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

Crater Lake

Crater Lake was formed about 7700 years ago when a 12,000 foot (3600 meter) volcano collapsed during a major eruption, believed to be the largest eruption in North America in the last 640,000 years. The lake is fed by rain and snow and has no rivers or streams. It is considered the cleanest large body of water in the world and at 1943 feet (or 593 meters) is the deepest lake in the United States. Today the slopes of the volcano are blanketed by old growth forest and meadows providing a home for a variety of plants and animals including several rare species. The park was established in 1902, consists of 183,000 acres and attracts over half a million visitors a year. One good way to see the lake is to drive the 33 mile (53 kilometer) rim drive and stop at several of the overlooks. You can do this in a fast day but to fully experience the park you should spend at least a couple of days here. The entrance fee is $10. Accessibility is limited during winter months.

Wizard Island

Wizard Island was formed during a second eruption some 400 years after the one that formed Crater Lake. It is a cinder cone volcano named after its resemblance to a wizards hat. There are numerous places along the rim drive to see the island but one of the best is Watchman Overlook. There are also boat tours that take you by the island and 96 tickets per day are sold to actually disembark on the island for swimming, fishing and hiking.

The Pinnacles

Pinnacles Overlook is located at the end of a 7 mile spur road, and is well worth the drive. The pinnacles are a collection of 100 foot (30 meter) tall spires eroded from the canyon walls. These are what is called “fossil fumaroles” and are where volcanic gas rose up through volcanic ash deposits fusing them solid. Many of these fumaroles are hollow inside.

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  • In a nutshell:Beautiful and Interesting Location
  • Last visit to Crater Lake National Park: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated Mar 1, 2010
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  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    You have some excellent photos of this memorable spot. I loved your view from Cloudcap Overlook especially. Thanks for bringing back some good memories of my own visit here :-)


“As for me, I'll take the road less traveled.”

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