Umpqua National Forest has all kinds of benefits to offer curious travelers. Not only does this park, nestled on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, offer some of the best hiking and fishing opportunities in the state of Oregon, but it also has some of the best campgrounds.
One of the top campgrounds for you to consider is Diamond Lake Campground. Here, you’ll note only be able to get a birds-eye-view look at the dynamic geological events that shaped the unique landscape of the nearly 984,000 acres of forest, but you’ll be able to relax in style on the shores of a mile-high lake.
Major Features and Amenities
A popular destination, Diamond Lake campground attracts up to 700,000 visitors each year. Despite This, the campground is far from crowded (though reservations are highly recommended).
Here, you’ll enjoy everything from lakeshore camping to secluded inshore sites. The campground is home to 238 campsites with fire pits and picnic tables. 51 of these are lakeside sites. You’ll also benefit from amenities such as:
● Drinking water
● Greywater waste sumps
● An RV dump station
● Lake access
● Flush toilets
● Trash collection/garbage disposal
● Accessible showers, campsites, and restrooms available
● An amphitheater
● Two boat ramps
● Fish cleaning stations
Although it’s closed for the winter season, Diamond Lake Campground offers affordable camping throughout the rest of the year (generally from Memorial Day until the end of October).
A long, narrow campground, Diamond Lake Campground has gorgeous scenery and is home to multiple spacious campsites. Camp along the east shore of the lake, and you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of Mount Bailey and Mount Thielsen.
Most campsites at Diamond Lake offer walking-distance access to the lake. There are boat ramps and fish cleaning stations on the shoreline for visitors, along with a nearby resort for bicycle, horse, and boat rentals. Here, you can also enjoy restaurants, a grocery store, fuel, and laundry facilities. There are trails for mountain biking and hiking within just ten miles of the campground.
Diamond Lake Campground offers access to some of the most spectacular scenery as well as cultural and natural resources. Housed within the Umpqua National Forest-which loosely translates to “thundering waters’ ‘- Diamond Lake gives visitors access to rapids, peaceful ponds, and high-mountain lakes. And, of course, those namesake thundering waterfalls!
One favorite, in particular, is the 272-foot Watson Falls on the North Umpqua Highway. This scenic overlook is easily accessible to visitors, as are several of the nearby designated wilderness areas that offer unrivaled opportunities for solitude.
With more than 19,100 acres, the Boulder Creek Wilderness area is another landscape for you to explore. With steep terrain and massive old-growth forests, the area is home to overlooks like Pine Bench (where you’ll get spectacular views of old-growth Ponderosa pines).
Opportunities for wildlife sightings abound here. The area is home to a diverse ecosystem that supports habitat for eagles, owls, salmon, salamanders, deer, and more.
Not only is Diamond Lake Campground close to Diamond Lake itself, but it’s also near Lemolo Lake. This lake is positioned within the Oregon Cascades National Recreation Area, an area that is home to dozens of trailheads. These intersect into gorgeous wilderness areas and into Crater Lake National Park. Both of these areas are fantastic to visit at any time of the year (barring winter, of course).
Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in the state of Oregon. It offers visitors a unique glimpse into the volcanic history of the area. Similarly, the Pacific Crest Trail, also within close proximity to Diamond Lake, showcases some of the best scenery on the continent as it winds all the way from Mexico to Canada. It’s also accessible from the campground.
Time for dinner? Campers rave about the popular pizzeria just at the southern end of the campground. You can easily walk there from the campground.
Why It’s Awesome
Diamond Lake Campground is perfect for adventurers, families, and group campers alike. With a variety of campsites available – including accessible options – it has plenty to offer anybody who has an itch to get out there and explore the great outdoors. Previous reviewers claim that the sites are not only beautiful but also well-maintained.
Surrounded by gorgeous, towering conifer trees, Diamond Lake Campground is a haven for wilderness enthusiasts. Not only will you enjoy numerous wild hiking trails, but you’ll also be able to access paved facilities, too. Camping at Diamond Lake provides you with access to a 0.8-mile self-guided nature trail, the Mt. Thielsen Trail, Mt. Bailey Trail, and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.
When it comes to more refined hiking and biking opportunities, you can check out the more than eleven miles of paved bicycle and hiking trails surrounding the many portions of Diamond Lake. Anglers will enjoy fishing for rainbow trout in Diamond Lake, which is stocked annually with more than 450,000 fingerlings. There are other species in this lake, too.
If you plan on bringing an RV to Diamond Lake, you’ll appreciate the navigable nature of the roads. They are a bit curvy, but made out of solid asphalt. Pads are flat and level, although each site is a little bit different.
The bathrooms are well-stocked, consisting of flush toilets and cement floors. There are even power outlets in case you need to plug in razors or hair dryers. The gatehouse is staffed daily from 8 am to 6 pm, with campground hosts available on-site to answer any questions you might have.
While most of the park’s attractions are offered off-site in the nearby wilderness areas, the campground offers many regular events for campers, too. The amphitheater is home to Saturday evening interpretive programs. Plus, you can hike, boat, swim, bike, fish, canoe, or kayak on-site, too.
What to Be Aware Of
While there are plenty of amazing hiking opportunities right within as well as just outside of Diamond Lake Campground, keep in mind that many of the abutting hiking trails are part of special wilderness areas. For example, Crater Lake National Park has unique visitor restrictions within its boundaries. You’ll want to plan ahead and make arrangements if you plan to hike, hunt, or mountain bike more than a couple of miles away from Diamond Lake.
Many people choose to drive RVs and travel trailers into Diamond Lake Campground, and this is, of course, encouraged. However, you will need to bear in mind that the maximum allowed vehicle length is 35 feet —travel trailers cannot exceed 30 feet and recreation vehicles cannot exceed 35.
Quiet hours at this campground are between 10 pm and 6 am. This is enforced by park patrol. Campfires can occur only in developed fire pits, and fireworks are strictly prohibited. So, too, is ATV use. There is no WiFi access here, so you need to plan on fully living off the grid during your stay.
Some campers report that it’s a long drive to any amenities and that fuel and other staples can be expensive during the peak season. To the greatest extent possible, try to pack in as many provisions as you can.
Speaking of the peak season, Diamond Lake Campground can also get a bit crowded during top travel times (typically during the summer months). It pays to book ahead and to consider traveling in the spring or fall instead if your schedule can swing it. Mosquitoes tend to be less intrusive at these times, as do the crowds.
The maximum length of stay is fourteen days, which can be frustrating if you like to set down roots for an extended period of time. However, this is a dog-friendly campground (as long as your four-legged friend is on a leash, that is).
How to Make a Reservation
Reservations are accepted from June 13 through August 31 for most campground loops. During the main reservation season, there are 145 sites available to be reserved, with an additional 95 offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
You can make a reservation by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting recreation.gov. Reservations can also be made with certain apps on your smartphone, such as the KOA app. Visitors report smooth check-in experiences.
According to visitor reviews, the views at Diamond Lake Campground are “to die for” and “you really have to experience this area to believe it.” nestled on the banks of Diamond Lake, it offers unparalleled scenery and serves as an excellent base for exploring the nearby Watson Falls, Crater Lake, and Pacific Crest Trail.