33 Best Crater Lake National Park Camping Spots

Moon over Crater Lake National Park at night

Are you planning a camping trip to Crater Lake National Park but aren’t sure which campground to choose? If so, this guide is here to help!

Crater Lake National Park is filled with incredible views, scenic drives, and hikes, and is home to the deepest lake in the United States. Plus, there’s no shortage of places to stay.

Camping in Crater Lake allows you to stay closer to the best things to do, save money, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Cascades.

This post will overview the best Crater Lake National Park camping spots, tips on reserving a campsite, and where to stay when campgrounds are booked.

Are you looking for more ideas for your trip to Crater Lake? Then, don’t miss these posts!

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Crater Lake At-A-Glance

Before diving in, here are a few highlights to help you plan your trip:

  • Best Time to Visit: Summer is a great time to visit thanks to warm weather and all park amenities being open. Rim Drive typically opens in mid-July. I recommend visiting in July, August, or September.
  • Where to Stay: Crater Lake has 2 lodges inside the park, the Crater Lake Lodge and The Cabins at Mazama Village. Outside the park, consider staying at Crater Lake Resort or Union Creek Resort nearby.
  • How to Get There: The closest airport is Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport (LMT) located 1 hour south of the park. Other nearby airports include Medford, Redmond, Eugene, and Portland. Use Skyscanner to browse flights and find the best price.
  • How to Get Around: The easiest way to get around Crater Lake is by car. Use Rentalcars.com to browse deals on rental cars or rent an RV or campervan with Outdoorsy.
  • Don’t Forget: Be sure to get an America the Beautiful National Park Pass ahead of time. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites (including Crater Lake!).

Best Time for Camping in Crater Lake

While parts of Crater Lake National Park are open year-round, the best time for camping is from July to September. Crater Lake experiences cold weather and heavy snow from late fall to early Summer, forcing many campgrounds in and near the park to close for the season. 

In addition, Rim Drive, the main route through the park, is only open in its entirety from mid-July to mid-October. You can read more about historical opening and closing dates here.

Here’s a quick overview of what to expect during each season in Crater Lake:

  • Spring: Temperatures are cold, with daytime highs in the 40s and overnight temperatures below freezing. However, crowds are low in the spring, with less than 1,500 visitors per day. In addition, most trails are still snow-covered through May, making spring a less than desirable time for hiking in Crater Lake.
  • Summer: Temperatures reach the upper 60s during the day but drop to the 40s overnight. Trails are snow-free by July, perfect for hiking in Crater Lake. Rim Drive opens entirely in mid-July, allowing you access to many of the best trailheads in the park. Visitor centers, park headquarters, and restaurants are also open by July. However, summer is also peak season, with an average of 7,000 visitors per day. This is also the best season for booking boat tours on the lake and to Wizard Island.
  • Fall: By September, temperatures begin to decline, with highs in the 50s and lows dropping below freezing. After Labor Day, crowds are fewer, with less than 2,000 visitors per day. If you don’t mind colder temperatures and want to avoid crowds, September can be a great time to visit. By mid-October, Crater’s Rim Drive closes for the season. By November, most of the park’s trails are snowcovered.
  • Winter: Crater Lake gets more than 100 inches of snow per month in the winter months, with an average snow depth in February at nearly 10 feet in some areas. Temperatures are barely above freezing, even at midday. However, if you can brave the snow and cold, you’re rewarded with solitude and excellent opportunities for snow sports, like snowshoeing.

Are you planning a national park trip but don’t know where to start? Get my free 28-page national park ebook where I break down everything you need to know to visit all 63 USA national parks.

Download your free ebook here.

How to Get to the Crater Lake Campgrounds

Crater Lake National Park is located in southeastern Oregon, several hours from the closest major airports. Given the park’s remote location, you’ll need to fly into one of the airports in the area and drive to Crater Lake (unless you live within driving distance!).

The closest airports to Crater Lake National Park are:

  • Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport (LMT) – 1 hour to South Entrance
  • Rogue Valley International Medford Airport (MFR) – 1.5 hours to South Entrance
  • Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM) – 2 hours to North Entrance
  • Eugene Airport (EUG) – 2.5 hours to North Entrance
  • Portland International Airport (PDX) – 4 hours to North Entrance

Flying into the regional airports will be more expensive but can save hours of driving time. If you’re looking to avoid connecting or find a budget-friendly flight, fly into Portland instead!

I use Skyscanner to find the best flight prices and compare routes. Once you find your flight, Skyscanner redirects you to book with the airline directly, so you don’t miss out on frequent flyer points! Search flights on Skyscanner now.

If you need a rental car, I recommend using Rentalcars.com to find the best deals. It allows you to search across major retailers like Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, and more. Search rental car prices with Rentalcars.com now.

Crater Lake National Park Rim Drive

How to Get Crater Lake Camping Reservations

There are two campgrounds located inside Crater Lake National Park. Mazama Campground, the largest in the park, accepts reservations from July through September. Lost Creek Campground is smaller and only operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can make reservations at Mazama Campground via Crater Lake Hospitality. Roughly 75% of the campgrounds are available for reservations, and the remaining campgrounds are first-come, first-served.

I recommend making your reservation at Mazama Campground at least three months out for trips in July through September.

Campgrounds outside the park are a mix of national forests and private sites. Reservation processes will differ for each campground, so keep reading for details on each specific campground near Crater Lake.

Tips for Finding a Crater Lake Campsite

  • A camping reservation in Crater Lake does not cover your park entry fee. I recommend purchasing the America the Beautiful National Park Pass before your trip. This pass gets you into Crater Lake, plus 400 more national park sites! Get your annual national park pass here for only $80.
  • Campsites with RV hookups are limited inside the park. Mazama Campground only has 18 sites with electric hookups. Lost Creek Campground does not have any. If you are looking for more options with hookups, consider staying at a private campground outside the park instead.
  • Dump stations are only available at specific campgrounds. You’ll only find a dump station at Mazama Campground inside the park. Again, for more options and amenities, consider staying at one of the many private campgrounds outside the park.
  • Fire restrictions can happen in the summer. Typically from July through September, the park may limit when and where you can have fires. These restrictions include wood and charcoal fires in campgrounds. If you’re visiting in the summer, I recommend bringing a propane stove to cook your food.
  • Pets are allowed in campgrounds but are not permitted on hiking trails and cannot be left unattended. Therefore, if you plan to bring a pet, you will need to plan for someone to stay with them at the campsite during the day if you plan to hike. Read more about pets in Crater Lake.
  • Cell service is limited in most areas of the park. Be sure to download your campground details or take a screenshot before arriving at the park.

Looking for more tips on what to pack for your trip? Check out my guides on the best hiking gear, what to pack for a road trip, and essential camping gear for all my favorite gear picks and tips to make packing for your trip a breeze!

Best Campgrounds in Crater Lake

There are two campgrounds located inside Crater Lake National Park: Mazama Campground, the larger and more amenity-filled of the two, and Lost Creek, the smaller option, operating on a first-come, first-served basis.

Keep reading for all the details on campgrounds in Crater Lake. 

Mazama Campground

  • Season: Mid-June to Late September
  • Number of Sites: 214
  • Reservations: Yes, via Crater Lake Hospitality
  • Hookups: 18 sites with electrical hookups
  • Max RV Length: 50 feet
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Yes, five designated RV sites are accessible
  • Amenities: Firepit, picnic table, flush toilets, coin-operated showers, laundry facilities, dump station
  • What’s Nearby: Mazama Village Store, Annie Creek Canyon Trail, South Entrance
  • Distance to Rim Village: 15 minutes
Sign at the front of Mazama Campground in Crater Lake National Park
Source: Crater Lake Hospitality

Mazama Campground is the largest campground in Crater Lake National Park. With over 200 campsites that can accommodate tents, RVs, and trailers, this campground should be your first choice when looking into Crater Lake National Park camping, especially if you prioritize a hot shower!

Campers can enjoy access to plenty of amenities, like the nearby Mazama Village Store, laundry, coin-operated showers, food lockers, and more.

Located near the park’s South Entrance, you’re close to several hiking trails and a short drive from Rim Village and Rim Drive, the most popular attractions in Crater Lake. At nearby Rim Village, you’ll find Rim Village Visitor Center, the Crater Lake Lodge, and a gift shop.

Mazama Campground is only open in the summer months. However, 75% of the campsites allow advanced reservations from July to September. The remaining 25% is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Read More: 10 Best Hikes in Crater Lake

Lost Creek Campground

  • Season: Early July to Mid-October
  • Number of Sites: 16
  • Reservations: No, first-come, first-served
  • Hookups: None
  • Max RV Length: RVs not permitted
  • Wheelchair Accessible: No
  • Amenities: Firepit, picnic table, portable toilets
  • What’s Nearby: Plaikni Falls, The Pinnacles Trail
  • Distance to Rim Village: 45 minutes

The second, smaller campground in Crater Lake is Lost Creek Campground. This small camping area has only 16 campsites located a short distance off of East Rim Drive. Camping here is rustic, and only experienced campers should stay here.

At Lost Creek Campground, there are few amenities. You won’t find running water, potable water, showers, dump stations, laundry, or other amenities found at Mazama Campground. If you stay here, you will need to be entirely self-sustaining.

Lost Creek Campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis and generally opens in early July. However, this campground was closed in 2021 and is yet to announce if it will be open in 2022.

Camping Near Crater Lake National Park

Given that there are only two campgrounds located inside Crater Lake, many visitors choose to camp outside the park instead. There is no shortage of campgrounds in this part of Southern Oregon, ranging from primitive national forest campgrounds to private RV resorts.

Keep reading for an overview of the best campgrounds outside of Crater Lake National Park.

Camping Near Diamond Lake

Diamond Lake offers some of the closest camping outside Crater Lake National Park in Umpqua National Forest, located only 15 minutes from the North Entrance. You’ll find tent and RV-friendly campgrounds here, all reservable via Recreation.gov.

While closest to Crater Lake, if you plan to spend all your time in Rim Village (located near the South Entrance), you may consider staying on the park’s southern side instead.

  • Diamond Lake Campground. 238 sites for tents and RVs (35’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, flush toilets, and showers.
  • Broken Arrow Campground. 121 sites for tents and RVs (32’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, flush toilets, and showers.
  • Thielsen View Campground. 60 sites for tents and RVs (35’ maximum). Open late June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, and vault toilets.
  • Diamond Lake RV Park. 110 RV sites with hookups. Open from mid-May to mid-October, with reservations available up to 13 months in advance. Amenities include showers and laundry.
Diamond Lake Campground Near Crater Lake National Park
Diamond Lake Campground
Source: Recreation.gov

Camping Near Lemolo Lake

A bit farther than Diamond Lake, you’ll find Lemolo Lake, a beautiful Oregon retreat with plenty of campgrounds in Umpqua National Forest. From Lemolo Lake, you’re about 30 minutes to the North Entrance station.

Campgrounds here can accommodate a mix of RVs and tents.

  • Poole Creek Campground. 60 sites for tents and RVs (35’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, drinking water, and vault toilets.
  • Bunker Hill Campground. 5 sites for tents and campervans (22’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • East Lemolo Campground. 15 sites for tents and campervans (22’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Inlet Campground. 13 sites for tents and campervans (25’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Toketee Lake Campground. 32 sites for tents and campervans (30’ maximum). Open early June to early September. Reservations required. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, grills, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Clearwater Falls Campground. 9 sites for tents and campervans (25’ maximum). Open May to early September. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Lemolo Lake / Crater Lake North KOA. RV sites with hookups. Open late April to mid-October. Reservations open well in advance. Amenities include lake access and a dog park.

Camping Near Fort Klamath

Fort Klamath is a small town located about 20 minutes from the South Entrance of Crater Lake National Park. Consider staying here if you’re looking for more rustic, first-come, first-served camping options.

  • Jackson F. Kimball State Park. 12 primitive sites for tents only. Open mid-May through October. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Jo’s Motel & Campground. 7 RV sites with hookups and 5 tent-only sites. Open year-round (except when snowcovered). First-come, first-served only. Amenities include an organic grocery store and deli.
  • Annie Creek Sno-Park. Overnight parking lot for RVs and campervans. Free from May to October, and sno-park permit required November to April. Amenities include vault toilets.

Camping Near Chiloquin

Chiloquin is a small town located southeast of Crater Lake National Park, about 40 minutes from the South Entrance. If you’re coming from Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California, staying in Chiloquin can be a convenient overnight stop before heading into Crater Lake.

Chiloquin also offers several RV-friendly campgrounds with plenty of amenities, making it a popular choice amongst RVers.

  • Waterwheel RV Park & Campground. 33 RV sites with hookups. Open March through November. Reservations can be made online. Amenities include a camp store, showers, and laundry.
  • Agency Lake Resort. 25 RV sites with hookups, plus 10 tent sites. Open late May through October. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include a camp store and showers.
  • Melita’s Motel & RV Park. 15 RV sites with hookups. Open in summer only. Reservations can be made online. Amenities include a restaurant and pet-friendliness.
  • Walt’s RV Park. 14 RV sites with hookups and 20 tent sites. Open year-round. Reservations can be made by phone. Amenities include showers and close access to shops in Chiloquin.

Camping Near Union Creek

This small town is located west of Crater Lake National Park along Highway 62, only 25 minutes to the South Entrance. Union Creek offers several camping options, including a mix of reservable and first-come, first-served campgrounds.

  • Farewell Bend Campground. 61 sites for tents and RVs (40’ maximum). Open mid-May to early October. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available. Amenities include flush toilets and drinking water.
  • Union Creek Campground. 73 sites for tents and small RVs (28’ maximum). Open mid-May to early October. Both reservable and first-come, first-served sites are available. Amenities include vault toilets and drinking water.
  • Huckleberry Mountain Campground. 25 sites for tents only. Open May through September. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include fire pits, picnic tables, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Natural Bridge Campground. 17 sites for tents and RVs (30’ maximum). Open mid-May to mid-October. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include fire pits, picnic tables, and vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Thousand Springs Sno-Park. Overnight parking lot for RVs and campervans. Free from May to October, and sno-park permit required November to April. Amenities include vault toilets.
  • Farewell Bend Sno-Park. Overnight parking lot for RVs and campervans. Free from May to October, and sno-park permit required November to April. Amenities include vault toilets.

Camping Near Prospect

The town of Prospect is a bit further south of Highway 62 than Union Creek, putting you about 40 minutes from the South Entrance to Crater Lake. However, if you can’t find a spot in Union Creek, Prospect is a good backup for first-come, first-served camping.

  • Abbott Creek Campground. 25 sites for tents and RVs (60’ maximum). Open late May to mid-September. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include vault toilets. Drinking water is not provided.
  • Crater Lake RV Park. 57 RV sites with hookups. Open year-round. Reservations can be made online. Amenities include showers and fire pits.
  • River Bridge Campground. 11 sites for tents and small RVs (25’ maximum) Open late May to mid-October. First-come, first-served only. Amenities include vault toilets. No drinking water is provided.
  • Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area Campground. 200 sites for tents and RVs with hookups. Open year-round with reservations available online or by phone. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, an RV dump station, and a dog park. 

Where to Stay when Campsites Near Crater Lake are Booked

If you find campgrounds in and near Crater Lake are already full for your trip dates, consider staying at a hotel or park lodge instead.

Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park

There are two lodges inside Crater Lake National Park:

  • Crater Lake Lodge, a majestic lodge with incredible views overlooking Crater Lake, an excellent dining room, and rustic hotel rooms
  • The Cabins at Mazama Village, a collection of recently renovated, rustic cabins near Mazama Campground

If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel outside the park, consider these nearby options:

  • Crater Lake Resort, an updated resort with 15 cabins and a general store located 19 miles from Crater Lake
  • Union Creek Resort, a mountain resort with 33 cabins and a restaurant located 20 miles from Crater Lake
  • Red Blanket Cabin, a rustic adults-only cabin with a fireplace and a kitchen situated 25 miles from Crater Lake
  • Crater Lake Bungalows, rustic, old-fashioned adults-only cabins with patios along Crooked Creek located 23 miles from Crater Lake

Frequently Asked Questions About Campgrounds at Crater Lake

Is camping allowed in Crater Lake National Park?

Yes, camping is allowed inside Crater Lake National Park. You can choose from camping at Mazama Campground or Lost Creek Campground inside the park or explore one of the park’s five backcountry campgrounds.

Can you sleep in your car at Crater Lake?

You cannot sleep in your car in Crater Lake National Park unless you are at a designated campground, such as Mazama Campground. Camping in your vehicle along roads or parking lots is not allowed.

Is Crater Lake RV friendly?

Crater Lake National Park is RV-friendly in the summer when roads are snow-free. Mazama Campground inside the park can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet. In addition, Rim Drive is easily accessible for vehicles of any size.

Does Mazama Campground have hookups?

Mazama Campground offers 18 campsites with electric-only hookups for RVs up to 50 feet. Reservations for these sites fill up quickly, so plan to make reservations as far in advance as possible.

Can you camp anywhere in Crater Lake?

You can only camp in designated campgrounds within Crater Lake National Park; however, dispersed camping is allowed in nearby Fremont Winema National Forest and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

Final Thoughts on Camping at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park offers plenty of options for camping both inside and outside the park. If you want to stay inside the park, your best bet is to get a reservation at Mazama Campground, the largest campground in Crater Lake.

If you’re looking for more first-come, first-served options, you’ll find plenty of campgrounds available in nearby towns and national forests.

If you’re looking for reservable campgrounds near Crater Lake, I recommend booking a campsite near Diamond Lake in Umpqua National Forest, only 15 minutes from the Crater Lake North Entrance Station.

If you want to learn more about Crater Lake National Park, check out these posts!

Are you planning a national park trip but don’t know where to start? Get my free 28-page national park ebook where I break down everything you need to know to visit all 63 USA national parks.

Download your free ebook here.

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