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The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Crater Lake National Park

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Crater Lake National Park is one of the more interesting national parks. At its core, this national park is a giant lake on top of a massive volcano. The famed blue lake of Crater Lake fills the massive caldera left behind by an eruption of Mount Mazama. As Oregon’s only National Park, Crater Lake is an amazing park to explore. It can take over an hour to drive from one area of the park to the next so staying in Crater Laker is one of the best ways to make the most of your time in the park. Here is how to get a jump on exploring the park by camping in Crater Lake National Park.

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Getting to Crater Lake National Park

The closest airport to Crater Lake is Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport (MFR). This small regional airport is located about one and one-quarter hours away from Crater Lake. The closest mid-size airports are Eugene Airport (EUG) and Portland International Airport (PDX).

Crater Lake National Park has 3 entrances. The south and west entrances are open year-round. The south entrance is reached via Hwy 97 to Hwy 62. The west entrance reached via I-5 and Hwy 62. The north entrance is generally closed from November to June. The north is reached via I-5 or Hwy 97 and Hwy 138. Please check alerts before trying to enter the park via the north entrance.

Estimated Drive Time to Crater Lake National Park

  • Bend, Oregon – 2 hours
  • Eugene, Oregon – 2.5 hours
  • Portland, Oregon – 4.5 hours
  • Reno, Nevada – 6 hours
  • Sacramento, California – 6.25 hours
  • Boise, Idaho – 7 hours
  • Seattle, Washington – 7 hours
  • San Francisco, California – 7.5 hours

If visiting Crater Lake between July 1st and Labor Day, there is a daily shuttle to Crater Lake from Klamath Falls, Oregon. This shuttle aligns with the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle and vise versa. This is the only public transportation to the park.

During the summer, the Crater Lake Trolly offers daily tours around the 33-mile Rim Drive. This tour makes five to seven stops along the rim and the tour takes two hours. There is no other public transport within the park.

Crater Lake National Park Camping

Things to Know about Crater Lake Camping

  • Crater Lake National Parks has 2 campgrounds. Neither campground is open year-round.
  • There is no year-round camping in Crater Lake National Park.
  • Reservations are available at the Mazama Campground from July to September.
  • Mazama Campground ADA specific sites. These sites are A10, B1, B6, F17(RV), F21(RV).
  • Quiet Hours are from 10 pm to 7 am.  Generator use only allowed from 8 am to 8 pm at Mazama Campground. Generators are prohibited at Lost Creek Campground.
  • Quiet Hours are from 10 pm to 7 am.  Generator use only allowed from 8 am to 8 pm at Mazama Campground. Generators are prohibited at Lost Creek Campground.
  • RV’s are only allowed in Mazama Campground. RV’s are limited to 50 ft or less. Individual site length varies by the campsite.
  • Hookups are available at Mazama Campground. A dump station is available at Mazama.
  • Standard campsites can have up to 6 people.  You are allowed a maximum of two vehicles and two tents.
  • Wood and charcoal fires are generally allowed in all campgrounds unless fire danger prompts special restrictions. All firewood brought into or burned at the park must be “Approved Pacific Northwest Firewood.” Please do not transport firewood. Burn it where you buy it.
  • Store all food items in your car or bear box.  Please do NOT leave any food, utensils out, or any scented items.  This includes toothpaste, toothbrush, chapstick.  Pretty much put everything but what you are going to sleep in your car.  Crater Lake National Park is in bear country. Properly secure all items so no wildlife can get it.

What to pack to camp at Crater Lake?

  • Tent – This is your home away from home when camping. I prefer the lighter, more packable backpacking tents so I can use them while car camping but at the same time still backpack with them. I have both a one-man and a two-man tent.
  • Sleeping Bag – Your sleeping bag is critical to getting a good night’s sleep. There are a wide ranges of options and picking a sleeping back requires you to know HOW you sleep. Do you sleep hot, do you sleep cold, do you like to be toasty warm? What temperatures are you expecting to have to sleep in? All sleeping bags come with a number rating. A sleeping bag with a 0 rating is rated designed to keep the average person comfortable at 0°F. 20 is rated for 20°F and so on. I always recommend getting a sleeping bag rated for below freezing. It isn’t uncommon for temperatures to fall below freezing in some parks (even during summer). I personally use a sleeping bag rated for 0 because I like to spring and fall camp.
  • Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress – A sleeping pad goes under your sleeping bag to act as a softer barrier than sleeping on the bare ground. It provides an extra barrier and can help keep you warmer and more comfortable. I prefer a closed cell sleeping pad because you don’t have to worry about them leaking air in the middle of the night.
  • Cooler – When you are car camping, a cooler is a perfect addition and a great way to expand your cooking options. A quality cooler will keep food colder with less ice.
  • Stove – I prefer to cook over my camping stove rather than a campfire. Campfires can be a lot of work and the temperatures can be hard to maintain. My camping stove is a quick and easy way to make meals while camping.
  • Camp Cookware – If you are planning on cooking while camping, you need to bring some cookware with you.
  • Camp Kitchen Set – A kitchen set give you all the tools you need to make some really delicious camp meals.
  • Dish Soap – Some soaps are better for the environment than others. While camping it is particularly important to use an environmentally-friendly biodegradable soap.
  • Lantern – A small solar powered lantern is a great way to provide a little bit of light at night in your campground.
Crater Lake National Park Print Poster
US National Parks Scratch Your Travels Map
62 National Park Bison in White Shirt

Where to camp in Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Campground Map

Campgrounds in Crater Lake National Park

  • Lost Creek Campground
  • Mazama Campground

Campgrounds near Crater Lake National Park

There are many federal, state, and local campgrounds near Crater Lake. Please check to ensure your desired campground is open when you are planning to visit Crater Lake.

  • Abbott Creek Campground
  • Agency Lake Resort
  • Annie Creek Sno-Park
  • Broken Arrow Campground
  • Collier Memorial State Park
  • Crater Lake Resort
  • Crater Lake RV Park
  • Diamond Lake Campground
  • Diamond Lake RV Park
  • Farewell Bend Campground
  • Farewell Bend Sno-Park
  • Jackson F. Kimball State Park
  • Jo’s Motel & Campground
  • Melita’s Motel & RV Park
  • Natural Bridge Campground
  • River Bridge Campground
  • Sportsman’s River Retreat
  • Thielsen View Campground
  • Thousand Springs Sno-Park
  • Union Creek Campground
  • Walt’s RV Park
  • Waterwheel RV Park & Campground

Getting a Crater Lake Campsite

Crater Lake Camping Reservations

Unlike some other national parks, Crater Lake camping reservations are a little more relaxed than other parks. You don’t need to be ready to book a year plus in advance. I am writing this post in February 2020 and am able to get reservations on the 2nd week of July of 2020. Crater Lake is busiest between July and September so I would make your camping reservation as soon as possible.

Only one campground in Crater Lake takes reservations. Mazama Campground is the only Crater Lake campground that takes reservations. Reservations can be made online or by calling +1.866.761.6668.

Crater Lake First-come-first-serve Camping

Crater Lake has several options for first-come-first-serve camping. Both of Crater Lake campgrounds offer first-come-first-serve sites. Mazama Campground is first-come-first-serve for the month of June and 25% of the sites are first-come-first-serve the rest of the season. Lost Creek is always first-come-first-serve.

Both of these campgrounds typically fill by mid-afternoon. On weekends and holidays, the campground fill much earlier. As always with first-come-first-serve camping, get to the campground as early as possible to secure your space.

Camping at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Campgrounds at a Glance

CampgroundRegionReservationsOpening Dates (2020) Sites Fees ADA SitesAmenities
Lost CreekSouthYes, 75% of sitesJune 15 to late September 214$22 / $31YesF
MazamaSoutheastN/AJune 12 – Sept. 28 16$5N/AD, F, G, H, L, S

Crater Lake Campgrounds

Lost Creek Campground

Lost Creek Campground is a small tent-only campground located on Pinnacles Road. This campground is set back in a lodge pole pine forest and is about four miles from the rim of Crater Lake.

Lost Creek is a primitive campground with no water at this campground. Campers must bring all water with them. Campsites have fire rings and picnic tables.

SeasonMid July to mid-October
Number of Sites16 individual sites
Fee per night$5 per site
Reservations Available N/A
Max RV LengthN/A
RV Hook-upNo
RestroomsVault Toilets – Summer Only
ShowersNo, but it is available at Mazama Campground
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityN/A
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo, but it is available at Mazama Campground
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Crater Lake National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeDuring July and August, the campgorund fills by mid-afternoon.
Closest General Store Mazama Campground

Mazama Campground

Mazama Campground is a large forest campground located about 7 miles south of Rim Village. This campground is the main Crater Lake campground.

This campground has a general store and showers.

SeasonJune 15 to late September
Number of Sites214 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$21 – Tent Only Sites
$31 – No Hookups RV
$36 – Electricity RV
$43 – Full Hookup RV
$5 – Walk-In Campsites
Reservations Available 75 % of sites are reservable in July, August, and September
Max RV Length50 ft
RV Hook-upYes
Restrooms Flush Toilets – Summer Only
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesYes
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Crater Lake National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill Time

The First-come-first-serve sites typicall fill by mid-afternoon during the week and earlier on weekends.

Closest General Store 

Mazama General Store

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