• Activities:

    Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Swimming, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Year Round

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Handicap Accessible
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Big Lake features crystal clear lake water with great opportunities for hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, wake-boarding, waterskiing, ATV. There are both RV and tent camping options at the campground.

The crystal clear waters of Big Lake sit at an elevation of 4,600 ft. in the Willamette National Forest, on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range. The Big Lake Campground (N 44 22.439 W 121 53.599) lies on the western shore of Big Lake, at the top of the Santiam Pass near Hoodoo Ski Resort.

A smaller campground is located west of Big Lake Campground, but is still patrolled by the same camp host, if you go during the normal camping season. This area is also beautiful in the snow, as well as very quiet, as during typical winters you can only access the lake by snowmobile or snowshoes.

In the summer, Big Lake is very popular for both motorized and non-motorized boating, and has many ATV trails. Campers will enjoy views of the lake, with the beautiful reflection of Mount Washington on the water during calm mornings, before the wind picks up. The campground is surrounded by Alpine fir, hemlock and lodgepole pine.

There are multiple hiking trails nearby, such as the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), which you can follow south toward Mount Washington, or north toward Hoodoo, Hayrick and Three Fingered Jack. Other trailheads include the Patjen Trail, Big Lake Trail, and Sand Mountain Lookout. There is also a mountain biking route to Sand Mountain Lookout Tower, close by.

The Patjen Lake Trail offers easy access to the Mount Washington Wilderness Area, following along the western side of Big Lake, then heading south. Once you reach Patjen Lakes, the trail will loop back to the campground.

The campground has more than 30 campsites, open to both tents and RV camping. A number of amenities are offered, including a fire ring, picnic table, boat ramp, vault toilets, recycling, drinking water, and ice. Pets are allowed at this campground.

Pack List

  • Food
  • Firewood
  • Chairs
  • Tent (Sierra Designs)
  • Sleeping bag (Sierra Designs)
  • Hammock (Grand Trunk)
  • RuggedTec Flashbang Speaker & Flashlight (but be respectful of neighbors)
  • GoPro and Gopole Reach (great for underwater)
  • Swimming mask and fins (beautiful underwater views)
  • Fishing gear
  • BlackStrap Hood (winter) or Daily Sleeve (summer fishing)
  • Boat (both motorized or non-motorized are fine)
  • ATV or motorcycle
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Would love to ski that west face of Mt WA🎿👍🏼

almost 3 years ago
almost 3 years ago

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