The 400 foot deep lake was created in 1953 when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers completed the Detroit Dam project. The dam blocks the current of the Santiam River, thus keeping the downstream rivers accessible to fishermen and tourists.. The lake is over nine miles long with more than 32 miles of shore line. The lake is drained at the beginning of each winter in expectancy of rainfall. During this time, the lake looks more like a unmoving river.. In the spring, valves are closed in the dam in order to increase the lake depth in time for the busy summer months..
Detroit Lake is surrounded by rolling hills covered with enormous douglas firs. On a map, Detroit lake resides within the outskirts of the Willamette State Forest. Mountains can be seen in the distance, rising above the hills.. Sometimes in the early spring, snow still clings to the distant mountains, making the scenic views picturesque. There isn't a major city within 50 miles in any direction, allowing Detroit's night sky to be free of light pollution and unattractive vapors..
There is a long floating dock that has 82 boat slips built into it. It costs $7.00 for each boat to be attached. The boat ramp is free to use after paying the $3 day use fee..