Odell Lake, besides being the only habitat of an endangered native bull trout, is the name of an equally rare video game written in ancient times (1986) for the Apple II computer. The goal is for your chosen fish to eat other objects -- and not be eaten.The first thing you need to know about Odell Lake is that there are two remarkably similar fishing resorts on the lake and you don't want to confuse them. Shelter Cove is two miles off the trail. The Odell Lake Resort is seven miles distant, on the other side of the lake. Shelter Cove (27600 Odell Lake Rd., 541 433-2548) is where you want to be. The old cabins are charming and they're also a bargain if you bunk with friends. It was just a simple overnight, but I really enjoyed my time here. The 100-plus-year-old Cabin E, which was reportedly once the home of a railroad engineer on the Pengra Pass line, was perfect for my family. A special memory here: This would be the last time I would see my wife and daughter until Manning. I would choose that cabin again without a moment's hesitation.
Beginning in the the 1920s, Pengra Pass was a key point on the Southern Pacific line between Eugene and Klamath Falls. The route followed what are currently highways 58 and 97. Today's PCT goes over the tunnel that contains the rail line.
You could not resupply out of the minimalist store, which is there just as a convenience for the fishermen. It is nonetheless important as the last near-trail source for beer until Elk Lake. Check with Shelter Cove well in advance on sending a resupply box, which would be your best and only option. It's a long way to the nearest post office in Chemult or Oakridge. The resort reportedly changed ownership recently and one of the direct benefits of this is the addition of a modest restaurant to the store. The only other restaurant food is at the Odell Lake Resort. This may be one of the rare instances you have no choice but to cook trail food in town.
Shelter Cove has laundry and showers. If you really didn't care for one of the cabins, you could use the store and services and then return to the PCT to stealth camp. (You didn't hear it from me, but the trailhead area tucked behind the highway maintainance sheds on the north side of Highway 58 is do-able.) Avoid the adjacent Trapper Creek USFS campground, which is now a fee area run by a concession company. Never pay to throw down on the PCT. Ever. The Pengra Pass Road cutoff is the more efficient way to get on and off the trail. Not being particularly bright, I figured this out only after having to backtrack on the road from Highway 58.
Odell Lake is all about the fishing. Although they're nearly on top of it, the Shelter Cove folks have only a peripheral awareness of the PCT. They're focused on the RV crowd almost exclusively. The nice lady who checked me into my cabin seemed mildly stunned that I didn't need dock space for my boat.
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