USFS McKenzie River Ranger District – Big Lake Campground and Day Use

Latitude 44° 22' 39.0000" N Longitude 121° 52' 14.9999" W

Big Lake Campground is located on the shore of Big Lake only 30 miles east of McKenzie Bridge off of Highway 126 at an elevation of 4,600 feet. This campground and day use area cover 70 acres. The entire route is paved, including the campground road. Parking spurs are gravel.

Park Location – From Eugene, Oregon, take I-105 east to McKenzie Highway 126. Travel east on 126 for 90 miles to Santiam Pass. At the top of the Pass, turn right onto the access road (sign says Hoodoo Ski Area, Big Lake Road, & Benson Sno-Park). Travel one mile to the fork in the road and stay left on Forest Service Road 2690. Continue for 2 miles to the entrance to Big Lake Campground on the left.

Park Usage – May 17, 2024 thru November 3, 2024

About the Park

This campground provides 49 single campsites.  There are both reservable and FCFS sites.  The original campsites within Big Lake are in two loops, (sites #1-14 and #15-20) which have eight or so sites with frontage on the lake shore.  In 1992 additional campsites were opened (sites #21-49) on a long straight stretch from the boat launch towards Big Lake West.  These sites have larger and wider parking spurs, and most sites use stairs to access the table, fire rings and tent pad below the parking spur.  Sites can accommodate trailers up to 35 feet in length, depending on site.  Drinking water is provided by a water system, built in 1993, which serves the entire Big Lake complex by filtering water drawn from the lake and distributing it to the campgrounds.  There are three single vault toilets, and two double vault toilets in the campground.  The extra vehicle parking area consists of a boat launch, picnic area, and parking for approximately 15 vehicles and boat trailers.  All of these day use facilities are located in the middle of the campground, between the original loops and the “expansion” campsites.  

Reservations may be made up to 6 months in advance of arrival date by reserving online at RECREATION.GOV or by calling 877-444-6777.

Big Lake Campground


Reservation Rules

Reservations, Cancellations and Changes must be made through

If I book this reservation today, what are my options to change or cancel?

Please remember that reservations at these facilities prevent other visitors from using these sites. Planned changes to your stay should be made as far in advance as possible. You can make changes to your reservation ahead of your arrival date in My Reservations via the Rec.Gov website.


If your new stay dates are completely different from your original stay dates, there is a $10 change fee (per reserved site). There are no additional fees for:

  • Adding or removing nights to your stay.
  • Changing to a different campsite.

Balances will adjust based on your new stay’s nightly rate.


You can cancel the reservation any time before the date of your scheduled arrival. You will receive a refund for your stay, minus the following fees:

  • $10 cancellation fee
  • Any reservation fees (only if paid when booking)
  • Any previous change fees

Late cancellation penalties may also apply:

What is “Late”?

For individual campsites, a late cancellation applies starting from midnight 1 calendar day before your scheduled check-in. For cabins and group sites, a late cancellation applies starting from midnight 14 calendar days or fewer before your scheduled check-in.

Late Fee

In addition to the fees listed above, a late cancellation will also subtract your first night’s recreation use fee from any refund owed. As of the expected check-in day, cancellations or changes to your stay are not possible through My Reservations. It is at the facility’s discretion to support additional Late Cancellations, No Show, or Early Departure updates – on-site personnel may not be able to assist. These changes carry penalties and may forfeit recreation use fees. For additional details, please visit  here.

Facility Rates


Day Use Fee – $9


Nearby Attractions

The major activities in the Big Lake area revolve around motorized use.  Boats frequent the lake and off highway vehicles (OHVs) us the adjacent Santiam Pass Motorized Recreation Area.  Other attractions include Mt. Washington Wilderness and associated access trails, historic Santiam Wagon Road, McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass National Scenic Byway, Pacific Crest Trail, and Sand Mountain Lookout.

Water skiing, sailing and swimming are among the favorite activities at the lake. The Patjens Lakes Trail offers excellent hiking opportunities. The trail follows the western side of Big Lake, heads south into the Mt. Washington Wilderness, passes alongside the scenic Patjens Lakes, and then loops back to the campground.