Elk Lake Campground outside of Detroit, Oregon is a fairly primitive campground that it is difficult to reach but offers solitude and peace and quiet in an area mostly filled with RV’s and loud visitors. The campground is small and located on the west of Elk Lake with 17 first come first served campsites. There are no reservations here and the campground has vault toilets and no potable water.
The actual campground itself is located in a forested area with a few sites offering lakeside views but most nestled away in the woods. Near the campground is a primitive boat launch area however there are no motors allowed on the lake. Elk Lake Campground does not offer garbage services so whatever you bring in must also be packed out.
Getting to Elk Lake Campground is perhaps the most exciting part of this campground. The road in to Elk Lake is VERY rough and not recommended for trailers or RVs (they really should be banned) and would be a serious challenge for smaller cars with low clearance. We made it to Elk Lake without any problems in a Chevy Tahoe and did not require 4×4 at all. Even so, the drive to Elk Lake is a very slow one and requires focus and speeds at times near 1 mph. The road really is that bad.
So is camping at Elk Lake worth it? If you are going to spend a few nights in the woods then yes, we think it is totally worth it. This is “roughing” it camping – at least in regards to car camping – and is truly an out there experience. Elk Lake is beautiful, the views are amazing and the solitude is unbeatable when it comes to car camping.
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