"OREGON"S FIRST NATIONAL PARK" Top 5 Page for this destination Crater Lake National Park by mtncorg

Crater Lake National Park Travel Guide: 150 reviews and 440 photos

Oregon had only one 'National Park' for a long time. There is a 'Volcanic National Park' at Newberry Crater-Paulina near Bend - also a collapsed volcano like here with two smaller lakes within the old crater. And there is the curiosity that is the Lewis and Clark National Park near Astoria on the coast - really an amalgam of State Parks and a National Historic Site that have been thrown into one tent.

There is plenty of other terrain that could probably be serving of the status, but it is probably better the way it is. National Parks have a way of attracting too much attention to a fragile piece of wilderness. By maintaining large tracts of 'wilderness' areas, the Federal government is probably performing a more useful method of protecting what we have.

Crater Lake is not unique, even in Oregon - see the newer Newberry Crater National Park. It is, however, the best example of a huge volcano that has imploded in on itself. Orginally, Mt Mazama, in size, was on the order of the nearby much younger Mt Shasta, in California. With time, the mountain collapsed on itself, leaving a huge basin - caldera - within which water collected forming the lake. The lake is almost 2000 feet deep with cliffs rising another 2000 feet above.

The Park's activities are mainly located on the rim of the crater, especially in the SW corner of the rim next to the restored lodge. The drive around the rim, either from the car or on bike, is a highlight. To witness the lake from a myriad of viewpoints is to better appreciate the lake. There are several outstanding hikes of fairly short duration off the Rim Road you can take to even more spectacular views: the Watchman, Mt Scott or Garfield Peak. You can take a boat tour from Cleetwood Cove, accessed by a mile trail from the Rim Road above at the NW corner of the lake. Go early in the day if you can. Boat tours are usually finshed when Labor Day weekend is over, the first Monday in September.

Remember, though, that the elevation is at 7000 feet - actually higher than the ski areas on Mt Hood - Timberline Lodge - and as such, the entire Rim Road does not clear off until late in the summer and then for a short time only, as winter returns early up here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fantastic Lake and super study in Volcanism
  • Cons:Short season and with lots of late snow lying around
  • In a nutshell:How do they make that water so Blue?!
  • Intro Updated Jul 29, 2015
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Reviews (13)

Comments (25)

  • Dec 13, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    wow mark, this is a fantastic page! absolutely loving the colors in your photos! you have been to many national parks, i would love to explore them one day. nice work.

  • Rusket's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2006 at 5:24 AM

    Hm, maybe not on this trip, since we will be in the area late december!

  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2006 at 10:37 AM

    Great pictures and tips. I'm finally going to get here in the fall - looks like a great place!

  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo
    Feb 22, 2006 at 11:09 AM

    lots of information and nice pics. i liked ur tips on snows, blueness of water and animal feeding. 1 advantage of our living in ontario - we can sustain extreme weathers now :-)

  • thecatsmeow's Profile Photo
    Jan 4, 2006 at 5:30 PM

    Mark Gosh just reading this makes me want to go back to Crater Lake. I have not been since 92. Beautiful area and you have some great pictures! Just what is a scree ski? Joyce

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Nov 28, 2005 at 6:07 AM

    One of the western parks I want to visit. Problem is, how to do it? I dont drive. Great photos.

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2005 at 5:05 PM

    Beautiful photos of such an amazing lake. Where else can you find ice cream cones looking for handouts? Maybe the German lady hasn't heard of bubonic plague? That came to mind when I saw the photo. :-/

  • silvia_chang's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2005 at 10:51 AM

    Love your photos~

  • Babcia's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2005 at 1:40 PM

    Wow!! Awesome photography!! Love those photos of Crater Lake. By the way, your pages are a veritable treasure of national parks in the USA - very impressive!! ~Alicja~

  • Jun 3, 2005 at 5:32 AM

    Always have wanted to go to Crater Lake. You've got some great photos and tips, here. I'll make sure to watch out for the Clark's Nutcracker. I had no idea they were bold enough to try to take a nut (I'll make sure to wear extra protection). Thanks. ;-)


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