When touring the northwestern states, it does not take much time to figure out that the best places to go are not necessarily in the limelight. The National Parks certainly do offer majestic views, but the overcrowding problems during the short summer season can cause a visitor to have a stress filled experience. Venturing to a peaceful setting where relaxation and rejuvenation can be attained is the actual goal of most people that venture into the great outdoors. In the northwest it is far easier to achieve this goal by venturing into the National Forests, Recreation Areas and State Parks, simply because these destinations tend to be far less crowded.
Oregon has an extensive state park system that offers a wide variety of outdoor adventures. This state also boasts a few unique environments other than the thick lush forests that this state is well known for. The northernmost portion of the Great Basin Desert is located on the Oregon side of the line and this high desert environment is as peaceful as can be. Much of the south central Oregon desert region is managed as a wilderness preserve, but there are also a few state parks to be found.
The Unity Lake State Recreation Site is located in the high desert region of central Oregon. For those who are unfamiliar with this area the landscape will likely seem out of place, but the influence of the Great Basin Desert does extend this far north. The coastal mountain ranges also add to the arid effect, because they block the low level rain drenched clouds from making it this far east. Overall, Unity Lake looks like it belongs somewhere else, which adds credence to why many people just cannot picture this park existing in green lush State Of Oregon!
Just like with many other state recreation areas, Unity Lake began as a Bureau Of Reclamation irrigation reservoir project. A dam was built on the Burnt River and the reservoir filled the lowland for miles around. Unity Lake is a fair size desert lake and this State Recreation Area is next to a paved highway, so it is easy to access even with a large RV.
Upon first glance, the Unity Lake State Recreation Site looks like a lush green waterside city park that is way out in the middle of nowhere. The desert does have a way of making a green grass setting seem off kilter, but the lushness of this oasis is the main attraction. There actually are shade trees to laze under and green grass areas to play hacky sack on. This park offers campsites with electric and water, so it is RV friendly. There are also a couple of rental cabins, shower facilities and plenty of tent campsites to be found. Best of all, the boat launch is located in this park, so it is easy to wake up for an early morning fishing venture to put some food on the table!
The Unity Lake State Recreation Area is open year round as a day use area and the campground is only open seasonally from April through October. While the majority of mainstream tourists are willing to stand in long lines at the National Parks, those who really want to make the great escape happen will seek the lesser known stress free destinations and this is where Unity Lake fits into the picture!
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