How does a visit to one of the deepest, bluest, and clearest lakes in the world sound? How about a park with a legend behind it that leads some to still regard it as sacred?
RV Camping near Crater Lake National Park offers stunning landscapes, remarkably scenic drives, and an abundance of trails situated around a truly unique natural wonder. It has all the makings of an unforgettable adventure with a rich history that only adds to the mystique.
Read on for all you’ll need to know to enjoy the best that Crater Laker has to offer!
Crater Lake National Park Facts
There’s a ton of depth to this beautiful destination with plenty to learn. Before we dive any deeper, get up to speed with these quick Crater Lake National Park facts.
Crater Lake is so named for its remarkable depth. At 1,943 feet (592 meters) down, it’s the deepest lake in America.
The park was formed 7,700 years ago when the Mount Mazama volcano erupted and collapsed. Today, the park is situated in a massive volcanic basin.
You can see remnants of that eruption, even today. Wizard Island, on the west side of the lake, rises over the water and is composed of black volcanic rock.
The lake is a spectacular hue of blue since it is nearly all collected rainwater. That means no sediment from running rivers contaminates it. And the volcanic rock that makes up the base of the lake is mostly insoluble in water.
The eruption story is a legendary piece of Native American folklore. Even today, some Native Americans choose not to view the lake and regard it as a religious spot.
Best Crater Lake National Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
There are a lot of options for RV parks near Crater Lake National Park. Read our handy guide below to see what works best for your journey.
Amenities: With 74 sites available in an old-growth forest and situated near the spot that formed Crater Lake, Mazama campground is a great choice for an RV campground in Crater Lake National Park. Each site has a fire ring, picnic table, and food locker. Only 18 electric hookups are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mazama Campground only operates in the summer from June to September.
Capacity: 74 RV sites (18 electric hookups available)
More information: Mazama Campground
Big Pines RV Park
Amenities: Big Pines offers spacious campgrounds with a comforting sense of privacy courtesy of its tall trees surrounding all the sites. Some sites are shaded and others are in the sun, so be sure to mention any preferences when booking. There are two shower rooms, a coin laundry center, and a personal picnic table at each site.
All Crater Lake National Park RV sites include electric, gas, and sewer hookups plus free WiFi for your RV.
Capacity: 63 mostly pull-through sites
More information: Big Pines RV Park
Prospect RV Park
Amenities: For warm and welcoming RV parks near Crater Lake National Park with plenty to see and do, look no further than Prospect RV Park! Each site comes with its own fire pit and is nestled within fir, cedar, and redwood trees for comfort and privacy. The park holds specials events on Saturdays at their group fire pit. Enjoy s’mores, lemonade, and country music, all for free! Check out the area immediately surrounding the park for hiking trails, fishing and more!
Capacity: 57 RV sites. Full hookups and free WiFi at all sites.
More information: Prospect RV Park
Thielsen View Campground
Amenities: Looking for Crater Lake National Park RV campgrounds with a vast array of activities nearby? Thielsen View Campground’s got you covered! Try mountain biking, hunting, climbing, water sports in the summer, snow sports in the winter, horse riding, scenic drives, a ton of trails and much more. It’s the perfect choice for the camper who wants everything they need at arm’s reach.
Capacity: 60 RV sites. The max RV length is 35 feet.
More information: Thielsen View Campground
Diamond Lake RV Park
Amenities: Conveniently located seven miles away from the park, Diamond Lake is a great choice for RV camping near Crater Lake National Park. It has easy access to Crater Lake’s north entrance. And it features full hookups at all sites, a laundry room, showers, and restrooms. Bring your rod and tackle, and be sure to check out the fishing options on the lake itself. Land some rainbow, tiger, or brown trout and take it home! The park offers snowmobile rentals in winter for fun all across the seasons!
Capacity: 110 RV sites with full hookups available
More information: Diamond Lake RV Park
Best Time to Visit Crater Lake National Park for RV Camping
The park is open all day, every season. But, snowed-in roads and treacherous conditions make certain periods a bit more difficult to visit. Read on for our recommendations on the best time to visit Crater Lake National Park.
Anywhere from 16 to 50 feet of snow falls on Crater Lake National Park every year. These high levels of snowfall forces all roads north of the park headquarters closed for winter. The road leading to the north entrance is converted to a snowmobile trail and the others on Rim Drive are reserved for skiing and snowshoeing. To avoid these closures altogether, plan your visit before mid-October or after mid-July.
If you don’t mind a romp off the beaten path, this season can be great to avoid crowds and admire some remarkable, pristine winter scenery. Just remember that it comes with certain risks. So, please plan your Crater Lake National Park RV camping adventure carefully!
Take some time to educate yourself about avalanches and avoiding difficult terrain. The park is known to be littered with snow cornices—a deceptive buildup of snow that hangs over the edge of solid ground. And stay clear of tree trunks to avoid falling into a tree well—a hole formed when snow fails to fill in the space around a tree’s roots.
The low temperatures drop well below freezing at night, so bundle up!
Spring might conjure up images of fresh flower beds, greenery, and newly budding plants. But at Crater Lake, heavy snow extends well into April and early May. In mid-May, the temperature finally starts to turn, and you can avoid sub-freezing nights. May and June have been known to have alternating days of rain and snow.
Still, a trip in May might offer you a pleasant winter RV experience with slightly milder temperatures. You can try snowshoeing or skiing since the park in this season is almost identical to winter. The crowd sizes are guaranteed to be low if you’d like to enjoy some healing solitude. It’s a unique atmosphere that’s tough to replicate.
Do keep in mind that many roads are inaccessible and camping is not an option, just like winter.
Summer’s are short at the park and usually the most popular time to visit for Crater Lake National Park RV camping. With an average temperature around 55 degrees F (13 degrees C), the sweet spot rests somewhere between July and August. These months also have the lowest average rainfall for a warm and dry stay.
This is the most popular time to visit, so expect crowds and be sure to book early. Summer offers a ton of things to do, full accessibility to the park, with the option to camp in the backcountry.
Enjoy the various trails at a comfortable temperature, a boat ride to Wizard Island, and seeing Crater Lake. The surface temperature of the lake in summer is perfect for a swim, too. Don’t miss out on enjoying a dip into some of the cleanest waters in the country!
With no shortage of stunning fall foliage and relatively mild temperatures, Fall is a fantastic time to visit. The lake’s bright blue becomes surrounded by scores of brilliant golden leaves around mid to late October. There are also plenty of chances to get a bird’s eye view of the foliage from the park’s many high viewpoints.
Crowd size isn’t as big as summer, but this is still a popular period to visit. Booking early and planning appropriately is important here. The park’s roads are all fully accessible for an easy entrance. Just like summer, there are a ton of things to do, but it might be too cold for a dip in the lake.
The fall leaves take on a character of their own and make walking the trails a marvelous sight to see. Don’t overlook a visit this season!
Things to do in Crater Lake National Park
Watch the sunrise. The edge of Crater Lake is an amazing place to watch the sky. Check out Discovery Point for an unobstructed view of the new dawn coming.
Swim on the shores of Cleetwood Cove. Follow the 2.2-mile-long Cleetwood Cove trail for the only access to the lake itself for swimming and fishing in the summer. July through September offers the highest surface temperature. Keep in mind that this route has some steep, rocky terrain and will take about one and a half hours in each direction.
Take it easy on one of many peaceful hiking trails. Try the Sun Notch Trail for views of the Phantom Ship, a remnant of volcanic rock jutting out from the lake. Walk the Pinnacles Trail to spot towering volcanic spires formed in the original Mazama eruption. Spot the Lady in the Woods, a sculpture of a woman’s likeness carved into stone, on an easy 30-minute walk.
Go for a scenic drive. Rim Drive, the loop overlooking Crater Lake’s edge, is one of America’s most scenic drives. Completing the whole thing will take about two to three hours if you stop at the various overlooks, or just one hour for a simple drive through.
Watch the sunset. Watchman Overlook, Cloudcap Overlook and Watchman’s Peak are all great viewpoints to witness the day turn night or enjoy a wonderful view of the moon. Don’t forget to take some star photos! It’s the perfect ending to your trip and one of our most recommended things to do in Crater Lake National Park.
Tips on Visiting Crater Lake National Park
Trails can be hard to follow after snowstorms. That means you should use extra caution when hiking in winter!
Know how to spot dangerous terrain. Winter avalanches in the park are often caused by backpackers crossing dangerous terrain. Do a little research and avoid any signs of danger. One great rule of thumb is avoiding slopes with an incline greater than 30 degrees.
Visitor Centers are closed to protect public health (as of this writing, 10/2020). Come well prepared, know your routes, and be self-sufficient. You can always dial 911 in case of any emergencies—mobile reception is best on Rim Drive.
Supplies are available in communities nearby. Look to Diamond Lake, Chiloquin and Prospect for anything you’ll need.
There are some restrictions on pets. Pets must be leashed at all times. They are allowed on the Lady of the Woods Trail, Grayback Drive and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Photo Credit: Instagram User @jeffhopper
RV Rental for Crater Lake National Park
Well, friend, we hope you’re all set and feeling prepared to tackle all the adventure Crater Lake National Park RV camping has to offer.
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