Please follow the camping rules at Crater Lake

The moment someone crests the rim of Crater Lake for the first time, the view across the caldera is not only memorable, it is truly one of the iconic views within the country’s national parks. And as Oregon’s only national park, it is an important stop for any long-distance hiker or horseback rider along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Camping on the rim of the caldera is not allowed because of its sensitive environment and proximity to the road. Regulations regarding camping at Crater Lake National Park are relatively straightforward but have not always been readily available to long-distance hikers. Crater Lake National Park staff and the Pacific Crest Trail Association are working together to improve the communication of camping regulations to PCT travelers.

Thank you for protecting this very special and popular jewel. [photo: Flickr/cc/Yinghai]

Thank you for protecting this very special and popular jewel. [photo: Flickr/cc/Yinghai]

Dispersed camping in the Park’s backcountry is allowed as long as campsites are at least one mile from the nearest road. It may be tough for a PCT hiker or equestrian to know when they are a mile from the nearest road, so the park and PCTA developed a map clearly highlighting approved camping areas. And, there also are several designated backcountry campsites along the PCT within the Park’s boundaries.

Please be mindful of the regulations when traveling through Crater Lake National Park on the PCT. Certainly take time to enjoy the view across one of the jewels of the High Cascades, but plan accordingly when it comes time to lay out your sleeping bag and put your head down for the night.

Hikers wanting to walk the rim can camp in one of these legal spots:

  • Mazama Village  (mile 1829) – read about the new site built especially for PCT hikers
  • Dutton Camp – just before a northbound hiker reaches the rim (mile 1831)
  • Lightning Spring Camp – near, but appropriately off of the rim (mile 1836)
  • Grouse Hill Camp – just north of the rim (mile 1843)
It's very important that hikers camp only appropriate sites. Click here for a PDF version of this map.

It’s very important that hikers camp only appropriate sites. Click here for a PDF version of this map.

Author: Ian Nelson

Ian Nelson has been the PCTA’s Regional Representative for Northern California/Southern Oregon for more than ten years. He is based in the beautiful Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon and enjoys exploring the many wilderness areas in the region.