For camping and water fun at its finest in the High Desert of Oregon’s mountains, Prineville Reservoir State Park has a fantastic view of the Ochoco Mountain Range, the Crooked River, and the Bowman Dam to name a few. The lake features over 3,000 acres of clear blue water with 43 miles of shoreline to enjoy alone or with the family on your next RV vacation trip. There are many campgrounds, both developed and primitive, with amenities galore for your convenience and enjoyment. Whether you are looking for fishing, hiking, boating, or just relaxing, the Prineville Reservoir State Park has what you need.
Located on one of Central Oregon’s most popular lakes, you can explore the fishing opportunities while appreciating the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and canyons. If fishing is not your thing, you can also bring a boat so you can get out on the lake in captain fashion, soaking up the Oregon sun. Or you can even take a dip in the lake when it gets too hot. Bring plenty of sunscreen and towels as well as drinking water with some snacks to keep your hunger satisfied until you get back to your campsite for the BBQ.
Prineville Reservoir State Park is located in central Oregon, about three-and-a-half hours southeast of Portland. Prineville, Redmond, and Bend are the closest towns to stock up on gas or supplies. The roads near the park, such as US-26 and US-320 can be winding and steep in certain areas, so use caution if you are driving a big rig. Once inside the park, it's easy to navigate since the main road is basically a large loop.
You will find a large parking lot for day-use only with a boat trailer parking section down by the lake. Several streets within the camping section take you to the individual sites where you can park your vehicle and RV, and there is another small parking area by the entrance to the park.
There are over 100 campsites, with two of the RV sites being handicapped accessible. All spots are equipped with a parking spot, space for a tent, campfire, and picnic table. Each site is a nice size, and you will have plenty of room to enjoy with your family. You can even bring your favorite canine or feline with you, but they must be restrained at all times.
There are 104 campsites at Prineville Reservoir State Park for RV, tent, and boat camping. Twenty-two sites offer electric hookups and 18 sites features full hookups. Also, 22 tent sites have a campfire ring, picnic table, space for a family-sized 10 x 10 tent, and a large parking space.
The campsites are separated by loops A, B, and C with the A-loop being tent pads, B-loop are RV sites, and the C-loop are cabins. The RV sites fit between 31 and 60-foot RVs, and the standard sites have water and electricity while the standard full sites have water, electricity, and sewer hookups. All of the sites come equipped with a fire pit and picnic table.
There is a dump site for waste on the premises and trash receptacles at designated areas in the park. There are two restrooms with shower stations, one right outside loop A and one in the middle of the RV campground. Reservations can be made 24/7, from one day to nine months in advance.
If you have the urge to camp in the winter, check out the cabins at the Prineville Reservoir State Park. They have five deluxe cabins that can house up to six people comfortably with air conditioning, heat, hot water (showers), refrigerators, microwaves, a porch with a BBQ pit, picnic tables, and they are fully furnished. One of the cabins is pet-friendly if you want to bring your furbaby along. Two of the cabins are handicapped accessible. Many people call it glamping, but if it is below freezing outside, it is awfully nice to come back to a warm, toasty cabin with all the comforts of home.
Ditch the electronics and grab your net because you are liable to catch a monster bass, trout, or catfish in the clear blue waters of this peaceful lake. The Prineville Reservoir boasts many species including rainbow and cutthroat trout, largemouth bass, flathead and channel catfish, crappie, and even crayfish. The clear waters flow directly out of the Ochoco Mountains and join together, forming the Crooked River, which forms the Prineville Reservoir with the help of the Bowman Dam. So don’t forget to pack that rod and reel in your campervan.
If you have your own boat, make sure to reserve one of the park’s 32 moorage sites because they fill up fast in the summertime. Whether you have come to swim, fish, ski, or do some tubing, the Prineville Reservoir is a great choice. With 3,000 acres of water, you and your family will be able to find a secluded spot to enjoy a day of water fun to relax on the lake without any of the noisiness and distractions of the city life. You can also do some wakeboarding, windsurfing, paddle boarding, or kayaking there if that is your go-to water sport.
You can check out the two rugged and exciting nature trails after you find the perfect spot to dock your RV. These hikes are both rated as being moderate so make sure you wear your hiking shoes and bring a backpack with supplies like water, snacks, and a first aid kit. Chimney Rock Trail is just under three miles long one way and is best for hiking, running, and even bird watching. For a longer trip, take the Northern Prineville Reservoir Trail, which is just over seven miles long one way. Bring a camera to take some pics of the beautiful scenery as well as the wildlife that abounds in this part of the state from the tiny America pika to the huge majestic moose.
The lake is not off limits during the cold winter months at Prineville Reservoir State Park. In fact, December and January are the best times to catch a trophy rainbow or steelhead trout. Make sure you're dressed for the cold weather because Oregon can get below freezing and being on the lake is quite nippy, but the trout are happiest and hungriest at that time of the year. And don’t forget your net because the trout in this lake can get mighty big.
Whether you are a bird watcher or nature lover, there are a plethora of furry and feathered critters at Prineville Reservoir State Park. Bring some binoculars and pick a spot along the shore or in the woods and you can spot some wild things enjoying the peacefulness of the winter months. Some of the wildlife includes black bears, foxes, raccoons, deer, elk, moose, mountain lions, coyotes, pika, waterfowl, birds of prey, and many varieties of songbirds.
No matter what time of year you park your camping trailer at Prineville Reservoir State Park you can always enjoy a scenic picnic. There are numerous spots along the lake to chow down on some freshly caught and cooked fish. If you are staying at the campground there is a picnic area right near the volleyball courts so after a pleasant meal you can play a friendly game.