Lodge located on the shores of Paulina Lake in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
This is a very busy and full campground, so not as peaceful as others in the area. But very well kept, good camp hosts, and firewood and water available onsite.
There is definitely truck traffic through the campground to/from the boat launch in the morning and evening. None of the sites are actually lakeside here, but the trees provide good protection from the wind that comes of the lake from the other side.
Very easy access to get your kayak/paddleboard from your site to water via the maintained trail that loops the lake. Sites are a little smaller and closer together, but still decent sized. Sitting out on/near the dock at night makes for amazing stargazing.
Did not use the toilets, so can't speak to their cleanliness. Most of the sites are pull-through, which makes it nice, but if you are not "lakeside" you'll probably have to go the wrong way to get your camper door facing your site.
Lovely campground with lakeside sites. Camp host sells firewood on site. We stayed in site 39 which was close to bathrooms, water, and boat ramp for easy water access. Hiked the 7.5 mile trail around the lake in the morning and enjoyed paddle boarding in the afternoon. No sink in bathroom.
This was a really nice campground for the location but needs some updates. Bathrooms near camp office aren’t fully functional and pretty dirty. There is no soap in any of the bathrooms. Our reservation was double booked and we had to get help to get a space at the last minute. There are many amenities and a lovely boat ramp. Nearby Paulina Lake Lodge with $20/hr boat rentals
Used the boat ramp, which was nice with lots of space, however trailer parking was very limited. The camp ground sites didn’t have any privacy, very open and most sites filled with RVs. Noisy with their generators running too. I would not camp here.
Tent camping next to beautiful Paulina Lake. RV spots also available. Short walk to Paulina visitor center with fun exhibits and ranger programs.
Campground has flush toilets, boat launch. Great location to explore all around Paulina Lake including hiking trails and activities.
Camp sites spacious but most of the campgrounds at East and Paulina Lakes are often busy and can be loud with boats, RVs and general camp traffic.
Shoreline is not a beach, but more of a boat launch. There's better swimming nearby in other areas of the lake.
Beautiful family + four-legged friendly campsite right on the lake. I stayed at site #56 which was great b/c it is away from the main road and right next to the Paulina lake loop trail.
The 7-mile loop around the lake was stunning w/views at every corner. The trail was lined with beautiful obsidian. Hike in about 3.5 miles and you’ll be able to soak in the hot springs and take a dip in the lake. Trail was pretty flat so definitely kid + dog friendly.
Make sure to check out the obsidian flow on your way out.
I will definitely camp here again. Bring your own wood if you have the room. There is one person who sells wood here and they never seemed to be open.
Great campground! Spaces are large, but kind of close together. Larger size campground on the lake, just across from the resort. Plenty of trees to hang hammocks! $18 per night for a tent site. Campground has a boat ramp and dock as well.
I took one star off due to the bathroom situation. For some reason their bathrooms are out of service at the moment. However they do provide porta potties.
About 25 miles south of Bend, Oregon, Paulina and East Lakes are twin calderas located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument area of the Deschutes National Forest that have an amazing amount of fun things to do including camping, fishing, paddle boarding, boating, hiking, biking and hot springs.
We pulled into the Paulina Visitor Center just before 5pm on the Fourth of July to scope out our walk-up camping options (we didn’t make reservations) and the rangers let us know that Paulina Lake Campground still had two or three spots open, or we could keep on heading to Cinder Hill on East Lake, which had several spots. The East Lake campground, they said, was pretty much always full, so no need to stop there to check.
We ended up grabbing a great spot at Paulina Lake Campground even though it was a holiday weekend. Large camp sites, lots of trees, flush toilets, and access to Paulina Lake all made this a great spot for camping.
There’s tons to do in the area. My two favorites were the hot springs near East Lake boat ramp (when facing the water, walk left about 8 minutes along the shore line…pass the first couple spots until you get to a good one around two bends) and the trail up Obsidian Butte. There’s also a lodge nearby with delicious food (homemade rum butter apple cobbler…yum) and the beautiful Paulina Falls day use area. We’ll definitely be heading back to spend more time here, next time maybe with some paddle boards.
The main down side to this site is there doesn’t appear to be specific hours for generators, so they can run loudly whenever.
Parking. You’ll need a day pass ($5) to park at various day use areas at the lakes, but if you have a National Park Pass it will get you in for free. Ask at the Visitor Center and they can give you a holder to hang your pass from your rear view mirror.
Firewood: Unlike many national and state parks, you can harvest camp firewood for free here, which is pretty awesome. Check with the rangers at the visitor center, but the rules are pretty basic (pick up dead wood instead of chopping it down, etc.).
Other Area Campgrounds. If you’re looking for reservations and Paulina Lake is booked up, they hold many of their sites for “walk-ups” only. There’s also several other campgrounds in the area, both private and public, if for some reason Paulina Lake is full.
From West (at the Visitor Center) to East, campgrounds and cabins on the lakes include:
Paulina Lodge (Private I believe. All cabins, some right on the water).
Paulina Lake Campground (this campground review. No beach but does have a boat dock and water access)
Newberry Group Camp Site. Three group sites. $75-$100. Didn’t stay here but looked fun.
Little Crater Campground. Didn’t visit, but listed as one of the“most popular” campgrounds in the entire Deschutes Forest. Books up Thursday for most weekends.
East Lake Campground. Great lake views from most spots and flush toilets.
East Lake RV Park. Newer, clean but somewhat cramped and dusty.
East Lake Resort Cabins. (Homey in a good way).
Cinder Hill Campground, East Lake. Some sites are better than others. Amazing beach.
Product Review: Firebiner by Outdoor Element
On our recent trip to Paulina Lake we got to try out several products by Outdoor Element, including their Firebiner, in exchange for our reviews. The firebiner is a carabiner with a "spark wheel" that can start fires and also includes a bottle opener, screwdriver tip, and a very sharp tiny blade for cutting strings and other lines (like fishing lines):
The whole concept is pretty cool, and we had extra fun with the "EverSpark" technology trying to get the fires started. Nearly every time we turned the wheel it sparked, but we quickly learned the power of having a good "tinder" (a dry bit of material used for starting a fire). When we tried starting fires with items such as dry moss, napkins, or small kindling, the sparks didn't catch. But when we used the tiny "Tinder Quicks" from Outdoor element, we normally could start a fire within 2-3 turns. We even tried other options for tinders…from corn chips to cotton balls covered in Vaseline, and as long as the tinder was good, the sparks caught quickly.
Overall, a fun addition to our camping packs. The carabiner itself is handy for keys and hanging on backpacks and probably the element we'll use most, while the Spark Wheel is a fun, handy back-up when we need to light something on fire.
Nice spot for families and kids! Good fishing and great way to have fun!! Nice calming spot!
The main boat ramp has a lot of lake grass and floating snails. Kind of weird when getting into my kayak, but was fine once you get into the actual lake….you don’t get tangled in. Lake was beautiful and clear…could almost always see the bottom. The park was very clean, and felt restful and quiet. Large spaces. Clean bathrooms, but no showers. Would have to go next door to East Lake for that. Needs more gray water dump areas, I noticed. Loved it there. Would definitely go back again, but would want a lakeside spot. We were next to the main road in the back, but heard ZERO traffic. I just like seeing the water, so would like lakeside. Loved the little chipmunks! The Paulina Falls were beautiful…a bit of a short hike down to them and back up from the parking lot….and can hike there from the campgrounds, not very far. The Obsidian Flow area was very close, and well worth doing. To hike to the top, wear good shoes and long pants. Very easy to accidentally cut yourself on the sharp obsidian rocks. Need sure footing toward the top, but trails are clear. Beautiful views, and you’ll be in awe of how big this natural area is, and how it happened.