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Crater Lake National Park

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Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Oregon Crater Lake National Park

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Introduction

Crater Lake National Park is a United States National Park located in southern Oregon. Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park is the fifth oldest national park in the United States and the only one in the state of Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of Crater Lake, a remnant of a destroyed volcano, Mount Mazama, and the surrounding hills and forests.

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Geography

The lake is 592 metres deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the ninth deepest in the world. The caldera rim ranges in elevation from 2,100 to 2,400 metres. The United States Geological Survey benchmarked elevation of the lake surface itself is 1,883 metres. This National Park encompasses 741.48 km2. Crater Lake has no streams flowing into or out of it. All water that enters the lake is eventually lost from evaporation or subsurface seepage. The lake's water commonly has a striking blue hue, and the lake is re-filled entirely from direct precipitation in the form of snow and rain.

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Sights and Activities

The 33-mile Rim Drive encircles Crater Lake, giving varied perspectives of the lake, rim, and surrounding terrain. Open only during the summer from late June to mid-October, there are many overlooks with interpretive signs. The only access to the lake itself is by steep trail to Cleetwood Cove, where boat tours of the lake are offered. Numerous picnic areas are along the Rim Drive, as is hiking access from Rim Village to Garfield Peak. Rim Drive also accesses Lightning Springs (west side), Cleetwood Cove (north side), Mount Scott (east side), Sun Notch Viewpoint and Crater Peak (south side). Both Kerr Notch and Sun Notch Viewpoints are particularly spectacular viewpoints, with views down to Phantom Rock and across the lake to Wizard Island.

The Pinnacles can be reached in the summer from the Rim Drive on a paved, 6-mile road. These eerie spires of eroded ash rise from the edges of Sand and Wheeler Creeks in pinnacle-fashion. On the way you'll pass Lost Creek Campground. Once upon a time, the road continued east of the turn-out, to the former East Entrance of the park. A path now replaces the old road and follows the rim of Sand Creek (and more views of pinnacles) to where the entrance arch still stands. A different route back to the Rim Drive, is to take the Grayback Road, a one-way, westbound only, gravel road.

There are over 90 miles of trails, with marked routes from 15 minutes to more than two hours. Hiking or climbing inside the caldera is prohibited. Conditions within the caldera are extremely dangerous. The Cleetwood Trail is the only safe and legal access to the lake’s shore.

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Opening Hours

The park is always open, but some of the roads and facilities are closed during the winter. The Steel Visitor Center is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily from late April to early November. Open 10:00am to 4:00pm daily (except December 25) from early November to early April.

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Cost

  • Car - $15.00 (7 day pass)
  • Motorcycles, bicycles & pedestrians - $10.00 per person (7 day pass)

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Getting There and Around

By Train

AmTrak provides service to Klamath Falls, about 100 kilometres from the park. From there, it is possible to rent a car or arrange a shuttle (seasonal).

By Car

From Medford - Route 62 north and east to the park's west entrance.
From Klamath Falls - Route 97 north to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance.
From Roseburg - Route 138 east to the park's north entrance.
From Bend - Route 97 south to Route 138 west to the park's north entrance.

Winter from Roseburg - Route 138 east to Route 230 south to Route 62 east to the park's west entrance.
Winter from Bend - Route 97 south to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance.

Roads inside and close to the park are typical mountain roads with many curves and a number of drop-offs. Weather can change suddenly, with snowstorms even in August. Drive cautiously especially if you're not used to mountain driving.

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Eat

Crater Lake Lodge Restaurant, Phone: +1 541 594-1184, Rim Village. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spectacular views of Crater Lake. Dinner entrées emphasize the Pacific Northwest.

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Drink

Be aware that the waters there contain a lot of minerals and it is advised that you bring your own water with you while hiking the trails.

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Sleep

Crater Lake Lodge has 71 rooms and is normally open mid May through mid October.
Mazama Cabins has 40 units and is located in the Mazama Village complex. It is open late May through early October.
Mazama Campground has 200 sites and is open late May through early October.
Lost Creek Campground is open June 12 through early October, weather permitting.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 7:56 on Sep 1, 15 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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