Top 15 lakeside camps

Our editor's favorite lakes for camping, cooling off, and summer fun


1. Hawley Lake Campground, Fort Apache Indian Reservation

Why we love it: For cooking fresh catch and escaping the desert heat in a conifer forest.

Sites to score: Sites are unnumbered, but those closest to the water are most popular.

Info: 18 miles southeast of McNary; $8; 928/335-7511.


2. Juniper Lake Campground, Lassen Volcanic National Park

Why we love it: Views of Lassen Peak from your sleeping bag.

Sites to score: 9–12

nfo: 13 miles north of Chester; $10 (plus $10 park entrance fee per vehicle); 530/595-4444.

3. Kangaroo Lake Campground, Klamath National Forest

Why we love it: The 1.5-mile Fen Trail, flanked by zillions of wildflowers.

Sites to score: 16, 17, 19, 20

Info: 22 miles southeast of Etna; $15; 530/468-5351.

4. Saddlebag Lake Campground,
Inyo National Forest

Why we love it: The general store and cafe at Saddlebag Lake Resort are just a water-taxi ride away.

Sites to score: 16, 18

Info: 7 miles west of Lee Vining; $19; 760/647-3044.


5. Pawnee Campground at Brainard Lake, Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Forests

Why we love it: Lakeside picnic dinners as the sun sets the Continental Divide ablaze.

Sites to score: 27, 29, 53, 55

nfo: 5 miles west of Ward; $17 (plus $9 vehicle fee); about 50 percent first come, first served; 303/541-2500.


6. Indian Creek Campground, Priest Lake State Park

Why we love it: Huckleberry picking and a sandy beach warmed by the late-day sun.


Sites to score: 52, 53, 60, 61, 75
Info: 11 miles north of Coolin; from $12; first come, first served after Labor Day; 208/443-2200.


7. Little Crater Lake Campground, Mt. Hood National Forest

Why we love it: An overlooked mini version of Oregon's turquoise crown jewel; plus popular (and manmade) Timothy Lake, with views of Mt. Hood, is just a mile hike away.

Sites to score: Walk-ins 6, 10, 13, 15

Info: 15 miles south of Government Camp; $16; 
4 of 16 sites first come, first served; or 503/622-3191 ext 701.

8. Lost Creek Campground, Crater Lake National Park

Why we love it: A secluded 16-site alternative to the only other campground in the park, a 200-plus-site tent city called Mazama Village.

Sites to score: Any of them! Arrive early to stake your claim.

Info: 55 miles north of Klamath Falls; $10 (plus $10 park entrance fee per vehicle); 541/594-3000.


9. Tony Grove Lake Campground, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest

Why we love it: Moose sightings, wildflowers, and, in the fall, aspen glow.

Sites to score: Walk-ins 7, 10

Info: 17 miles northeast of Logan; $15; 40 percent first come, first served; 435/755-3620.


10. Fairholme Campground, Lake 
Crescent, Olympic National Park

Why we love it: Nice early-morning light over the glacially carved lake, and rowboats to rent from the camp store.

Sites to score: Those in the "C" loop and any walk-in sites numbered in the 80s.

Info: About 25 miles west of Port Angeles; $12 (plus $15 park entrance fee per vehicle); 360/565-3130. –Ted Katauskas

Next: 5 more of our favorite lakes


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