Indigo Lake Overnight Backpacking Trip

bakcpacking and hiking to indigo lake for the beautiful blue water and sawtooth mountain

How is it that nobody has heard of Indigo Lake? I’ve talked with tons of people and the vast majority have not even heard of this place. I can’t understand why, so hopefully this info broadens your geographical mind and gives you a fresh idea for a day hike or an overnight trip.

Indigo Lake is about 85 miles from Eugene, OR but plan for the trip to take close to two hours. There is quite a bit of gravel driving towards the end and the road is really not the best of shape. No matter your starting location, head to Timpanogas Lake to start your hike. There is a clearly marked trailhead parking area, but the trails themselves are not clearly marked. The trail opposite of the small lake near the trailhead is for Indigo Lake, the trail that runs parallel to the small lake is to June Lake. It will be pretty apparent that you’re on the correct trail if you start seeing the letter “i” carved into some trees in the first tenth of a mile.

The 2-mile hike to Indigo Lake takes you up 600 feet in elevation, mostly within the first mile. You’ll be hiking through oldgrowth forest for the most part and then along some beautiful alpine meadows. It’s really a nice hike and a great trail!

Once you reach Indigo, you’re in for a treat. The water is deep vibrant blue and Sawtooth Mountain forms the South boundary of the lake. Absolutely incredible. There are five walk-in tent sites spread out around the lake, each with a fire-ring and a rustic picnic table. Some have benches made of logs and rustic seating as well! The tent sites are well spread out along the lake so you’ll feel alone even if other campers have the same idea as you.

We had the lake to ourselves and really enjoyed it! There were a few mountain bikers and hikers during the day but by late afternoon there was nobody there except us. Truly an incredible trip!

I do have two words of warning with this location though. First, the wind. We setup camp in the second to last tent site if you head right when you get to the lake. It was a great spot and nice conditions into the evening. Little did we know, that the wind comes off Sawtooth Mountain and across the lake at night and into the morning. We had some crazy winds overnight, and at that point there’s nothing you can do. The next morning the wind continued. We chose to have breakfast and hang out at the next tent site over which was much more sheltered and that proved to be a wise decision. If only we had chosen to make camp there in the first place. Oh well, next time. And lastly, I have read a bit about the mosquito population at this lake and the surrounding bodies of water. July to mid-August is going to get you some bites from the little buggers. We made our trip at the start of October and it was really pleasant.

Cheers all! Have fun exploring this incredible state we live in!

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