Lakeview, Oregon isn’t very big, but it is the biggest place you’ll find in this part of south-central Oregon. If you’re visiting the remote, rural areas of southeastern Oregon, or northern Nevada and California, Lakeview makes a good base of operations. It has the basics, but not a lot of frills.
Downtown businesses in Lakeview are centered around F street, which is also US 395. Just a few blocks south of the Oregon 140 turnoff, you’ll find a few blocks of storefronts, which include the Alger Theater. It’s still showing movies.
Interesting Facts: A posting on CinemaTreasures.org explains that Janice Alger used to be president of Alger Theaters, which also ran another movie house, and a drive-in, in Lakeview. The theater used to have 500 seats, but a stage was added, reducing the capacity to 344.
No surprise, you’ll find some rough-looking grain elevators, not far from downtown.
I wasn’t actually able to view Goose Lake from Lakeview (supposedly, that’s how the town got its name). But, I didn’t drive up to these water tanks, located on the hillside behind Jerry’s Restaurant and the Safeway grocery store. You might find a better view from up there.
Walk around downtown Lakeview, and you’ll spot a few funky old neon signs, including this one, for the now-closed Indian Village Restaurant, Gift Shop, and cocktail lounge.
Lakeview is the county seat of Lake County — the third largest county in Oregon (covering 8,136 square miles), with a population of just under 8,000 people. In other words, everyone gets their own square mile of Lake County, I suppose.
The county used to have a beautiful courthouse, built in 1909. I’m not sure what happened to it, but for some reason in 1954 they decided to replace it with the ugly mid-century structure you see in the background. The bells from the old courthouse’s clock tower are on display, cemented into a cracked concrete slab on the front lawn.
I spent the night in Lakeview, at the Interstate 8 Motel — a confusing name, considering that there isn’t an interstate highway anywhere near Lakeview, and it’s not a Super 8 Motel either. It was acceptable, but far from luxurious — as I’d assume most of the accommodations in Lakeview would be. But, this isn’t a destination, really, it’s a jumping-off point for the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge and Steens Mountain, or maybe Crater Lake in the other direction. Gas up, fill up the cooler, and get going.
The Bottom Line
Lakeview, Oregon has all of the basic essentials for an overnight stop, while visiting the Oregon Outback or other destinations in south-central Oregon. Don’t expect luxury, but you will find all of the necessities here.
Lakeview is located on US Highway 395, at the crossroads of Oregon Highway 140. The nearest (bigger) city is Klamath Falls, which is about 100 miles to the west on Route 140.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive around Lakeview, then east to Bly: