Crater Lake is one of the best places to visit in the Pacific Northwest.
Whether you’re interested in hiking, boating, or just want to soak up the beautiful scenery, Crater Lake is a must.
If you’ve never visited Crater Lake before, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn everything you need to know to make the most out of your Crater Lake camping trip!
Crater Lake Camping Basics
When To Visit
It can be difficult to get to Crater Lake during the winter months because of its location high in the Cascade mountains. The best time to visit Crater Lake is during the summer and early fall — it’s often covered in heavy snow during the late fall, winter, and spring.
Even in the summer, you’ll still want to pack some warm clothes — temperatures range from 40 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and evenings are often quite cold.
Depending on when you visit Crater Lake, you have a few different campgrounds to choose from.
- Mazama Campground: This campground, which is open between early June and mid-October, has 200 campsites to choose from. It also features a dump station, laundry and shower facilities, and a place to pick up groceries. It does not have flush toilets, running water, picnic tables or fire rings.
- Lost Creek Campground: This campground has 16 tent-only sites. It is less expensive, but it also has fewer amenities. There are no dump stations, but it does offer flush toilets, running water, picnic tables, and fire rings.
- Backcountry Camping: You also have the option of backcountry camping after you acquire a free permit from either the Steel Visitor Center or the Rim Village Visitor Center. Up to eight people are allowed in a backcountry camping group, and groups must adhere to sustainability regulations.
Best Crater Lake Camping Activities
Some of the most popular activities to participate in during your Crater Lake camping trip include:
- Boat tours
- Scenic drives
- Snow shoeing
- Wildlife watching
If you want to hike, you have a few different trail options depending on how long you plan to stay.
For a one-day visit, consider a hike up the Garfield Peak Trail. It’s steep, but it is also only 1.7 miles long, and the views from the top will definitely be worth your time.
Discovery Point, Watchman Overlook, and Pumice Castle Overlook are also great places to visit to enjoy views of the lake.
If you have more time to spare, consider taking a boat tour in addition to hiking.
Boat tours last a couple hours and are split up with a stop on Wizard Island. While on the island, you’ll have a couple hours to hike if you wish, or you can simply hang out by the boat dock.
You might also consider taking a hike on the Mount Scott Trail to watch the sunset in the evening. Many people consider this the best hike in Crater Lake National Park. It takes you to the park’s highest point and provides beautiful views of the lake and Klamath Basin.
Now that you know a bit more about Crater Lake, it’s time to hit the road!