind when planning the trip!
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