Crane Prairie Campground is the largest of the four established campgrounds on Crane Prairie Reservoir, as well as the largest campground on the entire Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. Because it is located adjacent to the nearby Crane Prairie Resort (which has its own campground with full RV hookups for a higher price), Crane Prairie Campground is more-or-less able to offer nearly every amenity imaginable for a campground, from groceries to gasoline to a laundromat.
The 146 campsites at Crane Prairie are split up into five different color-coded loops, which are as follows:
Unlike most other giant campgrounds where the loops tend to be relatively separated from one another, such as those in national parks, the loops at Crane Prairie Campground are somewhat intertwined. You will likely have to navigate your way through at least one other loop to get to the loop you are looking for. If you pass your campsite or take a wrong turn along the way, expect to have to go to the exit of the entire campground to navigate the campground again; this can be a half-mile drive from end to end.
There are two boat launches in the campground: one at the entrance provides day use parking and one within the blue loop on the opposite end of the campground that does not offer any day use facilities or any long-term parking areas (except campsites). There may not be a dock in place at the latter boat launch, but there is a small beach nearby where small watercraft can embark and disembark. Several vault toilets are located throughout the campground, and an amphitheater is located near the exit to the orange loop, which is also the exit every other loop besides yellow uses to leave the campground. The best views of the lake and nearby mountains are on the blue and green loops as well as near the boat launches where picnic tables and/or benches have been placed.
Crane Prairie Campground, like every other campground on Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, is only open during the summer months; however, it is one of the first campgrounds to open on the entire highway - typically in late April, with all loops being open by mid May at about the same time Quinn River and Rock Creek campgrounds are opened. Depending on weather, the campground and resort close in early October for the winter.