Trust Me: This place is unbelievable, beyond belief with great hikes, incredible views, perfect weather, and an unbeatable experience.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning, the sun looked bright and glorious. That’s when we decided to head to Crater Lake National Park. This is definitely a unique and awe-inspiring location to take a trip to when you are in Oregon. Crater lake is the deepest lake in the US. It is a huge tourist attraction during the summer. If someone asks me when is the best time to visit crater lake, I would say it is summer. But you know what, a bit of snow on the peaks of the mountains would really add beauty to this place. The only difficulty would be to get here as some of the routes would be closed. So, I would suggest visiting this park during early June until the end of October before it starts snowing heavily.
There were beautiful fall colors on our way to the Crater Lake National Park. The travel time from Portland to the Crater Lake is about 3 hours 50 minutes and it is absolutely doable in a day. The routes are through the Willamette national forest & Fremont-Winema national forest.
We entered the park through the North entrance and being a National Parks day, we were exempted from paying the fee. Otherwise, the fee for the park is $15 per car. When we got to the lake, the weather was just fine to take drive around the rim. The sun was bright and the color of the lake looked miraculously blue.
You can totally drive around the crater lake rim and stop at various look out points. The 33 mile long rim is completely drive – able during the summer with certain closures during the winter due to snow. It would take about 2-3 hours to travel around the rim but we took about 4 hours to just go half way through stopping at each and every look out point. It is so beautiful that you can’t resist yourself from stepping out of the car and clicking photographs. Our first look out point was the watchman overlook. This is the best spot to take a look at the wizard island. We spent some time looking at the clear blue water.
Unfortunately, there were no ferry rides to the Wizard Island during this time of the month as it had already snowed a few weeks back. Hence, we could not hop on the ferry to take a closer look at the wizard Island. The hiking trail to reach the ferry is called the cleetwood cove trail and this will take about 2 hours roundtrip. Well, not having a ferry ride was a blessing in disguise because the water was perfectly still and unperturbed. I could just stand there and gaze at it all day.
The History of Crater Lake
Did you know Crater Lake was a result of a massive volcanic eruption which occurred decades ago? Well, there is a fascinating history behind the origin of Crater Lake. Created by the explosion of Mt. Mazama 7,700 years ago, Crater Lake has long inspired reverence and wonder. The Klamaths kept the lake undiscovered by white explorers until 1853, and William Gladstone Steel devoted over thirty years to establishing the Park. In 1902, President Roosevelt signed legislation making Crater Lake America’s 6th National Park.
Centuries of rain and snowfall has fed this lake and this makes the lake one of the clearest lakes in the world.
Time for some tidbits: Did you know this lake has been named thrice? First it was named as blue lake, then changed to lake majesty and finally settled on Crater Lake.
we took a drive through the west rim at first and drove uptil Crater Lake Lodge. Oh! if you have plans to stay in the Crater Lake National Park, you might as well try to book a cabin in Mazama Village or Crater Lake Lodge well in advance. Ofcourse, getting a cabin would be tough during peak season. For quick reference, here are the links below: http://www.craterlakelodges.com/
Now, if you do not find a cabin in Crater Lake Lodges, you can try to settle down at Crescent Lake which is about an hour away from Crater Lake National Park. Here is a quick reference link for making a booking: http://crescentlakeresort.com/
The rim village is open throughout the year and provide refreshments and gift options too. This is the only place in Crater Lake National Park where you would find some food and restrooms. Hence, I would recommend packing some food and beverages when you start your trip to the lake. It would be nice to do a little picnic overlooking the lake.
Some of the popular lookout points are:
- Watchman overlook
- Discovery point
- Vidae Falls
- Phantom ship overlook
- Cloudcap overlook
- Cleetwood Cove trail which is the tour boat landing spot
The evenings in crater lake can be pretty cold and windy. We started to drive around the east rim and there are some serene look out spots where you can park your car and peacefully settle in the beauty of the lake. But due to rainfall and wind, we could not stay longer.
Now here are some tips to know before you head out to this place:
- Fill up your tank. The nearest city called Chemult is about 26 miles from the lake.
- Bring food or eat beforehand. As said earlier, you will not find many places to eat in the rim.
- There can be seasonal closures in the park, hence always check the website before heading out.
If you are looking for more tourist attractions nearer to crater lake, then you should definitely visit some of the places listed below. Again, I have not personally visited these spots but I have heard good reviews about them:
- Diamond Lake,
- Toketee Falls
- We drove by the Rogue- Umpqua scenic byway and it was amazingly beautiful with all the brilliant fall colors and river flowing by.
- Umpqua hotsprings
- Watson Falls
So stay tuned for more travel blogs and pictures.