During our recent trip to Crater Lake, we decided to stay at Joseph Stewart State Park. It lies on the banks of Lost Creek Lake, a reservoir just off Highway 62 near the small town of Prospect, Oregon. The State Park was beautiful and I felt really safe camping here as a mama with her cub.
The campground sits on a bank that is quite a ways up from the lake, so there is no access from the campground, but if you walk the hiking path or drive down to the marina area you can enjoy the lake there. There is a swimming and picnic area there, and you can watch boats going in and out. The lake has trout and bass for fishing and boat rentals are available. There is a blue-green algae warning at time of posting, so check their website for current conditions.
The campground boasts 11 miles of hiking and biking trails. One of the trails, for hiking goes along the lake and gives some nice scenic views. The trail could be treacherous for bikes, so they are not allowed, but there are some paved biking trails, and since the park was not busy while we were there, we enjoyed riding along the road.
Our site was in Loop D, which is right on the lake, and we had spot 35 which was right next to the play structure. I could send Laddy off to play and watch him from my galley very easily. It was a great spot. Loop D is tent only, but the park was fine with us being there and our parking strip was so long I could get the trailer and 2 cars in there (even though I only had the one car). It was nice and wide too. This was not the shadiest spot, but about 4:00 the sun dropped below the trees and we weren’t having overly hot weather, so it didn’t bother us. Each spot in this loop had a water spigot, a fire pit, a grill and a picnic table.
There is lots of wildlife in the area. We saw squirrels and black-tail deer came to visit us every night. There was also talk of bears in the area, and we didn’t see one but I thought I heard one the first night and the food the previous campers had left in the fire pit was gone. Also there were warnings about the poison oak in the area. We were careful to look for it while hiking and made sure to stay on the path. If you aren’t sure what poison oak looks like, click here for some pictures.
Each loop has a bathhouse and a camp host. The bath houses had some of the most powerful showers we have ever tried to stand under, but they were warm. They had flushies and even though the the restrooms were a little dated, they were clean. The Lad commented that he loved the old fashioned towel dispensers, which made me feel really old because those were the kind we had in school my entire childhood. Outside the bathhouse are fish cleaning stations in case you do some fishing.
The nice thing about our loop and Loop B is that we were the furthest from the highway. We were not bothered by it at all, but during my research I read several complaints that campsites close to the highway were noisy. Just something to keep on mind during registration.
Crater Lake is about a 45 minute drive from the campground. Along the drive, make sure to stop at the Rogue River Gorge, right near Union City, Oregon. There is a turn out and a parking area where you can get out and have a little walk. As you look at the walls of the Gorge you can see evidence of the volcanic history of the area. The holes or caves you think you see in the cliff are usually collapsed lava tubes! So cool! This section of the Upper Rogue River is really beautiful and worthy of the stop. The trail in this area is paved and the walk might be 1/4 mile each way.
This part of Oregon holds many wonders and lots of exploring can be done. I hope to spend more time there in the future, and we will definitely head back to Joseph Stewart State Park!