Elk Lake Campground is a 17-site tent-only campground, located adjacent to the Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wildernesses, is full of beauty in the summer. Wildflowers are a beautiful sight in the campground's meadows around July. Swim or paddle in the quiet waters of the non-motorized lake, go for a great hike with views of multiple Cascade peaks, or just kick back and relax in the campground.
Our first time at Elk Lake Campground. Firstly, until The Dyrt updates the listing, the description and the reviews here are for the Elk Lake Campground by Detroit, OR in the Willamette Nat'l Forest - NOT Elk Lake Campground in the Deschutes Nat'l Forest up past Mt. Bachelor. So my review and photos reflect the Deschutes campground :)
Nice views of the lake, but none are lakeside. There are a few closer to the lake, but most of the sites are on a hillside above the lake. Tough parking if you have anything bigger than a small RV or towable. Traffic direction and site parking angles are such that you have to back in, which means your door will face the road in most cases lakeside. Sites are a little close, and the resort with kayak rentals, store, and rental cabins are right next door, so this is a busy and crowded campground.
If you are hauling kayaks or paddle boards, most sites are a hike to the water entry. The sites up the hill but with lake views are mostly not tent-friendly, as there were not large clear flat areas. Doable, however. There are cabins all along the west side of the lake, and the east side is all day use…it's VERY busy in the summer. There is a marina at the resort, so lots of sailboats, a few pontoon boats, and a few small fishing boats. Lots of water traffic.
It's a good campground, but definitely not at the top of our list. Probably great if you have kids, as there is more "beach" area here than almost any other lake campground we've been to.
Cell service - whether that's a plus or minus, who knows. We went midweek, so were happy we could keep an eye on business emails periodically.
IMO, site 17 is the best for a small RV or trailer, with good views of the lake. 18/19 are close together and smaller, with more trees obstructing the views. 8/9/10/11 are closer to the water, but also close together…better for a group and if you have backing in skills, as there is no turnaround down that row.
TENT CAMPING ONLY - there are about 17 sites. We did an overnight stop here on our way to Bend. It was full of beauty! Swim or paddle in the quiet waters of the non-motorized lake, go for a great hike with views of multiple Cascade peaks, or just kick back and relax in the campground. Pacific Crest Trail one only mile from the campground. The sights are a little close together, not a problem unless they are full (which is often).
I have fond memories tent camping at Elk Lake as a kid. It’s where I learned to fish, swim, and love of hiking. It’s a great mountain lake with awesome views of the mountains. Highly recommend.
If your car can make it up the 6 miles of "road" you'll be glad that you found Elk Lake. I made it up the hill in a 2001 Rav4. You'll definitely want some clearance for the trek up.
I used this campground for my base for hiking Battle Axe Mountain. The sites are not well marked and the campground was pretty empty- even leading up to a holiday weekend. There are fire pits and tables.
The campground is pretty primitive, you'll want to bring in everything that you need - including water and some kind of floating device to spend your days on the lake. There are several places where you can put in your boat, kayak or paddle board, and the lake is actually pretty warm in August - warm enough for swimming (and I don't ever swim in Oregon water)
If you do the Battle Axe Hike in the late summer, study up on your edible berries before you come, there are so many huckleberries here I could have filled a bucket.
This campground is a nice, little, easy remote getaway. Road is a bit rough coming in, so I would recommend a Subaru at minimum.
Complete forested sites and open meadow sites available, some lakeside. Two pit toilets, and affordable nightly camping rate. There’s a nice trail along on the lake to hike on the north side and a ramp for boats at the campsite.
This place was beautiful and quiet, lots of wildlife and the lake is inviting.
We stayed here in the early fall and it was pretty empty and cold but the lake was beautiful with mount bachelor in the background.. very basic campground with a picnic table, fire pit and pit toilets.
Very quiet! Cougars are often in and around campsites.
The road to the campground is a little gnarly but worth it! I love this place for an easy paddle or an array of hikes!
Pretty epic campground and resort. All the amenities plus boat rentals, dozens of trails nearby, mountain biking and fishing.
We stopped by while touring the area. The lake is pretty and quite large. There are sailboats, powerboats. We rented a kayak on the lake and it was very pretty!!
Many people paddle boarding, swimming, kayaking. Parking was limited and we are at the restaurant. We sat at the bar since outdoor seating was full. The bar server was abrupt at first but seemed to warm up a bit as time went on in our visit. As we looked around and listened to the patrons (mainly locals, seemed like yuppies)we thought their attitudes were somewhat elitist.
There is only 1 shower for the entire campground so it is very difficult to figure out when you are going to get clean and they CHARGE YOU $5 TO SHOWER!!!!! Never heard of a campground doing that. We didn't like it, wouldn't go back!