Our New Blue Back Yard (And a Little Doggie Drama) – Diamond Lake, OR

Our new blue back yard

We’ve landed in our new back yard and I’ve gotta admit it ain’t bad. We left Eugene on Thursday and drove a pretty ~140 miles on 2-lane highway into the “dry side” of Oregon welcoming deep pine, dusty trails and volcanic mountains. Our destination was Diamond Lake, a lovely 3,000 acre blue oasis at ~5,000 ft just next to Crater Lake in south-central Oregon. Lots of blue, lots of space and relaxing camping….oh yeah, not bad at all.

This little adventure comes with cohorts too. By pre-arranged plan our good pals Alex and Ellen (our caravan buddies from last year) joined us on the drive and are staying the week here with us. Not only does this mean lots of fun communal hiking and biking, but also allows plenty of late-night chin wags and unlimited guiltless exchange of rum and cokes.

Paul and Alex pose for a nice silhouette on the lake bike trail at Diamond Lake

Alex just recently got a sweeeeet 1000 watts of solar installed on his rig too, so we get to drool over the panels and gawk at his stupendous amp generation (Paul already has watt-envy).

Now obviously we’re here to see Crater Lake and that story will come, but for the last few days we’ve been lazing around and enjoying our own blue right here at the campground. Diamond Lake is flanked by two volcanic beauties, ~8,400 foot Mount Bailey to the west and the dangerous-looking ~9,200 foot Mount Thielsen to the east. There’s a paved and scenic 11-mile bike ride around the lake, a small lodge, masses of hiking trails (including to both mountains), several forest service campgrounds and 5 boat ramps. You won’t come here for shopping or food, but it’s a great spot to enjoy endless trails, deep pine, sweeping views and secluded creeks. Oh, and some not-to-shabby sunsets too.

Polly is hopping again

Our idyllic stay has only been (temporarily) interrupted by a little doggie-drama. We’re staying at the national forest campground which would actually be the perfect spot if not for the bummer of toxic algae bloom in the water. This was a minor point that we totally failed to notice on our first day here.

So we arrived at our site, dashed out for a refreshing afternoon swim and were duly rewarded with yesterday’s pooch dinner re-delivered in its’ full glory into the RV today. Polly is fine (thanks to her quick thinking in getting it all out), but sadly no more dips in the lake for her. Thankfully there are many other doggie-treats in the area including unlimited trails, oceans of chipmunks (natural doggie TV!) and bouncing fresh fresh mountain air.

And that, folks, is pretty much exactly what we’ve been doing. Soaking up nature, enjoying our RV buddies and hangin’ in the kind of back yard that RVing is all about…not too shabby at all!

Our first afternoon dip in the lake…made for a pretty pic, but not recommended
Panoramic view of Diamond Lake and Mount Thielsen from the Mount Bailey trail
A lovely afternoon at the lake
Pretty evening through the pine
Paul and Alex pose by Silent Creek
Just another great lake view from the round-the-lake bike trail
View of the striking Mt Thielsen
“The pack” on the hike up Mount Bailey
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    • libertatemamo says

      What’s a few thousand miles between friends :) It’s a lovely state and well worth the drive, but it would merit a longer stay.

  1. says

    We stayed at Diamond Lake in 1999 when we went to see Crater Lake. It was beautiful as you say, but we were deluged by airplane size mosquitoes so thick that we were breathing them. We were there earlier in the summer. Glad you’re having a great time. Great pictures, as always.

    • libertatemamo says

      You know I had heard ALOT about the mosquitoes before coming here (and was a little worried) which is one of the reasons we decided to do our stay late in the season rather than earlier this summer. I’m happy to report there are ZERO mosquitoes here right now. Seems Sept may well be the perfect month to stay.

  2. says

    After going up the Oregon coast in August, including photographing your Cape Blanco campsite, we headed back down through the central part of the state. When we arrived at Crater Lake we were smothered in a brown haze from fires outside of the park. On a recommendation of the ranger at the entrance to Crater Lake, we pulled our rigs into Diamond Lake campground. Wow! I’d been to Crater Lake several times but never knew anything about Diamond Lake. We loved it, too. The dogs were going crazy over all the chipmunks. I’ll be back for a longer stay.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh how fun!! I’m so happy you enjoyed this place too! I do think it’s a bit of a hidden gem for exploring Crater Lake.

  3. says

    The views look pretty amazing. So sorry to hear about Polly but glad she is back to her old self. Hopefully we will see all of you on Tuesday, but if not, we will surely catch up with you further on down the road.

  4. Evelyn says

    I’m a long-time Diamond Lake fan; been camping there for 30+ years. I live on the southern Oregon Coast, which is pretty darn spectacular, but when I need mountains, Diamond Lake is my tonic. I just returned from DL a few days ago after a 4-day tent-camping trek. I walk around the lake on the bike path every time I go & never tire of the beauty & serenity. GOOD CHOICE, folks!

    • libertatemamo says

      Goodness, we must JUST have missed each other. Totally agree this is a great place. Definitely gives you that mountain feel with all the serenity that entails. Loving it so far!

    • libertatemamo says

      Great post on the area! I’ve now added the 2 waterfalls you mentioned to our “list” of things to do before we leave. By the way I’m happy to report absolutely NO mosquitoes here in Sept. It’s really the perfect time to stay!

  5. says

    Hi Nina & Paul, so glad you found some sun! Isn’t it nice to not need layers of fleece during the DAY?! lol
    Gorgeous setting, but I’m sorry Polly got sick! Who knew the algae could be so harmful to canines?!
    As always, a great post and photos! Enjoy!

    • libertatemamo says

      Definitely! It sure is nice to be back in a T-shirt during the day, although I do get the fleece out for those morning chills. Weather has been fabulous here so can’t complain at all.
      I didn’t know about the algae and dogs either…until we finally read the warning here at the campground (duh!). They recommend no swimming either, for the same reason.

  6. says

    PS I forgot! You did an outstanding polish job on the brass and copper at the Lighthouse! They really do gleam now! Thank you on behalf of all the volunteers! :)

  7. Rowanova says

    What a great place. I haven’t been there but it would sure be worth the trip. Great write-up and photos. These high mountain locations are my kinda heaven, my kinda temple. I’m at peace with myself and the world best when I’m in such places, wether day hiking, backpacking, just tent camping, or with my fifth wheel trailer. I just got home from a near week long trip near Mt. Adams in WA state. Awesome.

    Any chance of an article on that 1000 watt solar system? I think a lot of us guys would appreciate the opportunity to learn a little…or in my case, a lot.

    Continued happy travels.


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