Swimming, hiking, fishing and mountain biking — Magone Lake offers an abundance of recreational opportunities on the Malheur National Forest.

Surrounded by spruce and pine, geologists believe the 50-acre mountain lake was created by a landslide in the 1800s. Some of the trees submerged remain standing, and visitors can jump into the water from a stump sticking out in the middle of the lake.

The lake is surrounded by a mile-long trail that meanders past a sandy beach in the day-use area, a campground and a boat ramp. No wake is allowed, but motors under 10 horsepower are permitted.

Stocked annually, the lake contains eastern brook and rainbow trout. Major Joseph Magone is said to have carried the first trout to the lake by bucket from the John Day Valley on foot.

The campground offers 21 single sites and one double site, first-come, first-served. Three of the sites are tent only, and seven are ADA-accessible. RV camping is allowed, but there are no hookups. A 75-person group site and covered picnic shelter can each be reserved at recreation.gov.

The site features drinking water and vault toilets, but no garbage service is provided.

The trailhead for Magone Slide Trail takes off from near the campground. The 1.5-mile trek ascends about 300 feet through ponderosa pine stands that have been growing since the landslide created the lake.

Mountain biking trails are also available. Over the next several years, work is expected to be completed on an 18-mile bike trail project.

To reach the site from John Day, follow Highway 26 east about 13 miles to County Road 18/Keeney Forks Road. Travel about 12 miles on County Road 18, then turn left onto Forest Service Road 3620 (there will be a sign pointing left to Magone Lake). Travel 2 miles on Forest Road 3620 to the junction with Forest Road 3618. Follow 3618 for approximately 1 mile to the day-use area.


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