Situated on the edge of the beautiful Paulina Lake, Little Crater Campground is conveniently located within Newberry National Monument. Visitors to this area are taken aback by the incredible views this area has to offer, highlighting volcanic landscapes intermixed with diverse forests, typical of central Oregon.
Popular for both its geological significance and multitude of recreational activities, Little Crater Campground is ideal for individual and family camping excursions. If you are visiting Oregon with the aim of getting the best camping experience, this might be it. Offering campsites next to Paulina Lake, activities available at this campground include hiking, bird watching, bicycling, sightseeing and access to nearby trails.
Paulina Lake is located within the collapsed crater, or “caldera” of Newberry Volcano. Nearly five miles in diameter, this caldera encircles the basins of Paulina Lake and its twin, East Lake.
Neither lake receives water from an inlet or stream - instead both rely on rain, snowmelt and hot springs for water. Paulina Creek flows from the lake and has chiseled a narrow gorge through the calderas west wall creating a remarkable twin waterfall. Thermal vents and hot springs along the lakes northeast edge help create a highly productive ecosystem.
The surrounding undeveloped wilderness, clean streams and diverse forests support a variety of wildlife, including porcupine, bighorn sheep, deer, bats native fish, migratory birds and even the occasional black bear.
The unique location of Little Crater Campground offers visitors opportunities to hike shoreline trails and alpine vistas.
Visitors can also take advantage of time on the lake, boating, kayaking, swimming and fishing.
For anglers, this lake offers fantastic fishing opportunities. Spanning a surface area of 1,531 acres, the lake supports rainbow trout, brown trout and Kokanee salmon.
In September, the outlet of Paulina Lake may be choked with Kokanee moving to spawn in Paulina Creek.
There are 50 sites located on a fairly thin ledge right on the lake and all the campground sites are within a minute walk to the water. The sites are ample sized and most are good for tents, trailers or RVs.
Picnic areas, boating, shoreline trails, and stunning views of the lake, along with the conveniences of drinking water and vault toilets, give visitors the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while still having many of the conveniences of home.
Lava Lands Visitor Center in nearby Bend, Oregon, is a great starting point for visitors to learn about the diverse landscape and history of the area through interpretive programs and exhibits.
Visitors can explore the Lava River Cave, also located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. At 5,211 feet (1,588 m) in length, the northwest section of the cave is the longest continuous lava tube in Oregon.
We glamped here in our 32 foot c class motor home on October 13. Super quite as it is deep in the National Forest. Dry camping only. There is a dump close to the park entrance for $10.00 but no potable fill or Sani flush water was working when we were there. Fun hikes all around.
Great cg if you can get a site has great access to the water and the Paulina lake trail. Also is the trailhead for the hot springs which are rather shallow but very hot!
What an amazing weekend! We got SO lucky and found the ONLY walk up site on the 4th of July. Snagged it as the ground before was pulling out. It must have been fate because we needed this beauty of a weekend to relax and recharge.
So the campground itself is long and skinny. Which is nice because although it was completely full, the campsites are spread out and EVERY SINGLE SITE is either on the water or has a water view. This campground sits on the inside of Newberry National Volcanic Monuments sunken caldera on the shores of Paulina lake. Although we didn’t have any luck fishing, supposedly the rainbow trout are abundant and can be caught from shore.
We snagged campsite number 31. At first I was bummed because it was on the other side of the road from the water but after the weekend I can tell you that this site is PERFECT for a warm weekend. Our site was in the shade most of the day but there is no campsite directly across from us so the lake was in clear view and we could walk down there with ease.
Oh and can’t leave out how awesome our camp host was. Jeff!! Checked on us regularly. Was friendly and made sure the toilets stayed clean.
We will definitely be coming back.
This CG is right on Paulina lake in the middle of Newberry Crater. There are 50 sites along the shoreline. They all have the standard picnic table and fire ring. We had the first site on the left as you enter the CG. It had a great view of the lake and surrounding ridgeline and Paulina Peak. It also allows for a wonderful sunset.
The campground is generally crowded. The sites are decent but you will have other campers relatively close, The CG is easily accessed by foot, car or boat. It does have a boat ramp. RV's / Campers can get into most sites. There are 5 Vault toilets, drinking water, no showers, no hook ups. each site is in close walking distance to the lake. The CG is accessible to various trails in the area including the Big Obsidian Flow trail. A bonus hike should be taken to the Paulina Lake hot springs on the north side of the lake. You can also get to the hot springs by boat.
The good: Dogs allowed, sites directly on the lake, huge site! The 5-yr-old had a great time and the geriatric dog thoroughly enjoyed the lake. Nice hiking in the park and not too far from LaPine.
The bad: The site is on volcanic land, and the campsite is are pretty heavy on fine, silt-like dirt that gets into everything. Ground vegetation is Sparse and full of ants, which is fine if you’re in an RV but not great for tent camping.
The Ugly: The lake allows motorized boats which are disruptive. The posted lake speed limit is 10mph but is not enforced. The park also ran out of annual passes (interagency) so we had to buy day passes.
This was fantastic. Biggest complaint was how busy it was and the lack of privacy between campsites. But I was there on memorial weekend so busy was expected. Lack of privacy is due to lack of trees, they're there, just not that thick. We set up our tent about ten feet from the water and had some friendly little chipmunks running about, but they never bothered us. Camp host and his dog were awesome. Made some new friends here. Soaked in the natural hot springs at dusk. Hiked to the top of Paulina peak the next day. Awesome area to camp and explore. Even though we were there on a holiday weekend this place didn't fill up and we didn't need a reservation. But it does have a day use area and another campground a shirt distance around the lake. There's a hiking trail that goes all the way around, and you can hike to East lake or up Newberry volcano. There is beautiful obsidian all over the place. The hot springs were full of people during the day but at dusk and into night they really cleared out.
Small campground along the edge of the lake; every spot has a beautiful view of the mountains and the lake, and has quick access to the water. Spots on the eastern side of the campground are bordered by a steep hill or thickly forested area, great for providing morning shade and a fun area for kids to hike up and play "I'm king of the world!" Spots on the western side sit right on the lake and all have unobstructed sunset views. All sites have picnic tables and fire rings, nearby vault restrooms, & dish washing stations. The camp host sells firewood.
Campsites are a bit close together, with trailers and tents all in the same area. Some are much bigger than others, but each is unique. Sites near the boat ramp get more traffic, but it's not too busy.
Great for kayaks, paddle boards, or just floating. Hiking trail from the campground goes all the way around the lake, with natural hot springs on the way. There's also the nearby Paulina Lake Lodge, serving meals & cocktails.