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Crater Lake Camping: Everything You Need to Know

A deep blue lake surrounded by mountain tops with a small, tree-covered island in the middle

Unsplash/Hasmik Ghazaryan

Camping in Crater Lake National Park is one of the best ways to see this natural wonder. The Parks Expert’s Crater Lake Camping Guide includes everything you need to know, from reservations to operating seasons and more. This guide includes the two campgrounds in Crater Lake National Park as well as options for backcountry camping near Crater Lake. 

Last updated on July 14, 2021. This post contains affiliate links.

What to Pack for Camping in Crater Lake

A map and other planning materials for camping in Crater Lake National Park

Unsplash/Kal Visuals

Crater Lake Camping Reservations

Mazama Campground: Crater Lake Camping reservations can be made online or over the phone (866-292-6720) through Crater Lake Hospitality. Reservations are only accepted from July to September. Otherwise, there are some sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Lost Creek Campground: Reservations are not accepted.

Light snow covers Crater Lake and Wizard Island

Unsplash/James Fitzgerald

Crater Lake Camping Regulations

  • Check-in is between 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. Check-out is 12 p.m.
  • Generators are allowed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Campsites can accommodate a maximum of 6 people and 2 vehicles. 
  • Camping in Crater Lake is limited to 30 days within the calendar year.
  • You cannot stay more than 14 consecutive days in the same campground.
  • Leave all scented items, especially food, in food storage containers to prevent habituated or food-conditioned bears. New to bear country? Check out my tips for bear safety in national parks.

Crater Lake Campgrounds

There are only two campgrounds in Crater Lake National Park. Both are open seasonally. This means they are only open during summer and may be open during the shoulder season, snow-dependent. At 6,000 feet in elevation, these campgrounds see a considerable amount of snow (about 45 feet each year!).

Typically, Mazama Campground is open from June to September with Lost Creek Campground open from July to mid-October. 

Mazama Campground

Two tents and a hammock set up by a fire ring and a picnic table at Mazama, one of the campgrounds in Crater Lake

NPS Photo

Mazama Campground is located about 7 miles from the Rim Village, tucked away into the woods. It’s near the southern entrance of Crater Lake National Park on Highway 62.

There are 214 total campsites in Mazama Campground. Of those, 18 have electrical hookups, 75 sites are for RVs, 121 are tent-only, and 30 are reached on foot. 

While Mazama Campground does not have any cell reception, there is internet connectivity available. Amenities also include a camp store, ice, firewood, laundry, a dump station, potable water, showers, and an amphitheater for ranger-led programming. There’s also a restaurant and a gas station. This is a great campground for those who prefer amenities while camping.

As of July 2021, Crater Lake Camping fees are as follows for Mazama Campground: $5/walk-in site, $21/tent site, $31/RV site without hookups, $36/RV site with electricity, and $42/RV site with full hookups.

Mazama Campground Map

A map of Mazama Campground in Crater Lake with campsites and stores labeled

Crater Lake Hospitality

Lost Creek Campground

A log, picnic table, and food storage bin at a Crater Lake camping site in Lost Creek

NPS Photo

NOTE: Lost Creek Campground is closed for the 2021 season due to Covid-19.

Lost Creek Campground is located on Pinnacles Road, 12 miles from Park Headquarters. It is managed by the National Park Service, not Crater Lake Hospitality. It typically opens in July and closes in mid-October.

This small campground features 16 tent-only sites. The campground can only accommodate tent campers.

Lost Creek is a first-come, first-served campground. Advance reservations are not accepted. The only way to know about campground availability is to check at the campground upon arrival. You should plan on arriving as early as possible – campsites are usually gone by mid-afternoon.  

As of July 2021, the fee for Lost Creek is $5 per night. You may only pay with exact cash or check; credit cards are not accepted. 

Lost Creek is the perfect campground for anyone who prefers a remote, quaint experience. Campers here should prepare to be self-sufficient. There is no potable water, no campfires, and no flush toilets. The only amenities at Lost Creek are trash/recycling bins and food storage containers.

Backcountry Camping in Crater Lake National Park

A snowshoe hiker with red snowshoes sits on the shore of Crater Lake National Park, covered in snow

Unsplash/Rebecca Harris

Backcountry permits are required year-round for backcountry camping in Crater Lake. Permits can only be obtained in person. The Ranger Station is at Park Headquarters near the Steel Visitor Center. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the summer season (June to September) and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the rest of the year. Permits are free of charge.

There are multiple backcountry campsites available in addition to dispersed camping. In summer, you can stay at Bybee Creek, Dutton Creek, Grouse Hill, Lightning Springs, or Red Cone Springs. None of these sites have a lake view.

Dispersed campers have to follow the following Crater Lake Camping regulations:

  • Be at least 1 mile from any road or developed area
  • Stay 100 feet from any water source or meadow
  • You must be out of sight from all trails or hikers
  • Campfires are prohibited 

More information about backcountry camping in Crater Lake is available here.

Pin the Parks Expert’s Crater Lake Camping Guide

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