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Crater Lake Camping (Epic Guide) 4 Campgrounds, 5 Attractions, 11 Hikes

Posted in: Where to Camp, Where to Hike

Crater Lake is located in Crater Lake National Park, in southern Oregon. In this guide you'll learn about Crater Lake camping, campgrounds, attractions, hikes and answers to many common questions.

Crater Lake camping sign

Table of Contents

Crater Lake Camping (Visitors Guide)

Crater Lake is located high on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range. The caldera rim reaches an elevation of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).

Camping at Crater Lake is very popular. Crater Lake National Park had more than 720,000 visitors in 2018.

And different than many of the other national parks (like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Joshua Tree), it gets cold in Crater Lake – and snows up to 7 months of the year. You're going to want a good winter tent and heater if you visit in fall, winter, or spring.

It's always a good idea to have a print map when visiting a national park – you never know when your battery or signal will drop off. Here's the most popular map of Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake camping

Before we get started, here's a taste of what you can see in the National Park.

Crater Lake National Park in 4K Video

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Crater Lake National Park Map

4 Crater Lake Campgrounds

1. Mazama Campground

  • Dates: June 6 – September 23
  • Number of Sites: 214
  • Elevation: 6,000 feet
  • Reservation System: Reservations taken in the summer except in June
  • Cost per night: Tent sites ($21); RV- No hookups ($31); RV- electric hookups ($36); Full hookups ($42)
  • Features: Electrical hookups, fire rings, picnic tables, laundry machines, camp store, dump station, pay-per-use showers, gas station, potable water spigots, flush toilets, and a hydration store
  • Accessible sites: Yes
  • Distance from Rim Village: 7 miles
  • More info: Mazama Campground

Since the recent closing of the Lost Creek Campground, Mazama Campground is the only campground inside Crater Lake National Park. This campground accommodates both tents and RVs with a limited number of accessible RV sites.

All sites feature picnic tables and fire rings. You’ll also find here drinking water, flush toilets, pay-per-use showers, laundry facilities, a camp store and a dump station.

From July to August, 75% of the campsites can be reserved in advance. The remaining 25% are first-come, first-served basis. During the month of June, all sites are on a first-come, first-served basis.

2. Huckleberry Mountain Campground

  • Dates: May 15 – October 15
  • Number of Sites: 25
  • Elevation: 5,400 feet
  • Reservation System: First-come-first-served basis
  • Cost per night: Free
  • Features: Fire pits, picnic tables, vault toilets
  • Accessible sites: No
  • Distance from Rim Village: 7 miles
  • More info: Huckleberry Mountain Campground

The Huckleberry Mountain Campground is found 7 miles just outside of the Crater Lake National Park, surrounded by evergreen trees and huckleberry bushes.

Featuring fire pits, picnic tables and vault toilets, this primitive campground offers access to hiking, biking and off-highway vehicle trails. There is no drinking water available here, so you’ll need to bring your own. This campground is a great option if you’re camping on a budget or if other campgrounds are full.

Here's what it's like to camp at Crater Lake in a camper van.

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3. Thielsen View Camp

  • Dates: June 7 – October 31
  • Number of Sites: 60
  • Elevation: 5,190 feet
  • Reservation System: First-come, first-served (40 sites); Available for reservations (20 sites)
  • Cost per night: $15 – $20
  • Features: Boat ramp, drinking water, vault toilets, garbage disposal, fire rings, picnic tables
  • Accessible sites: Yes
  • Distance from Rim Village: 12 miles
  • More info: Thielsen View Camp

Situated in a scenic setting within the Umpqua National Forest across from Diamond Lake with amazing views of Mount Thielsen, this campground is 12 miles from Crater Lake National Park.

You can enjoy activities here such as biking, fishing, boating, canoeing and kayaking.

4. Toketee Campground

  • Dates: Open Year Round
  • Number of Sites: 33
  • Elevation: 2,400 feet
  • Reservation System: First-come, first-served basis (15 sites); Reservable (18 sites)
  • Cost per night: $10 to $15
  • Features: Fire rings, picnic tables, trash collection, vault toilets, boating, fishing, swimming, trailheads
  • Accessible sites: No
  • Distance from Rim Village: 28 miles
  • More info: Toketee Campground

Located 28 miles from Crater Lake National Park near Toketee Falls, this campground is a nice, shady spot if you’re looking for Crater Lake camping sites that are pet-friendly and offer access to outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and wildlife viewing.

Crater Lake Campgrounds

View of Crater Lake from the trail

Crater Lake is one of the best places to camp in the United States. See more in our full guide.

Crater Lake attractions

5 Crater Lake Local Attractions

1. Rim Drive

  • Type of attraction: Scenic drive
  • Distance from Rim Village: 29 miles
  • Cost: Free with park entrance fee (your own car) or $27 with trolley tour
  • What you’ll see/do: Stunning views of Crater Lake, the mountains, Wizard Island and Phantom Ship
  • More info: Rim Drive

Driving this 33-mile scenic highway is the best way to experience the beauty of the lake and get great photos of it. The drive follows the caldera rim around Crater Lake.

Along the highway, there are several observation points with parking areas where you can stop and admire stunning views in every direction of the lake and surrounding area.

2. Wizard Island

  • Type of attraction: Natural
  • Distance from Annie Spring Entrance: 5 miles
  • Cost: Boat tour is $42 (2 hours), $57 (5 hours), $32 (4-hour shuttle)
  • What you’ll see/do: Fishing, swimming, hiking among 800-year old trees
  • More info: Wizard Island
Wizard Island Crater Lake

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

Named for its resemblance to a wizard’s hat, Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone at the west end of Crater Lake. The only way to get to it is by taking a boat tour from the bottom of Cleetwood Cove Trail.

On the island, you can swim, fish and hike. The boat tours offer you intriguing history and folklore about the island as well as different views of the lake.

3. Phantom Ship

  • Type of attraction: Rock formation
  • Distance from Annie Spring Entrance: 5 miles
  • Cost: Free with park entrance fee
  • What you’ll see/do: Huge rock formation that resembles a ship
  • More info: Phantom Ship
Phantom Ship rock formation

Phantom Ship rock formation in Crater Lake

Phantom Ship is an island at the southeast part of Crater Lake featuring a 400,000-year-old rock formation that makes the island resemble a ship that’s about the size of a 16-story building.

During fog or low light visibility, the rock formation seems to appear and disappear like a ghost ship. Two of the best places to view Phantom Ship is from the Sun Notch trail or Phantom Ship Overlook off of Rim Drive.

4. The Old Man of the Lake

  • Type of attraction: Natural
  • Distance from Annie Spring Lake: Location changes with the wind
  • Cost: Free with park entrance fee
  • What you’ll see/do: A floating, century-old tree stump
  • More info: The Old Man of the Lake

This attraction is not some old man but a 30-foot long tree stump that’s been floating in the lake for more than 100 years. The sun-washed “head” part that bobs above the water is about two feet in diameter and four feet above the surface.

An urban legend claims that the tree can control the weather because when a submarine crew tied up the tree, the weather went from clear to stormy.

When the tree was released, the weather cleared up again. You might see the Old Man during a boat tour.

5. Plaikni Falls

  • Type of attraction: Nature
  • Distance from Annie Spring Entrance: 7 miles
  • Cost: Free with park entrance fee
  • What you’ll see/do: Waterfall
  • More info: Plaikni Falls

Plaikni Falls became Crater Lake’s newest attraction in 2011 when a newly constructed trail made its existence known to visitors.

The source of this gushing waterfall is purely snowmelt and not the lake. You can reach Plaikni Falls from an easy, one-mile trail off of Rim Drive nearby the Phantom Drive Overlook.

Crater Lake hiking

11 Crater Lake Hikes

1. Cleetwood Cove Trail

  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Skill level: Moderate to hard
  • Features: Steep dirt path that leads to the lakeshore and has toilets and benches
  • What you’ll see: Crater Lake and boat dock with tour boat operations

If you want to take a boat tour on Crater Lake or walk along the shoreline, Cleetwood Cove trail is the only legal way to get there. You’ll find the trail about 11 miles from Rim Village on East Rim Drive.

This trail is not recommended for mobility-impaired visitors because it features a steep grade. Going down it is fine, but coming back up is challenging.

For this reason, there are benches along the trail so that you can rest if needed. There are toilets at the beginning and end of the trail.

Check out this guide to hiking Crater Lake National Park.

2. Mount Scott

  • Distance: 4.2 miles
  • Skill level: Moderate
  • Features: Steep, maintained trail with four switchbacks
  • What you’ll see: Amazing views of Crater Lake and Cascade mountains

This steep, out-and-back trail takes you up to Crater Lake’s highest point, Mount Scott, which peaks at nearly 9,000 feet. It features a well-maintained path with four switchbacks.

Along the way, you’ll enjoy breathtaking scenery at every turn. Once you reach the summit, you can take in unsurpassed views of the entire lake and the white-peaked Cascade mountains in the distance. To reach the Mount Scott trail, you’ll need to hike a couple of miles from the Rim Drive trailhead.

3. Union Peak Hike

  • Distance: 9.8 miles
  • Skill level: Moderate
  • Features: Long, steep climb through the forest
  • What you’ll see: Beautiful landscapes

If you’re fit and have about five to six hours to spare, the Union Peak hike offers you a good workout with incredible views. It’s also a good alternative hike when the Mount Scott trail is crowded.

The Union Peak trail is a long, steady climb through the forest to the peak, but the views along the way and at the top are well worth it.

4. Watchman Peak Trail

  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Skill level: Moderate
  • Features: Steady, uphill trail with switchbacks
  • What you’ll see: Views of Crater Lake, Wizard Island, mountains and a historic fire lookout tower

Beginning at the Watchman Overlook parking lot off Rim Drive, this trail is a steady, uphill hike with switchbacks along the west rim of the crater.

Along the way, you can enjoy beautiful views of Crater Lake and Wizard Island as well as the surrounding mountains and Klamath Basin. The trail finishes up by a historic 1932 fire lookout tower.

5. Lightning Spring Trail

  • Distance: 8.4 miles
  • Skill level: Moderate
  • Features: Lightly trafficked, out and back trail
  • What you’ll see: Meadows, grazing deer, wildflowers

Located nearby Crater Lake camping, the Lightning Spring trail loops around several meadows on the way to the Lightning Spring creek. Along the meadows, you’re likely to see wildflowers and grazing deer.

You’ll find the trailhead at the Lightning Spring picnic area off West Rim Drive between the Discovery Point and Watchman observation points.

6. Castle Crest Wildflower Garden

  • Distance: 0.50 miles
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Features: Nature walk through meadows
  • What you’ll see: Summer wildflowers

The easiest trail in the park, the Castle Crest Wildflower Garden trail is a half-mile nature walk to a large meadow that is bursting in summer wildflowers, especially in July and August. The trail begins at East Rim Road near Park Headquarters.

7. Plaikni Falls

  • Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Features: Dirt path through fir and hemlock forest
  • What you’ll see: Waterfall, wildflowers and wildlife

One of the most popular trails in the national park, the Plaikni Falls trail leads through an old-growth forest of fir and hemlock trees to the hidden gem of a lush waterfall. Along the way, you’re likely to see a variety of wildflowers as well as the occasional chipmunk or marmot.

This one-mile hike is easy and suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, but you should know it is a dirt path that gets a little steep as it approaches the waterfall. You can access the trail off of Rim Drive just a mile south of the Phantom Ship Overlook.

8. Garfield Peak Trail

  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Skill level: Moderate
  • Features: Fairly steep climb to Garfield Peak
  • What you’ll see: Views of Crater Lake, Phantom Ship, and Wizard Island

Offering unique views of Crater Lake, Wizard Island and Phantom Ship, this trail is somewhat steep, gaining about 1,000 feet in elevation as it climbs to Garfield Peak.

Some visitors enjoy taking this trail in the late afternoon to admire the changing colors out over the lake. You’ll find the start of the trail nearby the Crater Lake Lodge.

9. Godfrey Glen Trail

  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Features: Wheelchair-accessible loop through the forest
  • What you’ll see: Canyon views

Godfrey Glen Trail is a one-mile loop that is perfect for everyone since it’s a completely wheelchair-accessible trail. Beginning on Munson Valley Road between Park Headquarters and Mazama Village, the trail meanders through old-growth fir and hemlock forest and offers amazing canyon views.

10. Pinnacles Trail

  • Distance: 1 miles
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Features: Flat, wide trail nearby cliffs
  • What you’ll see: Volcanic spires known as the Pinnacles

This wide, flat trail makes for an easy, pleasant hike for all ages and skill levels.

Beginning at the end of the road by the Crater Lake camping site, Lost Creek, the Pinnacles Trail takes you along the rim of Pinnacle Valley where you’ll see the intriguing volcanic spires from which the valley and trail are named. You’ll need to take caution when walking near the cliffs on this trail.

11. Sun Notch Trail

  • Distance: 0.8 miles
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Features: Gravel path with benches
  • What you’ll see: Best views of Phantom Ship

Offering the best views of the Phantom Ship rock formation, the Sun Notch trail is a short, easy hike that is accessible to wheelchair users with assistance.

The trail features a gravel path that loops off Rim Drive just four miles from Park Headquarters. You’ll find benches along the trail to relax. You can also enjoy great views of the lake from this trail.


Crater Lake Weather: When to Visit

Summer is the best time to explore Crater Lake because the roads are all open and temperatures are comfortable. Summer is also a good time to go hiking and see wildflowers. It’s also the only time you can take boat tours on the lake and visit Wizard Island.

Here are the best times to visit Crater Lake National Park:

  • Best time for trails to be open: Summer (June to September)
  • Best time for boat tours on the lake: Summer (June to September)
  • Best time for hiking and biking: May to September
  • Best time for avoiding crowds: Winter (November to March)
  • Best time for winter activities: November to April

Winter in Crater Lake National Park usually begins in September and lasts through June with heavy snowfall occurring between October and May, causing some park roads to close until late spring.

The coldest month is January when the average high is around 35 °F (2 °C), and the average low is about 19° F ( – 7° C). Cold night temperatures don’t rise above the freezing mark until about June.

The good thing about all the snow in the park is that it offers a winter playground with plenty of snow activities like skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and snowboarding just to name a few.

Summers in the park are between June and September with no snowfall and little to no rainfall. The park’s warmest month is August when the average high is around 70° F (21°), and the average low is typically 41° F (5° C).

Crater Lake Weather: Monthly Averages

January Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 35° / 19° F (1° / – 7° C)
  • Average rainfall: 9 inches
  • Average snowfall: 86 inches

February Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 35° / 19° F (2° / – 8° C)
  • Average rainfall: 8 inches
  • Average snowfall: 74 inches

March Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 38° / 20° F (3°/ – 7° C)
  • Average rainfall: 7 inches
  • Average snowfall: 73 inches

April Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 42° / 23° F ( 5°/ – 5° C)
  • Average rainfall: 5 inches
  • Average snowfall: 49 inches

May Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 49° / 28° F (10°/ – 2° C)
  • Average rainfall: 4 inches
  • Average snowfall: 17 inches

June Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 58° / 33° F (14°/ 1° C)
  • Average rainfall: 2 inches
  • Average snowfall: 4 inches

July Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 69° / 41° F ( 20°/ 5° C)
  • Average rainfall: 1 inches
  • Average snowfall: 0 inches

August Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 70° / 41° F ( 21°/ 5° C)
  • Average rainfall: 1 inches
  • Average snowfall: 0 inches

September Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 63°/ 36° F (17°/ 2° C)
  • Average rainfall: 2 inches
  • Average snowfall: 3 inches

October Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 52° / 30° F (11°/ -1° C)
  • Average rainfall: 4 inches
  • Average snowfall: 17 inches

November Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 38°/ 23° F ( 3°/ – 5° C)
  • Average rainfall: 10 inches
  • Average snowfall: 71 inches

December Weather in Crater Lake

  • Average high/low temperature: 34° / 19° F (1°/ -7° C)
  • Average rainfall: 11 inches
  • Average snowfall: 93 inches

Crater Lake National Park

About Crater Lake National Park

Is Crater Lake a national park?

Yes, Crater Lake is a national park.

Established in 1902, Crater Lake is one of the oldest national parks in the USA and the only national park in the state of Oregon.

The national park is named after a lake that was formed from the collapse of a volcano known as Mount Mazama.

What is so special about Crater Lake?

Crater Lake is like a magical place because of its vibrant blue water that mirrors the clouds and snowy mountain peaks on a summer’s day.

Adding to that magic are the two mysterious islands in the lake. The history of how the lake was formed from a violent volcanic eruption thousands of years ago also makes it an intriguing place.

Can you drive through Crater Lake National Park?

Yes, there are roads to drive on through the national park. One road of particular interest is Rim Drive which offers you a scenic drive around the beautiful Crater Lake.

There is also a driveway that leads you down to the lakeshore, but it’s only open during the summer. Keep in mind that during the winter, heavy snowfall can cause some roads to close.

What can you do in Crater Lake National Park?

Winter or summer, there is plenty to do in Crater National Park.

Summer offers activities like hiking, biking, fishing, cliff-jumping, scenic drives, boat tours, wildflowers and waterfall viewing, winery visits, and Crater Lake camping.

In the winter, the park and many of its trails become a winter playground where you can enjoy downhill skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, fat tire biking, and ranger-guided snowshoe walks.

What should you not miss in Crater Lake?

Attractions you don’t want to miss in Crater Lake National Park include:

  1. Crater Lake, the dazzling star of the show
  2. Phantom Ship, a mysterious rock formation shaped like a ghost ship
  3. Wizard Island, a volcanic island shaped like a wizard hat
  4. Old Man of the Lake, a century-old floating tree
  5. Plaikni Falls, a beautiful, gushing waterfall
Phantom Ship Crater Lake

Where can I hike in Crater Lake?

Crater Lake offers more than 90 miles of hiking trails that range from easy to difficult.

Some trails offer fantastic views of Crater Lake and the surrounding mountains while others lead to waterfalls, meadows teeming with wildflowers, and historic structures.

Are you allowed to swim in Crater Lake?

Yes, swimming is allowed in Crater Lake but only at Cleetwood Cove and Wizard Island.

The water is so cold that most people can only swim for a few seconds or minutes at a time.

How deep is Crater Lake?

At 1,949 feet deep (594 meters) Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.

On a side note, the deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Russia. It is an estimated 5,347 feet deep (1,642 meters) and, by volume) it is also the world's largest freshwater lake.

Both of these lakes make Africa's largest lake look like a puddle, by comparison. Lake Victoria is a mere 276 feet deep (84 meters).

Why is Crater Lake so deep?

The remarkable depth of Crater Lake is due to the 4,000-foot-deep caldera that formed more than 7,000 years ago when the Mount Mazama volcano collapsed into itself.

When should I visit Crater Lake?

This depends on what you wish to see and do. If you want to take boat tours on the lake, scenic drives and enjoy Crater Lake camping under the stars, you should visit during the summer (June to September).

If you’re a lover of snow activities like skiing, sledding and snowshoeing, visiting the park in the winter is a great idea since the park has lots of snow about 7 months out of the year (October to May).

Are there sharks in Crater Lake?

No, there are no sharks in Crater Lake, so you don’t need to worry about swimming face to face with one.

Is Crater Lake still active?

The crater that comprises the lake is dormant and has been for about 5,000 to 6,000 years.

Will Crater Lake erupt again?

It’s possible that the volcano can grow back and erupt again, but that would probably be far into the future.

What is the deepest lake in USA?

If you guessed Crater Lake, you are correct. The lake has been measured at 1,949 feet deep.

Can you swim in Little Crater Lake?

Little Crater Lake is not in Crater Lake National Park. This spring-fed lake is located in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, and swimming is not allowed in it.

Can you take a boat on Crater Lake?

You can take a boat tour on Crater Lake, but you can’t bring your own boat because there’s no way to get it to the lake. The boats that are in the lake now for tour operations were delivered by helicopter.

Can you dive in Crater Lake?

Scuba diving, along with snorkeling and long-distance swimming, is not allowed in Crater Lake.

The reason for this prohibition is because the water in Crater Lake is so cold that it could be too dangerous for these underwater activities.

How deep can you see in Crater Lake?

Well, you can see the entirety of the floating tree trunk known as the Old Man of the Lake. This tree trunk is 30 feet long, so you can see at least that deep or more.

What is the deepest part of Crater Lake?

Crater Lake measures 1,949 feet at its deepest part which is on the west end of the lake. This section of the lake happens to be where Wizard Island is located.

Are there fish in Crater Lake?

Yes, there are fish in Crater Lake such as rainbow trout and kokanee salmon.

If you plan to go fishing in the lake, you don’t need a fishing license, but you’re only allowed to use artificial flies and lures.

How much snow does Crater Lake get?

On average, Crater Lake receives an annual snowfall of 43 feet (13 m) per year. That’s a lot of snow!

Winter here usually begins in September and lasts through to June with nearly 100 days of measurable snowfall.

Can you get to Crater Lake in the winter?

You can visit Crater Lake National Park in the winter, but you can’t get to the lake itself when the Rim Drive and north entrance road are closed due to snow.

The south and west entrances are snow-plowed daily to allow for vehicles to enter the park throughout the year.

What animals live in Crater Lake?

You can see a variety of birds that include bald eagles, hawks, Canadian geese, spotted owls, and Peregrine falcons.

The forested slopes of the park are home to mammals such as deer, elk, black bears, bobcats, chipmunks, foxes, squirrels and porcupines. The lake itself has salmon and rainbow trout and is the native home of the Mazama newt.

Can you hike on Wizard Island?

Yes, there are two hiking trails on Wizard Island. One of them switchbacks up the island’s cone and circles around its crater. The other trail winds from the boat dock outward to the western part of the island.

Is Crater Lake a volcano?

Crater Lake is the basin of a volcano. The crater that holds the lake was formed after the Mount Mazama volcano erupted, and its 12,000-foot peak collapsed into itself.

Can you hike around Crater Lake?

Yes, you can hike around Crater Lake. Along the 33-mile Rim Drive, there are several viewing areas with trailheads where you can park your car and go for a hike.

How tall is Wizard Island?

The top of Wizard Island ranges 6,933 feet above sea level. And sits about 755 feet above Crater Lake’s surface level.

What time does Crater Lake park close?

Crater National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round, but during the winter, some entrances and trails may be closed due to heavy snowfall.

What is the closest airport to Crater Lake?

The closest airport to Crater Lake is Klamath Falls Airport (63 miles). After that, the Medford Airport is 75 miles away.

Crater Lake West entrance sign

How many entrances does Crater Lake National Park have?

Crater Lake National Park has three entrances: West, South and North.

Where do I enter Crater Lake?

You can enter the Crater Lake National Park by vehicle via the following:

  1. From the south (Klamath Falls), connect to Highway 62 to from Highway 97 and follow the signs to the park’s South Entrance.
  2. From the west (Medford), take Highway 62 to the park’s West Entrance.
  3. From the north (Eugene or Portland), connect to Highway 138 by taking Highway 58 to Highway 97 and following Highway 138 to the park’s North Entrance. Keep in mind, this entrance may be closed due to snow. If so, you can enter through either the South or West Entrance which can be accessed by the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 138.

Which Crater Lake entrance is best?

This depends on which direction you’re traveling. However, the north entrance is often closed in the winter due to snow. The west and south entrances are kept plowed daily for vehicles.

Is there cell service in Crater Lake?

Unfortunately, you'll find cell service is limited in Crater Lake National Park.

Camping Crater Lake

Camping at Crater Lake

Can you camp at Crater Lake?

Yes, you can enjoy Crater Lake camping inside the national park. There is one campground inside the park.

There are also backcountry sites available inside the park where you can camp as long as you have a permit.

How much does it cost to camp at Crater Lake?

At the park's only open campground, Mazama Campground, you can get a tent site for $21, an RV site with no hookups for $31, an RV site with electric hookups for $36, or an RV site with full hookups for $42.

What is the best Crater Lake campground?

Mazama Campground is the only Crater Lake camping available inside the park.

There are several others just outside the park that range from primitive tent sites to RV campgrounds where you can enjoy a variety of outdoor fun such as Toketee Campground.

Do you need a permit to camp in Crater Lake?

You only need a permit if you plan on Crater Lake camping overnight in the backcountry. You can obtain a permit in person at Park Headquarters.

Does it cost money to go to Crater Lake?

There is an entrance fee to get inside the park which you’ll need to pay at the entrance station.

  • Private, non-commercial vehicles: $25 (May 22 to October 31) or $15 (November 1 to May 21)
  • Motorcycles: $20 (May 22 to October 31) or $15 (November 1 to May 21)
  • Pedestrians and bicycles: $12 per individual

These entrance fees are good for a 7-day period beginning the day of entrance.

For commercial vehicles, the entrance fees are based on the capacity and not the number of passengers.

  • 1 to 6 passenger capacity: $25 plus $5 per passenger
  • 7 to 15 passenger capacity: $75
  • 16 to 25 passenger capacity: $100
  • 26 or more passengers capacity: $200

Does Crater Lake allow dogs?

Yes. Dogs (and other pets) are welcome at Crater Lake National Park but only in certain areas and with restrictions.

Pets are allowed in parking lots, on paved roads, and up to 50 feet away from paved areas, but they must be on a leash no longer than six feet. You are also responsible for immediately picking up and disposing of your pet’s waste in a toilet or trash can.

You can walk your pet in the Mazama Village campground, along the Rim Village promenade, and the following trails:

  • Godfrey Glen Trail
  • Lady of the Woods Trail
  • Grayback Drive
  • Pacific Crest Trail (the main, official PCT, not the alternate Rim Trail)

Only one pet is allowed per hiker. Pets are not allowed on any other trails in the park or in park buildings.

However, service dogs are allowed on park trails and boat tours. Pets are not allowed to be left unattended or tied up outside your vehicle.

Does Crater Lake have water?

Well besides the water in the lake itself, you’ll find drinking water at Park Headquarters, Mazama Village, and Rim Village.

What is the best time to go camping at Crater Lake?

This depends upon what you wish to do while visiting the national park. If you want to fish in the lake or explore the lake by boat tours, you’ll need to visit in the summer (June to September). Also, if you plan to go hiking or biking, you’ll need to go during the summer.

If you want to enjoy all the winter activities available at Crater Lake National Park like snow skiing, snowshoeing and sledding, the winter months are a good time to go.

Read more about winter camping skills and tips.

Camping at Crater Lake National Park

Your Turn

Which Crater Lake campground are you planning to visit? Have a question about your upcoming trip? Join me in the comments!

Meet the Author

Bryan Haines

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GudGear - and is working to make it the best resource for outside gear. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with Bryan and Dena.

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