Crater Lake Camping – Where To Stay When Visiting Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Sunset, places to visit in Oregon
Crater Lake. Photo by CEBImagery via Flickr CC2.

Crater Lake is one of the prettiest destinations in Oregon and brings visitors from all over the world.  Some come for the jaw dropping view of the deep blue waters inside the caldera, others come to hike, and some come to explore the many features within the park boundaries, such as the Pinnacles and many waterfalls.  Many opt to stay for up to a week and need to find good Crater Lake camping spots or Crater Lake cabins.

The rim at Crater Lake National Park
Rim of the Caldera at Crater Lake. Photo by Arthur T. LaBar via Flickr CC2.

There are dozens of good sites to camp, hook up your RV, or stay in a cabin within a 30 minute drive of Crater Lake National Park, as well as dozens of nearby hiking trails, waterfalls, and pretty lakes to explore.

Crater Lake Sunrise. Photo by Jim Bahn via Flickr CC2.

When people ask me about visiting Crater Lake, I always tell them to plan to stay for at least three days.  A three day stay gives people a day to explore all the national park has to offer, a day to see numerous waterfalls, and a day to check out some awesome hiking trails or to stick around the campsite and relax.

Camping At Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Lodge at night. Photo by Howard Ignatius via Flickr CC2.

There are two campgrounds and a lodge inside the boundaries of Crater Lake National Park.  Neither campground has a view of the lake itself, but the Crater Lake Lodge has a view as it’s on the rim of the caldera.

Crater Lake Lodge.
Crater Lake Lodge. Photo by Vladeb via Flickr CC2.
Crater Lake Camping At Mazama Campground. A tent and picnic table.
Mazama Campground At Crater Lake National Park. Photo by Fawn via Flickr CC2.

Mazama Campground is within the Crater Lake National Park boundaries and is only open in the summer.  It has 214 sites in an old-growth forest.  This campsite sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet.  Food must be kept in a bear proof locker at each campsite.  It’s best to reserve your site to ensure you get a spot.

  • Lost Creek Campground
    • Lost Creek Campground was closed for 2021 due to Covid-19.  This campground usually opens in early July and closes mid October.  It’s for tent camping only, and is not open to van camping.  Sites are first come first serve.  This campground has 16 sites and fills up by mid-afternoon.

Camping North Of Crater Lake

There are many different campgrounds just north of Crater Lake National Park.  Some of them feature lakes and pretty views of Mount Thielsen.

  • Diamond Lake Resort And Campgrounds
Mount Thielsen as seen from Diamond Lake. Photo by Al Case via Flickr CC2.
    • Diamond lake has several campgrounds to choose from, and is just north of the national park’s northern boundary.  The drive from these campgrounds to the national park’s northern boundary is approximately 16 minutes.
    • Broken Arrow Campground at Diamond Lake has 121 campsites, drinking water, flush toilets and showers.
    • Diamond Lake Campground at Diamond Lake has 238 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits (51 of these sites are lakeside).  This campground also has drinking water, flushing toilets and showers.
    • Thielsen View Campground at Diamond Lake has 60 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits.  It also has drinking water and vault toilets.
The view of Mount Thielsen from Thielsen View Campground. Photo by A. F. Litt via Flickr CC2.
    • Diamond Lake Resort was once an old 1920’s fishing lodge that is now a modern family resort which is open year round.  This resort has a motel and a variety of small cabins to stay in, as well as a restaurant and marina.
    • Diamond Lake RV Park is open from the middle of May to the middle of October.  It has 110 full hook up sites and does not allow tents.  It has a laundry room, restrooms, and showers.
  • Lemolo Lake Campgrounds And Resort
Camping near Crater Lake National Park
Mt Thielsen at sunset behind Lemolo Lake. Photo by Thomas Kriese via Flickr CC2.
  • Clearwater Falls Campground is a small primitive campground situated at the top of a pretty waterfall.  It has 9 campsites and 4 picnic sites, as well as vault toilets.  No drinking water is available.  Visitors should know that this area is heavy with mosquitos in summer months.  This campground is a 25 minute drive to the national park’s northern boundary.  There is no view of the waterfall from the campground. Campers will have to go below the falls for a view, which can be seen in the photo below:

  • Toketee Campground has 33 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits, as well as vault toilets.  There is no drinking water available.  This campground is a 37 minute drive from Crater Lake National Park’s northern boundary.  Visitors can hike the trail to Toketee Falls.  The trail ends at a wooden platform above the falls, where visitors can take in the stunning view of this gorgeous waterfall as seen in the photo below:

Camping South Of Crater Lake

There are three spots to stay south of Crater Lake, including two campgrounds and a small resort with cabins.
  • Jackson F. Kimball State Park sits at the gorgeous blue headwaters of the Wood River.  This park has 10 primitive sites without water, and sites are first come first serve.  Vault toilets are available.  There are also 2 primitive horse campsites without water.  The campsite is open from April 15th to November 1st.
Jackson F. Kimball State Park in Klamath County south of Crater Lake. Photo by Michael McCullough via Flickr CC2.

Visitors should be aware that this area is heavy with mosquitos in summer months, especially near the water.

Jackson F. Kimball State Park. Photo by Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough via Flickr CC2.

The water is ice cold so it isn’t good for swimming.  Visitors enjoy kayaking and canoeing in the river’s pristine water.  This campground is a 22 minute drive from Crater Lake National Park’s southern boundary.

  • Crater Lake Resort has creekside glamping sites, cabins, tents, and RV sites and is a 24 minute drive from the national park’s southern boundary.

This resort sits on Fort Creek and features a playground, free canoes, fishing, free wifi, a games area and a store.

  • Collier Memorial State Park sits just off of Highway 97 and is a 37 minute drive to Crater Lake National Park’s southern boundary.  This state park sits on the Williamson River and gorgeous clear waters of Spring Creek.  It features a logging museum and pioneer village.  The campground features full hookup RV sites and a horse camp, as well as restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets.  Unfortunately this campground was closed for the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the Two Four Two wildfire that swept through the area.  The campground is being repaired and is supposed to open again for the 2022 camping season.
Camping West Of Crater Lake

  • Union Creek Resort features both cabins and vacation rentals and is a 21 minute drive from Crater Lake National Park’s southern boundary.  There is a little store and Beckie’s Cafe which serves up it’s famous delicious pies.  There’s a lot of nearby hiking and many waterfalls in the area that can be hiked to.  It should be noted that some of the nearby waterfalls are difficult hikes for experienced hikers.
  • Natural Bridge Campground has 17 campsites with picnic tables, fire pits and vault toilets.  There is no drinking water available.  This campground is a 21 minute drive to the national park’s southern boundary.
  • Abbot Creek Campground has 25 campsites with picnic tables, fire pits and vault toilets.  There is no drinking water available.  This site is a 36 minute drive to the national park’s southern boundary.
Crater Lake Camping Tips
Crater lake as seen from outerspace
Crater Lake as seen from space. Photo by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr CC2.

Crater Lake is in the Cascade Mountains, and there aren’t a lot of places to get gas or pick up groceries if you run out while you’re camping and exploring the area.  Be sure you have everything you need before you make your trip to Crater Lake.  If you do need to head into town for something, Klamath Falls is one hour south of Crater Lake National Park and has many grocery stores, gas stations and a hospital.  There is also a Pilot Travel Center in Chemult, 23 minutes north of the Crater Lake National Park northern boundary.

Pumice desert at Crater Lake National Park
Pumice Desert north of Crater Lake between Crater Lake and Diamond Lake. Photo by Robert Shea via Flickr CC2.

If you’re planning to camp or hike near Crater Lake, plan for inclement weather.  Even in the summer temperatures can drop to freezing at night and summer thunderstorms come up quickly in the evenings.

Phantom Ship Rock Formation Crater Lake National Park Oregon
Phantom Ship rising out of Crater Lake. Photo by Tivolatman via Flickr CC2.

Visitors should follow the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace so we can keep Crater Lake, our forests, waterways and campgrounds around for future generations to enjoy.

Always check to be sure the campground, hiking trail, or National Park you want to visit is open before you go.

The Pinnacles in Crater Lake National Park can be accessed via a short trail. Photo by DragonWoman via Flickr CC2.

Keep in mind that Crater Lake National Park has a fee to get into the park.  Private vehicles are $30 in the summer.  You can see the updated fee list here.  There is also a $55 annual park pass which will get you into Crater Lake and into it’s sister park the Lava Beds National Monument near Tule Lake California.

Have you ever camped at Crater Lake before?  What’s your favorite camping spot near Crater Lake?  Let us know and share your photos with us in the comments.  Tag the friends and family you want to go on a Crater Lake adventure with!

CRATER LAKE
Wizard Island of Crater Lake, captured by That Oregon Life, July 2019
Sunset Lodgingl