Discover Crater Lake

Nestled in southern Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake is a captivating vacation destination where untouched wilderness meets geological wonder. This serene and awe-inspiring location is perfect for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and adventure seekers alike.

Crater Lake’s crystal clear, sapphire-blue waters set against towering cliffs and lush forests make it a dream spot for those yearning for a tranquil escape and endless natural beauty. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply seeking a picturesque getaway, you’ll find something special in this pristine corner of Oregon.

Here, you can marvel at the deep-blue lake formed within the remnants of an ancient volcanic eruption, take in breathtaking panoramas from Rim Village, and embark on scenic drives or hikes to stunning viewpoints. Crater Lake invites you to uncover the secrets of this geological marvel, indulge in outdoor adventures, and create cherished memories amidst one of nature’s most picturesque settings.

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3 Facts About Crater Lake

01

Volcanic Origin

Crater Lake was formed by the collapse of a volcano and is believed to be around 7,700 years old. This makes it one of the youngest lakes in the world. The lake gets its breathtaking blue hue from the clear water reflecting off the surrounding rock walls.

02

No Inlets or Outlets

Crater Lake has no inlets or outlets. All the water in the lake is replenished by rainwater and snow melt. This is why the lake has remained so clear after all these years.

03

Second-Deepest in North America

Crater Lake is the deepest water body in the U.S. and the second-deepest in North America, after Canada’s Great Slave Lake. The lake has an average depth of 1,148 feet (350 meters) and a maximum depth of 1,943 feet (592 meters)

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Must-See Attractions

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Crater Lake National Park

Outdoor Recreation

Discover Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon, home to the deepest lake in the U.S. and the seventh deepest in the world. Formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama over 7,700 years ago, this crystal clear lake is a natural wonder filled primarily by snowfall. Explore its 183,224 acres of diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife, making it a must-visit outdoor haven.

Rim Drive

Scenic Drive

Take a breathtaking journey along Rim Drive, a 33-mile road encircling Crater Lake. Enjoy stunning panoramas, picturesque overlooks, and wildlife sightings as you savor the beauty of the lake from your car. It’s a must-do for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

Wizard Island

Outdoor Recreation

Don’t miss Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone rising 6,933 feet above sea level at Crater Lake’s west end. Join a boat tour for a lake perimeter tour and three hours to explore the island’s unique charm. Hike to the summit, fish, swim, and uncover the island’s beauty with two hiking trails to choose from.

Annual Events and Festivals

August 2024

Crater Lake Rim Runs

Lace up your running shoes and take on the challenge of the Crater Lake Rim Run, a must-see event set against the stunning backdrop of Crater Lake. With distances ranging from 6.7 to 26.2 miles, participants will experience the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s mountain terrain while running at altitudes between 5,980 and 7,850 feet above sea level. This event offers breathtaking views and a chance to conquer the majestic surroundings of Crater Lake.

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September 2024

Ride The Rim

In September 2024, don’t miss the Ride the Rim event, a pedestrian-friendly experience that closes off East Rim Drive to vehicular traffic, creating a safe space to explore the park on two wheels or by foot. It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Crater Lake without the distraction of cars, offering a tranquil and immersive experience in this natural wonder.

Throughout the Year

Star Gazing Events

Throughout the year, Crater Lake National Park hosts captivating star gazing events that let you marvel at the wonders of the night sky. Join park rangers and experts for evenings dedicated to exploring the Milky Way and beyond. Crater Lake’s pristine night skies are ranked among the top 10 dark sky locations in the National Park System, offering an unparalleled chance to witness the brilliance of stars, planets, and even the Milky Way itself.

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Top Hiking Trails

Cleetwood Cove Trail

Crater Lake, OR 97604

Eager to head to the water? Take on the Cleetwood Cove Trail! While this is the most popular hike in Crater Lake National Park, it’s one that should not be missed. This moderately challenging 2-mile trail descends 620 feet, leading you to the shores of the deep, blue Crater Lake. While the hike down offers unparalleled lake views, remember that the steep switchbacks make the return ascent equivalent to climbing 65 stories, so ensure you’re in good shape and equipped with proper hiking footwear heading out.

Watchman Peak Trail

Crater Lake, OR 97604

For a rewarding hike with minimal time commitment, tackle the Watchman Peak Trail. This moderate 1.7-mile trail climbs 400 feet through a series of switchbacks, leading to a historic summit lookout. From this vantage point, soak in expansive vistas of Crater Lake, Wizard Island, and the majestic Cascades. And if you’re an early riser, consider donning a headlamp and tackling it first thing for incredible sunrise views.

Mount Scott Trail

Rim Dr, Crater Lake, or 97604

If you’re keen on a challenge, take on the Mount Scott Trail, one of Crater Lake National Park’s toughest and steepest hikes, leading to the park’s highest point at 8,929 feet. This 4.2-mile trail offers breathtaking panoramas of Crater Lake, the Cascade Range, and the Oregon desert to the east. Do keep in mind that snow is often found at the summit, even in the middle of summer, so pack layers and expect the unexpected.

Best Golf Courses

Eagle Point Golf Course

100 Eagle Point Dr, Eagle Point, OR 97524

Eagle Point Golf Club boasts a spectacular layout designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and offers an inviting challenge for golfers of all skill levels. The state-of-the-art practice facility, featuring grass teeing areas, chipping zones, a practice bunker, and a spacious putting green, ensures you can fine-tune your skills before heading out. Plus, you can look forward to walking in the footsteps of golfing greats, as this course has hosted many prestigious tournaments, including the Oregon Amateur Championship and the OGA Stroke Play Championship.

Oak Knoll Golf Course

3070 OR-66, Ashland, OR 97520

Oak Knoll Golf Course, in operation since 1927, has long been a cherished part of the Ashland community. This par-36, 9-hole municipal course welcomes golfers of all abilities to enjoy its challenging layout and picturesque surroundings. With a covered driving range and practice areas, it offers a year-round golfing experience, while its clubhouse patio provides breathtaking views of Grizzly Peak and Pilot Rock.

Quail Run Golf Course

16725 Northridge Dr, La Pine, OR

Quail Run Golf Course, set against the stunning backdrop of Central Oregon’s mountain ranges, offers an impeccably maintained 18-hole championship course with panoramic views. Boasting four sets of tees ranging from 5,400 to over 6,800 yards, Quail Run accommodates golfers of all skill levels. Whether you’re a serious player or simply looking to relax with friends amid the breathtaking Pacific Northwest scenery, this course delivers a memorable golfing experience.

Water Sports

Wizard Island Tours

Boat Tours

During the summer, Wizard Island Tours provides a fascinating experience, combining a lake perimeter tour with three hours on Wizard Island itself. Here, you can hike to the summit, swim, and explore the island’s distinctive features, including a 90-foot-deep crater at the top. The Wizard Island Summit Trail offers a moderate hike that takes approximately one hour to reach the summit and comes highly recommended.

Visit their website for more information

Crater Lake Boat Tour

boat Tours

Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Crater Lake with a Crater Lake Boat Tour, a two-hour cruise that encircles the lake’s perimeter. This scenic journey offers up-close views of Wizard Island, Phantom Ship, and other natural formations, providing a deeper appreciation of the lake’s geological wonders. A knowledgeable ranger on board shares insights into the lake’s history, geology, and culture, making it an educational and awe-inspiring water adventure.

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Morrisons Rogue Wilderness

Rafting

For an exhilarating water sports experience, join Morrisons Rogue Wilderness for Whitewater Rafting on the Rogue River. This full-day whitewater rafting trip covers 18 miles of the thrilling Rogue River, offering splashes, rapids, and the beauty of Southern Oregon’s natural landscapes. Navigate class I & II rapids and enjoy the scenic beauty of the river canyon, complete with bald eagle nests and abundant wildlife.

Visit their website for more information

Winter Activities

Snowshoe Walks

Explore the winter wonderland surrounding Crater Lake with Ranger-led Snowshoe Walks, a delightful activity where you can traverse the snow-covered landscapes with ease. These tours are typically two hours long, covering approximately 1-2 miles along the rim of Crater Lake. Snowshoes are provided free of charge, and no prior experience is needed, making it an accessible and budget-friendly way to enjoy the area’s pristine beauty.

Sledding

Embrace the spirit of winter with sledding at Crater Lake, a laughter-inducing activity for visitors of all ages. The park’s abundant snowfall offers numerous locations for sledding, and you can simply choose a suitable spot with a gentle slope to enjoy this classic winter pastime. If you’re unsure where to head, try out the open meadow south of Crater Lake Lodge.

Winter Hiking

For those who love winter hiking, Crater Lake offers a range of trails to explore the breathtaking surroundings. A great option is the Discovery Point Trail, a 3.97-mile route with a 915-foot elevation gain, suitable for hikers of all levels. Another option is the Garfield Peak Trail, a 3.4-mile hike with stunning panoramic views and some challenging sections. Additionally, the Sun Notch Trail provides an easy 0.8-mile loop accessible in all seasons, making winter hiking in Crater Lake an enjoyable experience for nature enthusiasts.

Where to Eat

Diamond Lake Junction Cafe

$ – $$ • Burgers & Sandwiches

Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room

$$ – $$$ • Upmarket American

South Shore Pizza

$ – $$ • Pizza

Where to Shop

Rim Village Cafe & Gift Shop

Gift Shop

Crater Lake Market

Grocery Store

Coastal Farm & Ranch

Western Apparel Store

Where to Sleep

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Islandview Family Cottage

Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 3
Sq Footage 1,350
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$250.00 / day

Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Crater Lake

Location Selection

When booking a vacation rental near Crater Lake, consider your location preferences. The proximity to the lake can vary, so decide whether you want to stay closer to the park’s entrances or if you prefer a more secluded, nature-focused setting. Additionally, research nearby attractions and amenities to ensure your rental suits your desired activities and interests.

Seasonal Planning

Crater Lake experiences distinct seasons, each offering its own unique charm. Be mindful of the time of year you plan to visit. Summer is ideal for hiking, boating, and enjoying the lake’s deep blue waters, while winter offers opportunities for snowshoeing and a winter wonderland experience.

Rental Availability

Crater Lake is a popular destination, so booking your vacation rental well in advance is essential, especially during peak tourist seasons. Consider making reservations several months ahead to secure the property that best suits your needs. Keep an eye out for any special offers or deals if you’re flexible with your travel dates.

Road Closures

Stay informed about road closures and conditions when planning your trip to Crater Lake. The park’s accessibility can vary throughout the year due to weather and maintenance. Before embarking on your journey, check the latest updates on road closures and construction projects in the area. Be prepared for detours and consider alternate routes to ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience to and from Crater Lake.

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Jet Skiing

Going Deeper on Crater Lake: The Formation of Crater Lake

Crater Lake’s captivating landscape emerged from a dramatic series of geological events. Over thousands of years, Mount Mazama steadily built itself through layer upon layer of lava flows, culminating in an elevation of 12,000 feet. Then, roughly 7,700 years ago, a cataclysmic eruption expelled 12 cubic miles of magma and triggered the mountain’s collapse, shaping the iconic caldera.

Following this cataclysmic event, a gradual process spanning 5,000 to 6,000 years saw the caldera filling with rain and snowfall, eventually giving rise to the pristine waters of Crater Lake. This natural marvel, whose water levels are meticulously balanced by precipitation, evaporation, and seepage, stands as a testament to the intricate interplay of geological forces and the enduring power of nature. Amidst its serene beauty, Crater Lake also serves as a not-so-subtle reminder of the potential for future volcanic activity in this ever-evolving landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions About Crater Lake

Crater Lake, located in Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, boasts a remarkable depth, reaching approximately 1,943 feet (592 meters). It stands as the deepest lake in the United States and one of the deepest worldwide.

The best time to visit Crater Lake for pleasant weather and road accessibility is typically from late June to early October. During this period, you can enjoy clearer skies and milder temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

Swimming in Crater Lake is discouraged due to its frigid temperatures. The lake is primarily filled with snowmelt, resulting in chilly waters, even during the summer months. However, you can appreciate its beauty from various viewpoints and engage in other activities like hiking and photography.

Reaching Crater Lake by car is convenient, especially if you’re coming from the nearby cities of Klamath Falls or Medford. Take Highway 62, which leads directly to the park’s entrances, offering scenic drives and easy access to the lake’s stunning vistas.

Yes, there are accommodations available within Crater Lake National Park. The historic Crater Lake Lodge, perched on the caldera’s rim, offers comfortable rooms and spectacular views of the lake. Also, camping facilities are available for those who prefer a more immersive outdoor experience.

While visiting Crater Lake, make sure to explore nearby attractions such as Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone within the lake, and the Pinnacles, fascinating rock formations on the park’s east side. Additionally, the Rim Drive offers breathtaking viewpoints, allowing you to fully appreciate the lake’s beauty.

Muskoka is known for its picturesque towns and charming villages. Some popular towns you can visit include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Port Carling. Each town offers its unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, making them perfect stopovers during your exploration of the Muskoka region.

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