Camping is plentiful throughout Central Oregon. If you're a backpacker, your camp can be just about anywhere you choose, but be sure to follow the rules of the jurisdiction (national or state park, national forest or Bureau of Land Management).
If you're looking for more developed camp sites, there are lots of choices. The Deschutes National Forest offers dozens of campgrounds. Only the largest or more notable are listed here. For a complete list, please see the national forest's main campground page.
Please note: Reservations through the state park system require payment in full upfront.
- Tumalo State Park, about six miles west of Bend, offers Deschutes River access, with both tent sites and yurts that can be reserved online.
- Elk Lake Campground, in the Cascade Lakes area near Mt. Bachelor about 30 miles from Bend, has a boat ramp and 21 campsites. No RV hookups or disposal, no reservations.
- Smith Rock State Park offers a walk-in bivouac camping area with solar showers. Camping is first-come/first-served, no online reservations. No fires are allowed.
- Jasper Point campground, 14 miles from Prineville. Through Sept. 30 2009, the state of Oregon is offering a coupon for a free camp night (weeknights only) at selected campgrounds, including Jasper Point, when you pay for two nights. Online reservations aren't offered here.
- Prineville Reservoir State Park offers cabins, showers, and water/electrical hookups as well as tent sites. You can make a reservation online.
- Bend Sisters Garden RV Resort is an urban type of campground just outside town featuring long pull-through RV sites, cabins, a swimming pool, wifi, mini golf and DVD rentals as well as a camp store.
- Camp Sherman, along the Metolius River, offers 13 camp sites, no RV hookups or disposal. Camp sites can be reserved online.
- Smiling River campground is near Camp Sherman and also located along the Metolius River. Its 35 sites can be reserved online. Both Camp Sherman and Smiling River are near the Camp Sherman Store for supplies.
- Graham Corral is a horse camp about eight miles from Sisters, near Black Butte Ranch resort, with 13 camp sites arranged around four corrals .
- South Shore campground, on Suttle Lake, offers 38 sites, most of which have a view of the lake. Sites can be reserved online .
- La Pine State Park, 27 miles southwest of Bend, offers rustic and deluxe cabins as well as full hookups and a meeting hall. Reservations are accepted online. Through Dec. 31, 2009, one deluxe and one rustic cabin are designated as pet-friendly. Up to two pets are accepted for an extra fee of $10 per night.
- The Cove Palisades State Park on the shores of Lake Billy Chinook offers boat moorage and a few deluxe cabins, showers, and a reservable group tent for up to 25 people as well as the usual tent sites and water/electrical hookups.
Crater Lake is a popular side trip from Bend. The park has two campgrounds, Mazama and Lost Creek. Mazama has 200 sites and generally opens about mid-June; about half the sites can be reserved by calling 1-888-774-2728. Lost Creek has 16 sites (tents only) and usually opens about mid-July; no reservations.
The national park also has the Crater Lake Lodge hotel and the Mazama Motor Inn.
Looking for horse camps?
There are 15 horse camps in the Deschutes and Ochocos National Forests in Central Oregon. Most are small with few sites.
Certified weed-free hay is required for any horse camp or day ride in the national forests, as well as in Crooked River National Grasslands. In Deschutes County, it is available from several producers. Commercially processed feed such as pellets is also acceptable.