Backcountry Camping

Summer Backcountry Site

Summer Backcountry Camping

The backpacking season at Crater Lake National Park is short due to long, snowy winters. Typically, lower elevation trails become snow-free in late June. Some higher-elevation trails typically remain covered by snow until mid-July. The best time to visit the park's backcountry is mid-July through September.

For list of possible trails and itineraries review the park’s Summer Backcountry Information, Routes and Distances, and the park’s Summer Backcountry Trip Planning Map. Please note that there is no hiking trail that encircles Crater Lake in the summer.

Tent Pitched in the Snow

Winter Backcountry Camping

Backcountry regulations are different in the winter months (November through May). When the Rim Drive is closed to automobiles for the season, it becomes a trail for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Camping along the rim is allowed when the Rim Drive is closed to vehicles. Snowshoers and skiers must travel at least 1 mile from the nearest plowed road in order to camp.

There is no overnight parking at Rim Village in the winter. Vehicles must be left at Park Headquarters, 3 miles below Rim Village.

To learn more, visit our winter safety page.

Avalanche hazards may exist in the park. To learn more, review the park’s Winter Backcountry Camping Information and Crater Lake Avalanche Bypasses.

Before your visit please check the National Weather Service Forecast for the park. For an updated trail report and information about circling the lake in the winter, contact the ranger station at 541-594-3060.

Backcountry Camping Permits

All campers not staying in the park's developed campgrounds must obtain a backcountry permit. The only exception is through-hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, who may instead sign the trail register as they enter the park.

Backcountry permits are free of charge, but must be obtained in person, during business hours, from one of two following locations at Park Headquarters. They are not available over the phone, or more than 1 day in advance.

Canfield Ranger Station
  • June-September: Monday-Sunday, 8 am to 5 pm
  • October-May: Thursday-Sunday, 8 am to 4 pm

Steel Visitor Center
  • mid-April to mid-November: open daily, 9 am to 5 pm
  • mid-November to mid-April: open daily, 10 am to 4 pm

Backcountry Regulations

Click here to view the park's Backcountry Regulations Checklist.

Group Size

Groups larger than 8 people, who wish to travel together, must obtain a special use permit at least four to six weeks in advance.

Bicycles, Pets, Horses, and ATVs

Bicycles, pets, and horses are allowed in the park, but only on a few, specific trails. Call 541-594-3060 for more information. ATVs and other motorized vehicles are not allowed on the park’s trails, or off-trail.

Areas Closed to Camping in Summer

To ensure the enjoyment of all visitors, protect fragile resources, and ensure visitor safety, some areas of the park are closed to camping. Click here to download the Camping Restriction Map.

Summer camping is prohibited:
  • Inside the 33-mile Rim Drive that encircles Crater Lake.There is no camping in the summer with a lake view.
  • Along Any of the park's main day-hiking trails.
  • Within 1 mile of any developed area or park road open to vehicular traffic, except in designated campgrounds.
  • Within ¼ mile of Boundary springs, Sphagnum bog, or Thousand Springs.

Last updated: February 9, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake , OR 97604


(541) 594-3000

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