Crater Lake National Park has only one large campground within park borders (as well as one tiny first come, first served site), so during peak season, it fills up quickly. Sadly my friends and I were not among those who planned ahead enough to reserve their spot early, so we had to find a place to stay outside of the park.
Fortunately, the area is surrounded by independently owned and operated campgrounds, so finding a place was easy. The downside? All these campgrounds are located at least a solid 40 minutes drive from everything to see and do in the park, and the closest gas station is equally far away, so plan accordingly!
Here we are setting up camp in Union Creek Campground!
This was a nice campground. Heavily wooded, and large sites with fire pits and a picnic table. The facilities are fairly primitive though, so be prepared for pit toilets, no sinks, and no electrical outlets for charging cameras. There is running water from spigots however, and the campground host has firewood available for purchase.
Bears are a non-issue at this campground so you don’t have to worry about your safety, however you still shouldn’t leave food out at night (as my friend discovered), because you will wake up to find this:
Inside Crater Lake, near the Mazama Campground, you can find a gas station (everyone says the gas inside national parks is expensive, but it cost less here than it did back home in LA, so we were all excited), a general store, a gift shop, and a restaurant. We were able to purchase some freshly brewed coffee here before setting out on our day’s adventures!
The general store also had a large selection of beers, including many local brews. Naturally a sampler pack had to be purchased for my friend Matt and myself, our group’s resident beer drinkers.
No camping trip is complete without roasting hot dogs over a fire!
For those whose idea of roughing it means having spotty cell reception and no easy access to a big city, staying at the Crater Lake Lodge might be more your style. The historic lodge is quite elegant, and features large fireplaces in the lobby, a bar, a fancy restaurant, and a patio with rocking chairs overlooking the lake.
We popped in to check it out…
I bought a pint of a local beer, called I ❤ Oregon ale, to enjoy out on the patio. Feelin’ pretty classy…
Post beer, we grabbed a couple appetizers from the restaurant.
The soft pretzel with beer cheese fondue was amazing!
But alas, the lodge is not within our budget (plus we just really like camping). And cooking your own food is more fun anyways!
We have a camping breakfast tradition in my group that is both fun and delicious. Plus it uses minimal dishes, which is always a win!
Can(s) of uncooked biscuits (such as the kind made by Pillsbury), Cinnamon, Sugar, Butter
Wrap uncooked biscuit around the end of a stick or skewer so it won’t fall off, roast over the fire until cooked through.
Melt butter in a metal tin over the fire or camp stove. Place cinnamon and sugar in a second metal tin.
Roll freshly cooked, hot biscuit in melted butter, and then in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Eat while still warm. Repeat until full.
** Buy more biscuits than you think you will need, for the fire will inevitably claim the lives of a few. And also store uncooked biscuits in a water-tight container inside the ice chest. Trying to cook water-logged biscuits is nearly impossible**
Have any camp recipes you love? Post them in the comments below! I am always looking for new recipes to try out on camping trips!