If you want to beat the heat of summer in Grant County, Magone Lake is just 26 miles north of John Day and is an attractive respite for young and old.
To get there, follow Highway 26 from John Day to County Road 18. Take that left and turn on to Forest Service Road 36; travel 11 miles and turn left at the sign. The lake is about one mile farther. This route is now fully paved.
Magone Lake can also be reached from the west by taking U.S. 395 north from Mt. Vernon, turning right on Forest Service Road 32.
The scenic 35-acre lake, sitting at over 5,000 feet in elevation, is stocked in early spring with rainbow trout.
The facilities include three tent only sites, a 20 tent/trailer site, and a large picnic area with group picnicking. All the facilities are handicap-accessible. It also has a reservation-only area that is great for family or friend get-togethers.
A haven for small boats, rafts, pontoons, canoes, the lake has a boat ramp that was built in 2011. Drinking water is available and there are also several picnic areas near the beach.
The beach itself is very kid-friendly but keep pets on a leash. Swimmers can frolic in the gradually sloping shallows or swim out to a log jutting out of the middle of the lake.
Magone Lake is thought to be the result of a landslide in the 1800s. It takes its name from the man who stocked the lake, hiking in with fish.
There are two trailheads near the campground, including a mountain bike trail and a hiking trail. If you take the trail around the lake, you could see beaver, ducks, wildflowers, and huckleberry bushes. South of the campground the trail leads to the Magone Slide, which geologists speculate created the lake by damming Lake Creek.
Magone Lake, just 26 miles from John Day, is a great place to pinic, hike, bike, fish, boat, or just pass the day surrounded by nature.