A Clean Getaway
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Accessible, uncrowded, enjoyable: pick two. Usually, if a campground is fun and easy to get to, it will be crowded. If it isn't crowded, it will be either hard to reach or not very nice. But at Magone Lake campground in the Malheur National forest you can have all three.
Magone lake is a small (about 50 acres) but very pretty lake located in the blue mountains a little northeast of John Day Oregon.
The lake is so easy to get to that it needs no detailed directions. On highway 26 between John Day and Prairie City take Keeney Forks road to the north. Follow the pavement and the signs until you come to Magone Lake. It is about 25 miles of paved road from John Day or a little less from Prairie City. The last few miles of pavement is single lane and the forest service says the maximum suggested length for trailers is 30ft including vehicle. It should be fine for all but the biggest motor homes and trailers. Any passenger car can get there with no problems.
The forest is ponderosa pine and Engelmann spruce with an open understory which makes for a very nice environment for hiking and nature viewing.
The campsites are a good combination of amenities and simplicity. Everything one really needs without too much civilization. My cellphone doesn't work there. But as noted earlier it is only about 20 miles from town.
It is outstanding for water activities. The lake is stocked with brook and rainbow trout. They have a boat ramp for no-wake boating only so no 300hp bass boats. There are some good beaches and docks for swimming. The water can be quite cold in the spring but it warms up in summer.
There is a very pleasant hiking path that goes completely around the lake.
Unfortunately, horses and bikes are not allowed at this campground but we can't have everything.
Magone Lake is one of the best places to get away from it all without giving it all up. Peace and quiet, lots of wildlife and nature to enjoy and yet one could walk back to town if they had to.
The native Americans of this region spent their summers up here in the mountains and, in the winter, moved down into the valleys. On a day like this when the temperature by the lake is in the 80s and the temperature back in town is over 100 that makes a lot of sense.