Most of the Cascade Lakes are known for their tranquility, with their picturesque views and calm, shallow waters that draw people to the region for the excellent paddling and relaxing fishing. Cultus Lake is a huge exception to these characteristics, being anything but calm and relaxing. Feeling more like the Pacific Ocean because of its unusual depth and windy Cascade conditions, it is the lake where the motors of speedboats and party boats can go full speed and where jet skis and wave runners can run wild on its widespread surface area. There is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the lake safely, even on the busiest days of summer. The lack of a speed limit on Cultus Lake make it an extremely popular lake, and the adjacent campground, despite being a relatively large campground, is at or near capacity every night throughout the summer.
Cultus Lake Campground is one of three campgrounds on Cultus Lake, and it is the only one accessible by road. It does not offer any hookups for RVs, though the driveways are long enough to accommodate longer vehicles or boat trailers. A little less than half of the campsites can be reserved, while the others are first-come, first-served. Arriving early in the week is an essential move on any given night during the peak seasons of July and August if you want any chance at a campsite without a reservation. Most people who camp at Cultus Lake stay a long time due to the fact that it is the only "high-speed lake" nearby, and the reservable sites are booked much farther in advance than they would be at the other Cascade Lakes.
Cultus Lake Campground is closed far more often than it is open, usually opening in mid- to late May and closing by mid-September. The campground is much less crowded in the first month that it is open due to the fact that the weather is cooler and the lake is windy. However, if you will be arriving anytime after mid-June and once Oregon schools are out and the days get warmer, reservations are a must.