Summit Lake Campground is the little campground that could.
Its three sites offer only picnic tables and fire pits; the campground has a single vault toilet and an unimproved boat ramp in the middle; accessing the campground from any direction is a difficult prospect requiring a high-clearance, four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle; and finally, when you are there at the wrong time of year, the mosquitoes can become absolutely terrible. In fact, you may just sit in your parked car after your long, slow, and bumpy drive, wondering about your next move as you hear a disembodied, psychotic whine and note the mosquito clouds that float themselves against your windows like millions of minute zombies hungry for human flesh.
But at least you won’t have to pay for the privilege. And the view will be divine. Indeed, it is because of this view, this incredible location, that Summit Lake Campground is an absolute gem in spite of itself. The lake rewards every effort, and the campground provides some of the more open camping areas around the lake. To be sure, there are plenty of pullouts along the primitive roads that follow the north and west shores, but most are in the dense lodgepole and ponderosa growth and miss the sun. Further, and rather unfortunately, many of these pullouts have a close perimeter of human waste left by campers too lazy to bring a shovel. The campground, then, is a great choice if one of the three spots is available when you arrive.
Perhaps predictably, the sites are all first-come, first-served. Access to the campground is rough in good conditions, and excessive rain may make the road impassible, not to mention snow. Please consider the weather when making your plans. Mosquitoes are usually scarce by mid-August, and September is a safer bet. In addition to the recreational opportunities on Summit Lake, the campground is just steps away from the Pacific Crest Trail and the hike to Diamond Peak and Marie and Rockpile Lakes.