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Visit Olallie Lake: 6 Campgrounds to Consider for Your Next Nature Excursion

Looking for a scenic place to hike, camp, explore, or nature-watch? Olallie Lake could be the destination for your next great outdoor adventure.

This beautiful lake is located between two mountain peaks in the Cascades: Mount Hood to the north and Mount Jefferson to the south. The area that surrounds the water is blanketed with forests, marshes, meadows, and over 200 smaller lakes (comprising Olallie Lake Scenic Area and Mount Hood National Forest).

The famous Pacific Crest Trail crosses the area, which naturally makes it a popular place for serious hikers.

This is not, however, a place to take your speedboat. Using a motorboat isn’t allowed on Olallie Lake and the surrounding bodies of water. You can, however, take off in a paddle boat or rowboat for a relaxing time fishing or nature-watching.

There is neither cell phone service nor internet access within both Olallie Lake Scenic Area and Mount Hood National Forest, so come prepared. It’s also advised that you fill up the car with gas and get sufficient food and drinking water before you begin your camping adventure.

4 Great Camping Spots Near Olallie Lake

1. Peninsula Campground

Olallie Lake Peninsula Campground

Photo credit to Jodi’s Journal

If you’re willing to hoof it to a remote location, Peninsula Campground near Olallie Lake could be your perfect camping spot.

The only caveat? The campground has limited seasonal availability, as the snows don’t totally melt until, well, into spring.

However, if you visit during the months of June, July, August, September, or October, you may find your new camping paradise.

Facilities and Accommodations

There are 36 campsites in total at Peninsula Campground. Since there are no reservations, each site is open on a first-come, first-served basis.

Luckily, the campground is difficult to get to and remote enough that there’s sure to be an open site waiting for you (just maybe not on busy summer holidays, like July 4th or Labor Day).

Each campsite is bare-bones, including only a picnic table or two and a fire pit with a grate. However, there is a vault toilet on-site as well as a boat dock.

Camping Gear You’ll Need to Bring

This is a straight-up campsite, so expect to bring everything you need to have a safe, comfortable trip. That includes fuel, food, cooking utensils, drinking water, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, and personal items.

If you need to buy extra supplies, Olallie Lake Resort is nearby. The nearest town is Detroit, Oregon, some 35 miles away by car.

Recreation Opportunities

If you’re looking for prime lake access, this is where you should camp. The boat dock is perfect for launching your canoe, kayak, or paddle boat, or casting out a line for some fishing. Plus, there are views of the majestic lake and the mountains beyond from most of the campsites.

 

2. Olallie Lake Guard Station Cabin

Olallie Lake Guard Station Cabin

Photo credit to Wikimedia Commons

If history and nature are both up your alley, try out camping at the Olallie Lake Guard Station Cabin.

This historic, two-story cabin was built in the 1930s for the use of the Forest Ranger who patrolled the area at the time. Today, it retains many of its charming original details, including a huge rock chimney, hand-wrought ironwork, and interior wood details.

A stay in this cabin will offer you a few more modern comforts than tent camping but still gets you close to the beauty of the surrounding forests, lakes, and mountains.

Facilities and Accommodations

The cabin has four rooms, including a kitchen, a living room, a bunkroom, and a loft. The lights and refrigerator are powered by propane, and there’s a wood-burning stove with provided firewood to heat up any cool, chilly nights.

While you’re on-site, you’ll have access to a 50-gallon water tank, a public vault toilet about 75 feet from the cabin, as well as beds. There are bunks, a queen bed, and two futons, all of which will sleep up to eight people comfortably.

Camping Gear You’ll Need to Bring

While beds are provided, you’ll need to pack and bring your own bedding. You’ll also need towels and washcloths and/or paper towels.

It’s also recommended that you bring your own drinking water, as the 50-gallon tank may run out with excessive use. You can also boil lake water or purchase water from the resort nearby.

You’ll be expected to clean the cabin and surrounding area before you leave, so don’t forget to bring trash bags.

Recreation Opportunities

The cabin is handily located near the Pacific Crest Trail within the Olallie Lake Scenic Area. You’ll find all the hiking you could ever want, plus the chance to fish, boat, or swim in one of the many lakes. Some trails even allow mountain biking.

 

3. Camp Ten Campground

Camp Ten Campground

Photo credit to My Grand Canyon Park

Though it boasts just 10 campsites, you may want to consider Camp Ten Campground if you have a larger party of campers. With all the amenities of the other area campsites but no lake access, this is the biggest reason to stay at Camp Ten.

Facilities and Accommodations

The 10 campsites located here are modest, with just picnic tables and fire pits. There is also only one vault toilet nearby.

However, a few of the sites are double-sized, which means a couple of tents could easily fit. If you have a larger group ready for some camping, you can share one campsite and enjoy some time together in nature.

Lake access is not available where – you’ll have to go to nearby Olallie Lake Resort or Peninsula Campground to find docks. Campsites are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Camping Gear You’ll Need to Bring

If you think you’ll need it, bring it with you – there are no supplies provided while you camp here. If you need drinking water or some other necessity, you have to bring it with you or purchase it from the resort. You can also head to Detroit, Oregon, the nearest town, for stocking up.

Recreation Opportunities

Though Camp Ten has no lake access, hiking trails abound throughout the area. You can also easily bring your paddle/rowboat or fishing gear and hike to Peninsula Campground or Olallie Lake Resort.

If you have a mind to swim in the fresh mountain waters that surround you, head to one of the other nearby lakes, like Head Lake or Monon Lake. Swimming isn’t allowed in Olallie Lake, as it serves as some of the water supply for the nearby Indian Reservation.

Of course, you’ll still get majestic lake views and scenic, lush green trees in this part of Mount Hood National Forest.

4. Olallie Lake Resort

Olallie Lake Olallie Lake Resort

Photo credit to OregonLive.com

If you prefer camping with a few more amenities and like to sleep in a bed versus on the ground, Olallie Lake Resort could be your best option.

This privately-owned resort has more features than the other campsites and could be the perfect place to take your family for a getaway from technology and your busy lives.

Facilities and Accommodations

Unlike the other nearby campsites, the resort has cabins and yurts available for reservations, including large yurts and small, medium, and large cabins that can sleep up to six people.

Yurts are circular tents that are of Turkish origin. The yurts for rent at the resort have two bedrooms plus a main living/kitchen area. They have no electricity or running water.

The cabins for rent are all one-room except for the large cabins, which have a partition between the sleeping areas and the kitchen/living areas. Each cabin is furnished with beds, dining tables and chairs, and a wood stove for heat. Outside, you’ll find your own spigot with potable water.

Two outhouses are provided on-site. There’s also a general store that stocks necessities like first aid equipment, grocery items, and toiletries as well as candy, fishing gear, beer, wine, and sporting goods. You can also purchase drinking water and ice.

Camping Gear You’ll Need to Bring

If you plan to stay in a yurt or cabin, you’ll need to pack your own bedding and well as everything you’ll need for meals – cookware, utensils, food, and a camping stove (depending on what you plan to cook/eat).

Don’t forget clothing, gear, and personal items!

Recreation Opportunities

Just like at the other campsites in the area, there are huge hiking opportunities here. You’ll also find lakes nearby perfect for swimming, as well as close proximity to Olallie Lake for boating and fishing.

Boats are available to rent at the resort if you feel like taking a spin on one of the lakes.

2 Places to Camp Farther Afield (Greater Olallie Lake Scenic Area)

1. Lower Lake Campground

Olallie Lake Lower Lake Campground

Photo credit to Pinterest

Lower Lake is slightly farther from Olallie than the other campgrounds on this list, but it has some positives that may sway you to stay here during your camping trip. If you want a serene stay that includes lots of hiking, this could be your campground.

Facilities and Accommodations

The Lower Lake Campground has seven campsites in total, each with its own firepit.

As far as amenities go, that’s about it – like most of the other nearby campgrounds, Lower Lake has primitive sites that will require you to bring your own supplies and drinking water.

However, you might find the location ideal. It’s a mere half-mile hike to Lower Lake. From there, it’s another mile to Fish Lake, and another quick walk southwest to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail.

Camping Gear You’ll Need to Bring

You’ll need to pack everything you need to enjoy a comfortable, safe camping trick. Bring along food, drinking water, cookware and utensils, fuel, bedding, clothing, and personal items.

Recreation Opportunities

Since the Lower Lake Campground is so close to its namesake, you might want to bring your fishing gear or non-motorized boat for a serene paddle on the water.

If you’re a serious hiker, camp at Lower Lake and then make plans to hook up with the Pacific Crest Trail.

2. Horseshoe Lake Campground

Horseshoe Lake Campground

Photo credit to Good Sam

If you want seclusion while camping, Horseshoe Lake Campground can provide it.

This campground is located south of Monon Lake on the shores of Horseshoe Lake. However, because of its location, you’ll see very few vehicles passing through, so you’ll truly feel alone in the great wild.

Facilities and Accommodations

Horseshoe Lake Campground has 10 primitive campsites with firepits. One vault toilet is located on-site. Bonus: Most of the campsites have a nice view of the shore and the water. To reach the campground, you’ll need to travel along 16 rough miles of gravel road.

Camping Gear You’ll Need to Bring

Bring everything necessary to have a good time camping. Don’t forget your first aid kit, drinking water, and extras like water shoes, fishing equipment, or your non-motorized boats. This campground gets you direct access to Horseshoe Lake.

Recreation Opportunities

Take some time to explore the lake, whether you hike around the shoreline or paddle out in your kayak, canoe, or rowboat. The unique shape of the shoreline (unsurprisingly, it’s horseshoe-shaped) includes a small waterway that connects the northern and southern portions of the lake.

 

Visit Olallie Lake and Discover the Possibilities

This part of the American landscape is brimming with beauty. You’ll see mountains, buttes, lakes, and deep green forests that stretch for miles. If you’re ready to drink it all in, head out with your camping supplies and hiking gear or fishing gear, and plan on an escape from the modern world.

 

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