Pitch a Tent | Go Here | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.
100% Local. No Paywalls.

Every day, the Source publishes a mix of locally reported stories on our website, keeping you up to date on developments in news, food, music and the arts. We’re committed to covering this city where we live, this city that we love, and we hear regularly from readers who appreciate our ability to put breaking news in context.

The Source has been a free publication for its 22 years. It has been free as a print version and continued that way when we began to publish online, on social media and through our newsletters.

But, as most of our readers know, times are different for local journalism. Tech giants are hoovering up small businesses and small-business advertising—which has been the staple for locally owned media. Without these resources, journalism struggles to bring coverage of community news, arts and entertainment that social media cannot deliver.

Please consider becoming a supporter of locally owned journalism through our Source Insider program. Learn more about our program’s benefits by clicking through today.

Support Us Here

Outside » Go Here

Pitch a Tent

These campsites may fill quickly, so don't delay



Everyone's definition of camping is different. For some, it means towing their full-amenity travel trailer to the RV park with full hookups, playground, and swimming pool. On the other extreme, camping means parking the car (or locking the bike) and heading as far into the Three Sisters Wilderness as possible.

For most, somewhere in between is the sweet spot, and Central Oregon, of course, offers a wide array of choices for those seeking an outdoors-based overnight experience.

Tumalo State Park

Tumalo State Park offers a pleasant camping experience close to Bend with more than 50 tent sites; some with full hookups. For those with no gear, seven yurts are available as well, along with a hiker/biker camp area. One of the park's most attractive features is the solar showers and flush toilets. Across the street, access to the Deschutes River for swimming or hiking the northern end of the River Trail, along with picnic tables and restrooms, rounds out the experience.

Devils Lake

A number of sites along the shore of Devils Lake are first-come, first-serve and free, although a Northwest Forest Pass is required for parking at the Devils Lake trailhead lot. Camping is restricted to the 10 designated sites, but they are well spaced and, if you ignore the sound of traffic along the road, give campers a feeling of remoteness. Easy access to trails, including Mirror Lake are nearby. It's a popular corner of the Cascades Highway and gets quite busy in-season.

If your group is up for a bit of a hike, the Green Lakes Trail is a relatively easy 4-mile walk along an established path to the lakes. Dispersed camping is not allowed, but there are 28 marked sites that dot the perimeter of the lakes. Camping is free, but a recreation pass is required to park at the trailhead, and hikers are required to fill out a free wilderness permit at the trailhead. As with Devils Lake, this is one of the most popular trails for hiking with families and is very busy on summer weekends.

The Pacific Crest Trail

Dispersed camping requires campers to understand, and adhere to, the concept of Leave No Trace, obey any fire restrictions, and know how to handle human waste. The ability to carry sufficient water or be prepared to filter from streams is mandatory. If you do not know what the 10 essentials are, you should probably stick with established campgrounds.

The Pacific Crest Trail winds for 40 miles through the Three Sisters Wilderness with an easy access point via the Mirror Lake trail.

About The Author

Add a comment

More by Kevin Sperl