Last Updated on
Camp On the Shores of Prineville Reservoir and Lake Billy Chinook
Located just southwest of the town of Madras, lies Lake Billy Chinook Reservoir. This lake is unlike most in Central Oregon or the Cascade Mountains, as it is surrounded by towering cliffs, which act like tall walls. The lake area is a great place for wildlife viewing, such as bald eagles, deer, coyotes and small mammals and reptiles. Lake Billy Chinook is also a popular fishing lake. Other activities include water recreation such as swimming and kayaking tours.
There are two campgrounds situated on or near the lakeshore:
- Crooked River Campground is open year round. It consists of 91 electrical sites with water, and several cabins.
- Deschutes Campground is open from May until mid-September, consisting of 82 full hookup sites and 92 tent sites. There are also 24 boat slips for campers bringing boats along.
Both campgrounds include hiking trails, nature programs, and interpretive tours.
Prineville Reservoir is a great place of fishing while in a boat or from the shore. The lake is full of bass, catfish, crappie, trout and crayfish. The Prineville Reservoir Campground is located 14 miles southeast of Prineville along the lake shore. The campground includes 22 full hook up sites, 22 electrical sites and 23 tent sites. This campground also offers five cabins available by reservation.
Open from May until September 30th, Prineville Reservoir Campground is a popular destination for recreation. Activities enjoyed by campers include swimming, boating, wildlife watching, hiking, bird watching, fishing and attending interpretive tours and events available from park staff.
With close proximity to Bend, located only 5 miles northwest of the city, Tumalo State Park is a convenient place to stay. The campground is located along the Deschutes River, providing a tranquil setting for campers and those fishing alike. Campers enjoy 23 full hookups, 54 tent sites and seven yurts. Yurts provide some of the comforts of home, with bunkbeds, futons and electricity. Trails follow along the river for hiking and fishing, providing opportunities for wildlife viewing. Views of the Cascade Mountains, including the Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack can be seen from this area.
Park Information and Campground Reservations
All of these Central Oregon State Park campgrounds include facilities for showers, restrooms and accessible camping. Be sure to pack for every occasion, as weather can change abruptly. Although the days may be hot, evenings are usually cool, if not cold in the high desert regions of Central Oregon.
Reserve a site today by contacting Oregon State Parks by phone or their website. Campgrounds fill up quickly, especially for summer stays. Camp sites can be reserved online.