Discover the Hidden Gem: Triangle Lake Slide Rock, Oregon
It’s a hot summer day. Humid air, insects, and the beating rays of the sun all combine for a rather miserable experience. You barely want to move, let alone go for a hike. There’s only one thing that can cool you down while still getting you out and into nature: water!
Luckily, nature is full of water. We’re not just talking about a drinking fountain or a local creek, though. No, we’re all about destinations to visit and cool things to see, whether it’s local to us on the west coast or as far afield as Iceland or central Europe. We’re not going to just send you to the nearest water park and call it a day. There has to be something more, something natural, something beautiful.
That’s where the slide rock at Triangle Lake comes in. Fancy joining us on a trip to scenic Oregon? Read on to find out how.
What is Triangle Lake Slide Rock in Oregon?
Triangle Lake Slide Rock, in Oregon, is a large, flat rock with a slight tilt to it. It sits in the bed of a creek that feeds into, you guessed it, Triangle Lake.
What makes it so special? Well, it’s a waterslide. Not just any waterslide, though; a natural waterslide, a large, flat surface with water cascading down it endlessly, with no plastic, no pumps, and no man-made intervention in sight. It’s not a natural wonder, but it’s naturally wonderful.
Where in Oregon is Triangle Lake Slide Rock?
Triangle Lake Slide Rock is in Lake Creek Falls, just a short hop south of Triangle Lake (the lake), which is itself just a mile southwest of Triangle Lake (the town).
Okay, Where is Triangle Lake?
Triangle Lake, the lake, is located about 35 miles west along Highway 36 out of Eugene, Oregon. It’s a beautiful, scenic drive through hills, valleys, woods, and a handful of small towns. Once you leave the density of Eugene and exit the surrounding farm fields, you pass by Fern Ridge Lake and head into the woods. Along the way, you pass through locations like Low Pass, Blachly Mountain Forest, and the towns of Blachly and Triangle Lake.
Eventually, the highway hits Triangle Lake itself, but you aren’t quite there yet. You need to swing around the western tip of the lake, past Triangle Lake (the town), and down into one of the several feeder creeks that keep Triangle Lake full of water: Lake Creek. You’re looking for Lake Creek Park, marked only by a tiny parking lot off the edge of the highway and a staircase leading down to the creek.
You can find the exact location here on Google Maps.
What Can You Do at Triangle Lake Slide Rock?
Alright, let’s be honest here for a moment: Triangle Lake is a small town in rural Oregon. Lake Creek Park is a tiny park, and the whole point of the place is that there’s a slanted, smooth rock into a short fall into a natural watering hole.
If you’re coming here, you’re doing it with one reason in mind: to spend some time sliding, swimming, and enjoying the water.
Since the water passing over the rock is pretty shallow, it warms up quickly in the summer sun. The watering hole, then, is also fairly warm; it’s not a hot spring, but it’s warmer than you might expect a creek in the woods to be.
You can slide down the rock in a swimsuit or on a tube. There are cliffs you can jump off, roughly 25 and 35 feet, into the swimming hole (be safe if you do this!), and of course, the swimming hole itself is a wonderful place to hang out and chill for a few hours. There’s also some pleasant hiking and exploration in the surrounding area, which is all largely untouched forest aside from the highway running through it.
If you’re up for a little walking, heading upstream takes you to the Lake Creek Falls, a 25-foot waterfall that may not be as impressive as some of its cousins around the world but is nonetheless a cool sight to see. If you know us, you know we’re suckers for waterfalls, so that’s always something we recommend.
Generally, you have two options as a visitor to Triangle Lake.
- You can base yourself in Eugene and explore the surrounding area for a few days, hitting the various natural attractions and man-made tourist hotspots for as short or as long a trip as you desire.
- You can spend a day at Triangle Lake’s Slide Rock, enjoying the water, sun, and fun, before heading back to your daily life.
For obvious reasons, this is a fun place to visit for residents of Eugene, but it’s not exactly a major tourist attraction. It’s relatively small, and there’s not a lot to do once you’ve done some sliding, some swimming, and some floating.
The nearby small town of Triangle Lake offers a few other amenities, including a general store where you can stock up on snacks for your trip, but it’s not exactly a bumping hotspot. Eugene is where the people gather, and it’s likely going to be where you start out.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Triangle Lake Slide Rock?
Summer, for sure. While plenty of Oregon is great to visit all year round, a water-focused location like this is only really fun in the summer when the water is warm and swimmable.
Due to the shade in the area, it’s recommended that you visit sometime between noon and 4 pm, but you can definitely get there early and spend the whole day on the water if you like.
What Do You Need to Make the Most of a Day at Triangle Lake Slide Rock?
It’s a natural water hole, so bring what you would need for a day on the water. You’re not going to be kayaking down this creek, but inner tubes are welcome. Swimsuits, goggles, and other watery accouterments are essential. Don’t forget your bug spray and sunscreen, either!
If you plan to go hiking in the surrounding area, you should bring good shoes that won’t slip on wet rocks. You can also bring camping gear if you want to find a place to set up, but more on that later.
Other than that, it just comes down to snacks, toiletries, and whatever you need to keep your energy up while you enjoy the day. It’s a simple park, but it’s a fun time, and it’s plenty effective if you want to get away from the bustle of daily life and spend a day on the water in an out-of-the-way location that won’t be crowded with boaters and fishers.
How Safe is the Triangle Lake Slide Rock?
The Slide Rock is moderately safe, but you should always exercise caution and pay attention to your surroundings.
Slide Rock is a natural formation. There’s no control over the water, the creatures in and around it, or the conditions of the park. If you’re in the peak of the dry season, you might find it challenging to slide down the rocks. The water temperature varies, and it may be too cold for a pleasant time, depending on when you visit.
Most importantly, though, there’s not much here beyond your fellow visitors. There’s no lifeguard, no real amenities besides a tiny parking lot and a largely neglected restroom, and very little in the way of safeguards in the area. The surrounding rocks can be slippery, and, of course, natural water holes aren’t designed with safety in mind. Always practice safe swimming and keep an eye on anyone you’re visiting with to make sure they’re safe as well.
There are also relatively few regulations in the area. The only real rules you need to worry about are these:
- No Alcohol. A local ordinance enforces an alcohol ban on the recreation area, both for your safety and to maintain a pleasant space for everyone who wants to visit. People are frequently issued citations for violating this rule, which starts at $200.
- No Street Parking. The road that passes by the falls recreation area, where the Slide Rocks are located, is a state highway. That means there’s no street parking, and you can be issued a ticket for parking there. This can be a hassle because the designated parking lot is quite small, so you may need to go a little further down the road and park to hike in or park in Triangle Lake and hike out.
Other than that, it’s all about safety and making the best of your day on the water. Be respectful of other visitors if anyone is there with you, and as always, practice Leave No Trace to the best of your ability so the slide rock and the watering hole are still there for years to come.
Can You Camp in Triangle Lake?
Actually, yes! Well, sort of.
The actual recreation zone, where the slide rock is, doesn’t have locations for camping. However, there are a few campgrounds in the wider area where you can pitch a tent and spend the night stargazing, listening to the wildlife, and hoping the bears don’t come too close.
Just a short skip north of the slide rocks is the paired set of campgrounds, Triangle Lake Campground and Eagle Cove Camp. There are also various state park zones and other recreation areas where you may be able to find a place to set up if you apply for the right permits and talk to the right people.
What Else Can You Do in the Area?
Oregon is a beautiful state. Huge swaths of it are still dedicated to untouched Pacific Northwest nature, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers and adventurers like ourselves.
There’s a ton to do, even if you’re sticking to the area around Triangle Lake.
- Triangle Lake itself. The small town and the lake are cool places to visit, and while you aren’t likely to be spending days there or enjoying any kind of robust nightlife, you can still spend some time out on the lake.
- Fern Ridge Lake. Much larger than Triangle Lake, Fern Ridge Lake is on the way between Triangle Lake and Eugene, and there’s a lot more to do around its shores. Several parks, campgrounds, and trails are available for exploration, and the town of Veneta works as a great base of operations.
- Oregon County Fair. Located right next to Veneta, the Oregon County Fairgrounds light up with events once a year, with a veritable rainbow of attractions. Unfortunately, as of this writing, we’ve just missed it; it takes place in mid-July, so plan ahead if you want to visit.
- Eugene. The city of Eugene, Oregon, gets a bit of a bad rap next to the much more vibrant Portland, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to it. For art lovers, there’s a Mural Tour throughout the city, and the Hult Center for the Performing Arts always has something going on. The Eugene Science Center can be a fun visit, especially if you’re bringing kids along. There’s also the Museum of Natural and Cultural History. For outdoor adventures, there are tons of trails, camps, and cool scenes to see, including seven waterfalls and, of course, the McKenzie River. You can check out all of the local attractions here.
- To the west, if you don’t mind a drive, Eugene isn’t really all that far from the coast and all that entails. If you take the 101 north, you can even visit Siuslaw National Forest, with hiking, camping, and more adventures to have.
- To the east, you have Willamette National Forest, another excellent place for outdoor adventures. A bit past the forest from Eugene is Bend, Oregon, which we love as a place to visit in the spring.
- To the north, you have Salem, and of course, if you’re willing to drive, Portland is just up the way, where you can spend a whole lifetime experiencing everything there is to see out in the surrounding area.
As we said, Oregon is a land full of wonder and natural beauty, so any visit can be made worthwhile.