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diamond lake

Airstream camping at Diamond Lake, Oregon


Diamond Lake—Crater Lake’s redheaded stepsister—is a campin’ bikin’ fishin’ kayakin’ boatin’ (mostly fishin’) fun center right on Hwy 138, only a hundred miles from our backyard in Bend.


Patty and her husband, relative newcomers to the state, heard good things and booked us a week on the lakefront during Central Oregon’s annual peaceful, halcyon days: after the kids return to school, before the first frost.


A one-minute drive around the lake from the campground lies guileless Diamond Lake “Resort” and Convention Center, complete with one-room cabins, a barn labeled “meeting room”, boathouse, and a little store with outdoorsy supplies and Christian books. (But, wait. What possible sort of convention could be held at a site with no Wifi? When I dropped in at the Lodge for the weather report and a bag of ice, I inquired, is there internet connection here? “Sumtimes!” chuckled the bubba at the register. “It’s like fishin’! You just gotta give her a try.”)


Indeed, it’s all about the fishing there. Diamond Lake is apparently teeming with rainbow trout…I mean, like, jammed—jumping into the boats to escape the crowded conditions below and struggling fin-to-fin under the surface like the people on the planet Gideon.


BYOBoat or rent one at the little marina, which we did one afternoon. (I had hoped that our men would actually fish, but they oddly refused, blah-blahing about bringing the wrong equipment and voicing other weak excuses. WTF? They finally drowned one worm to shut me up.) Instead of fishing we motored around the lake, eating sandwiches and drinking Long Island Iced Teas. A good time was had by all.


One male in our party found the dilapidated old resort (built in 1923, evidently the same year the windows were last washed) to be disconcerting, pathetic, a rundown eyesore. The other became wistful, looking at the yellowed photos of bygone fishing derby champs, and viewed the decrepit lodge and surroundings as endearing. You make the call.


World famous Crater Lake waits at the end of ten easy miles in the other direction. As part of my ongoing Zero Visibility Tour of the United States, we chose the most miserable day, weatherwise, to view the lake. (Glacier Point, Empire State Building, you name it; somehow my travel schedule dictates that I visit our nation’s favorite panoramic vistas on the foggiest day imaginable.) 


Tip from me to you: Secure a lakefront site on F Loop at Diamond Lake Campground. You’re welcome.



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