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An Insider’s Guide to Spring Camping in Central Oregon

Published on April 20, 2024

As the days grow longer and the snow begins to melt, Central Oregon beckons outdoor enthusiasts to explore its rugged landscapes. And for residents and guests of Caldera Springs, the opportunities for spring camping abound. With its prime location near the eastern slopes of Mt. Bachelor, Caldera Springs provides easy access to a variety of stunning campgrounds. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting to explore the joys of sleeping under the stars, here are our favorite spring camping destinations within easy reach of your Caldera Springs retreat.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Located just 10 minutes from Caldera Springs, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument offers a truly unique camping experience. Dotted with volcanic features like the Newberry Caldera and Paulina Lake, this stunning landscape is a prime spot for hikers, anglers, and anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the region’s dynamic geological history. The Cinder Hill and Little Crater Campgrounds provide gorgeous lakeside sites, perfect for early season getaways.

Deschutes National Forest

The vast Deschutes National Forest, which surrounds Caldera Springs, is a treasure trove of camping possibilities. From the serene Elk Lake to the dramatic Steelhead Falls, you’ll find an array of picturesque campsites to choose from. The Lava Lake Campground, situated just 25 miles from Caldera Springs, offers easy access to the crystal-clear Lava Lake and stunning views of the Cascade Mountains.

Smith Rock State Park

For those seeking a more dramatic backdrop, Smith Rock State Park, located less than an hour from Caldera Springs, is a renowned climbing destination with equally impressive camping facilities. The Group Camp and bivouac areas provide a front-row seat to the park’s towering rock formations and the meandering Crooked River.

Image: oregon.gov


The charming town of Sisters, just a 30-minute drive from Caldera Springs, serves as a gateway to a wealth of spring camping options. The Three Creek Lake Campground, situated in the Deschutes National Forest, offers stunning alpine scenery and easy access to a variety of hiking trails.

East Lake

Located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, East Lake is a scenic gem perfect for beating the summer heat. This shady campground sits right on the lake’s edge, with most sites offering direct lake access or just a short walk away. If you’re looking to canoe, bird watch, bike, or simply sight see, this unique geological spot is for you. 

Image: tripadvisor.com

With Caldera Springs as your home base, the possibilities for spring adventures are truly endless. Pack your gear, lace up your boots, and get ready to discover the hidden gems that make this area a premier camping destination.

Further Reading