Crater Lake National Park
razor blue Crater Lake with island and rocky rim
 

 


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Crater Lake National Park is a magical and serene landscape of ancient forest and the deepest lake in the United States at 1,949 feet. Its extreme depth makes it the ninth deepest lake in the world. But that's not the end of the story. Its average depth of 1,148 feet makes it the deepest in the western hemisphere and third in the world. What may surprise you is that Crater Lake has no creeks flowing out of it nor into it. The lake loses water to subsurface seepage and evaporation, while being replenished by snow and rainfall. Crater Lake used to be 11,00 foot Mazama Mountain, but in 5700 B.C., the mountain imploded during a volcanic eruption. Hundreds of years later, Crater Lake was formed. This massive eruption sent ash as far as Yellowstone, and it produced 150 times more ash than the May 18th 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.



The impressive lake is not the only thing on offer in Crater Lake National Park. I find that the striking old growth forest and wildlands are the real star of the show, and one could easily become lost in this ancient landscape. Forests of pine, fir and hemlock cover most of the 183,000 acres. There is also the Pumice Desert, a volcanic destruction zone north of Mazama which to this day allows for little growth of plants.

Crater Lake is home to wildlife such as deer, roosevelt elk, black bear, fisher, marten, wolverine, badger, mountain lion among other mammals. Bald eagles and osprey also call the area home, along with numerous species of owl.

The entire area has an ambiance of a pristine wilderness, and this feeling is magnified by the scenic national forests which border the park. Those interested in hiking, fishing, boating, stargazing, wildlife watching, photography and other outdoor pursuits will find Crater Lake to be an excellent location. Just remember that this is a remote park. Stock up on what you need from either Medford or Klamath Falls Oregon if coming from the south, or from Bend if coming from the north.

 

Crater Lake National Park Facts:

Total acreage: 183,000 acres
Square Miles: 286
Crater Lake: 13,760 acres
Greatest depth: 1,943 feet
Average depth: 1,148 feet
Surface elevation: 6,173 feet
Surface area: 13,069 acres
Widest point: 6.02 miles
Narrowest point: 4.54 miles
Average height of rim: 1,000 feet
Highest point on rim: 1,980 feet Hillman Peak
Lowest point on rim: 507 feet Palisade Point
Wizard Island: 764 feet above main lake surface
Volume of water: 5 trillion gallons
Clarity readings of 120 feet!
Established: May 22, 1902
Highest point: 8,929 feet (Mt. Scott)
Lowest Point: 3,977 feet (Red Blanket Canyon)
Roads: 79 miles
Trails: 90 miles, including 33 miles of Pacific Crest trail
5 species of fish in the park including rainbow trout and kokanee
Flora: 700 native species, 17 rare
Wildlife species: 222 including the rare wolverine a northern spotted owl
Picnic areas: 8
Drive-in campgrounds: 2
Visitation in 2008: 415,686


P.O. Box 7, Crater Lake, OR 97604
(541) 594-3000

Fees:

Car: $10 for 7 days
Motorcycle: $5 per person for 7 days
Crater Lake annual pass: $20

rocky, green slope with flowers and trees
Flowered slops of Crater Lake rim

 

Getting to Crater Lake National Park is not as easy as it seems if you aren't familiar with the area. Those who live outside of the state who plan to drive can expect long, twisty and remote roads. Those coming from Idaho will have to cross the massive expanse of the Oregon desert with little to no supplies for one hundred miles in one section! Coming from Nampa, Idaho, take 84 north to 20 west (Ontario) to 395 south. Follow this for 36 miles to Christmas Valley Road. Take aright here, and follow this road to the town of Christmas Valley. Hang a left at the center of town on highway 514F, which leads to highway 31. This takes you to Silver Lake. 1.5 miles past silver Lake, take a left on highway 410. Follow this through the national forest and Klamath wildlife refuge. You will soon "t" into highway 97, and can choose to head to the northern or southern entrance. At 97 you can cross and go west on West Boundary Road, which takes you to highway 232. Head south(left) here and take it to Dixon Road, which you will make a right on. This will cross highway 62. Take this north to the Crater Lake southern entrance. The entire trip from 97 is 30 miles. The other option is to take 97 north to highway 138 (left) and then a left on North Cascade Park Road for 30 miles also.

Bend is the major town to the northeast, with Eugene the northwest population center. Klamath Falls is the major center to the southeast, and Medford to the southwest. Medford, Klamath Falls and Eugene have airports.

Surviving pockets of snow along Crater Lake
Preserved snow field on the shore of cold Crater Lake.

Steel Visitorn Center:

Open all year

Hours:

Nov - Mar 10:00 am - 4:00 pm - Daily (except Christmas Day)
Mar - Nov 9:00 am - 5:00 pm - Daily

 

Rim Village Visitor Center:

Rim Village Visitor Center Hours

Jun - Sep 9:30 am - 5:30 pm
May - Jun 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Month of Sep 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Phone - 541-594-2211 ext. 415
Location - Rim Village
Available Facilities - Gift shop, cafeteria, and Crater Lake Lodge

Cafeteria and Gift Shop at Rim Village - Winter Hours

10:00 am - 4:30 pm - Weekdays
10:00 am - 5:00 pm - Weekends and Holidays

Rim Village Visitor Center & Other Stores Summer Hours - 31 May through 30 Sep
8:30 am - 6:00 pm - Daily
8:00 am - 8:00 pm - Daily - Cafeteria and Gift shop at Rim Village
7:00 am - 10:00 pm - Daily - Mazama Village Store

old log crossing tiny creek and flowers
Tiny creek in Crater Lake flower meadow.

 

 

 


 

NEW! Crater Lake National Park campground tours are now available! Includes video tours of Mazama and Lost Creek campgrounds. Our files work on any iPod, iPhone, iPad, Android or home computer. Click the iPod to order. Or use Buy Now:



Parkcamper: Northern Rocky
Mountains Edition features
the campgrounds of Glacier,
Yellowstone, Grand Teton,
Badlands and Theodore
Roosevelt National Parks.
Click the DVD to order!