This spot is incredibly beautiful, surrounded by picturesque mountainscapes with glaciers visible from the campsites. The campground has a spacious and friendly vibe. We enjoyed walking to Many Glacier lodge where we hopped on a boat ride to a hike through the glaciers. While all of the campgrounds we saw and stayed in while visiting the national park were beautiful, some of them did not offer the overwhelming views that this one does, giving you a true sense of place. This is not just another campground- when I go back I will definitely be staying here again, for longer.
Pictures can't do justice to the serene beauty of Needles Outpost. Uplifting views facing all directions. The hosts are great- I appreciated straightforward and detailed communication, from the posting description all the way through to check-in. Beyond its stunning natural beauty, this place has great vibes.
We stayed in site 11 and it was great. If we return we'd choose site 4 - it seemed to be the most private site tucked up on its own little plateau.
Prepare to have your mind blown as you roll in to Lava Flow Campground. It is nestled in the uniquely lunar landscape caused by, well, lava flow. The grounds sit at the entrance of the scenic 7-mile loop that provides access to trails that take you over, under, and around various volcanic features.
We went during COVID times, so there was no access to the caves. Still, it was a memorable experience driving the loop and hiking around. In late October, the water was shut off due to frozen pipes, restrooms were closed except for the vault toilets. We found the vaults to be remarkably clean and unstinky.
The sites varied drastically in quality and size- probably because they were built around existing landscape that begged to be preserved. Because it was a weekday and off-season, we had the grounds to ourselves and took our time selecting the best site, and made sure to mark our favorites for the next trip. Site 27 was our favorite for sweeping views and size, but we ended up staying in 29, which is nestled on its own in some lava rocks that provide wind protection.
Like other the campgrounds within national parks I've been to, this campground was beautiful, spacious, and sophisticated. Fellow campers were a treat as well, everyone deeply respectful of the grounds and noise requirements. Our site (C8) was so incredibly spacious, we felt like we had a small campground to ourselves. We were on the cliff side of the loop looking down into the valley. Annie Creek Canyon Trail trail takes you along this ridge and down into said valley where we had an amazing hike through meadows and streams. Incredible. Don't miss out on this. It is fairly easy, with switchbacks taking you down the steep ridge and back up in a full loop. The restrooms were clean.
The only thing that was a challenge to deal with was the dusty/dirty factor of the site - to combat this we made foot baths each night before climbing into our tent or van. But you can't really complain about dyrt when you're camping, can you? Huge thumbs up and we will DEFINITELY be back very soon.
Zero cell service.
If you are a tent camper and want to camp here, be sure to get walk in sites 30-32 for an enjoyable stay. If you do, you'll enjoy your own private beach secluded from any neighbors on any sides. Swatches of forest separate you from the nearest site and you'll have and expansive sandy beach all to yourself. We stayed in site 30 and loved it. It was amazing to step out of my flip flops and onto my paddleboard on my own private beach and paddle in the early mornings and at dusk. And site #30 features a beautiful view of Mt. Thielsen (I don't think 31 & 32 had this feature).
However, if we had not reserved far in advance and had to stay in the "tent village," we most surely would have been disappointed. Plan ahead because it seems the secret is out - these sites fill up 2 months + in advance. The RV sites seem ok but none of them are lakefront. The general vibe of the KOA is good, the store has some pricey supplies. I would recommend having everything you will need for your trip because the closest grocery store is 60 miles away.
The only downside for the walk-in sites is that the bathroom is far away; it's maybe an 8 minute walk to the flush toilets and showers. They put portapotties near these remote sites but by the end of our few-day stay the smell of the portapotty chemicals was really starting to bother us. But overall, we will definitely return for one of the walk-in sites, and would consider renting one of the lakefront cabins as well.
Cell service - AT&T had full bars. Note: it's a very short walk down a steep little hill from where you park you car to this site.
We were very happy with our campsite at Diamond Lake. We had paid a little extra for a lakefront site, and we were so glad we did. I highly recommend lakefront as each of them has a private beach for direct lake access. We had trees on our site, plenty of places for hammocks, and much more space than we needed. I definitely want to go back soon. It's close enough to Crater Lake to day trip easily.