Summer Backcountry Camping


The best time to backcountry camp or hike the trails at Crater Lake is mid-July through September. The backpacking season is short due to long, snowy winters. Lower elevation trails become snow-free in late June. Some higher-elevation trails typically remain covered by snow until mid-July. During the summer fire season, trail closures may occur and smoke from area wildfires can impact air quality and visibility.


Designated Backcountry Campsites

There are five designated backcountry campsites within the park. The sites are primitive in nature and provide only a flat area for tents. Sites are assigned with your backcountry permit on a first come, first served basis.

Designated Sites

Number of Campsites


Reliable Water

Often Crowded

Campfires Allowed

View of Lake

Bybee Creek


5,494 feet





Dutton Creek


6,058 feet


Grouse Hill
for PCT hikers


6,614 feet





Lightning Springs


6,890 feet





Red Cone Springs


6,259 feet


Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping is allowed with a permit under these conditions:

  • You must be at least 1 mile from any maintained road or developed area.
  • You must be at least 100 feet from any water source or meadow.
  • You must be out of sight of all trails, and other campers.
  • Campfires are prohibited while using dispersed camping areas.

Areas Closed to Camping in Summer

To ensure the enjoyment of all visitors, protect fragile resources, and ensure visitor safety, some areas of the park are closed to camping. Check out our Camping Restriction Map for areas that are closed to camping.

Summer camping is prohibited:

  • Inside the 33-mile Rim Drive that encircles Crater Lake.There is no camping in the summer with a lake view.
  • Along any of the park's main day-hiking trails.
  • Within 1 mile of any developed area or park road open to vehicular traffic, except in designated campgrounds.
  • Within ¼ mile of Boundary Springs, Sphagnum Bog, or Thousand Springs.

Trip Ideas

Please note that there is no hiking trail that encircles Crater Lake in the summer.

Large PCT Loop Distance: 30 miles
Hike a segment of the West Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Route passes by the following designated campsites: Grouse Hill, Red Cone Springs, Bybee Creek, and Dutton Creek (with a possible stop at Lightning Springs).

Small PCT Loop Distance: 24.8 miles
Hike a segment of the West Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Route passes by the following designated campsites: Lightning Springs, Grouse Hill, Red Cone Springs, and Bybee Creek.

Dutton/Lightning Loop Distance:12.8 miles
Hike a small segment of the West Rim Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Route passes by Lightning Springs and Dutton Creek campsites.

Bald Crater Loop Distance: 20.3 miles
Hike a small segment of the Pacific Crest Trail and branch off to loop around Bald Crater, passing by Sphagnum Bog (no camping allowed), and Red Cone Springs campsite.

Union Peak/Stuart Falls Distance: 22.4 miles
Hike two segments of the Pacific Crest Trail, branch off to climb Union Peak, and then continue on the PCT to Stuart Falls. This hike is out and back, with no loop option.

Dispersed Camping Distance: Varies
Crater Peak, South of Grayback Drive, East Scotts Bluffs, Anderson Bluffs.

Sunlight moving through a cloud of smoke from the 2017 Spruce Lake fire.

Fire Danger

During the summer months, fire danger can increase to extreme levels. Campfires are prohibited in the park's backcountry. Always use caution when using backpacking stoves and do so only by following current rules and regulations. Temporary fire restrictions or area closures may be in place during increased wildland fire activity. Check with the backcountry office, 541-594-3060, for the most up to date fire restrictions and area closures.

Last updated: October 2, 2022

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604


541 594-3000

Contact Us