History | Park Maps | Visitor Centers | Day Visits | Camping | Trails | Winter Activities
Crater Lake is widely known for its intense blue color and spectacular views. During summer, visitors may navigate the Rim Drive around the lake, enjoy boat tours on the lake surface, stay in the historic Crater Lake Lodge, camp at Mazama Village, or hike some of the park's various trails including Mt. Scott at 8,929 ft. Diverse interpretive programs enhance visitors' knowledge and appreciation of this national park, 90% of which is managed as wilderness. The winter brings some of the heaviest snowfall in the country, averaging 533 inches per year. Although park facilities mostly close for this snowy season, visitors may view the lake during fair weather, enjoy cross-country skiing, and participate in weekend snowshoe hikes.
Hours/Seasons: The park is always open, but many of the roads and facilities are closed during the winter.
Summer -- (June through September) Rim Village Visitor Center: late June through Labor Day, 9:30 AM - 5:30 PM, daily, early June and September, 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM.
Steel Visitor Center: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, daily.
Winter--(October through May) Rim contact Station (located in cafeteria building at Rim Village): 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM, daily.
Directions: From the North: 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.
Fees: $10 - 7 Days
Weather: May and June can vary from warm, sunny days in the 60's to temperatures down into the 30's with several feet of snow and poor lake visibility. July, August, and September have an average daytime high temperature around the 70's, but can range from the 40's through low 80's. Winter usually begins in early to mid October and lasts until June. Temperatures during the winter months range from an average high of 43F to an average low of 19F.
Local Native Americans witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and kept the event alive in their legends. One ancient legend of the Klamath people closely parallels the geologic story which emerges from today's scientific research. The legend tells of two Chiefs, Llao of the Below World and Skell of the Above World, pitted in a battle which ended up in the destruction of Llao's home, Mt. Mazama. The battle was witnessed in the eruption of Mt. Mazama and the creation of Crater Lake.
The Klamaths revered the lake and the surrounding area, keeping it undiscovered by white explorers until 1853. That year, on June 12, three gold prospectors, John Wesley Hillman, Henry Klippel, and Isaac Skeeters, came upon a long, sloping mountain. Upon reaching its highest point, a huge, awe-inspiring lake was visible. "This is the bluest lake we've ever seen," they reported, and named it Deep Blue Lake. But gold was more on the minds of settlers at the time and the discovery was soon forgotten.
Captain Clarence Dutton was the next man to make a discovery at Crater Lake. Dutton commanded a U.S. Geological Survey party which carried the Cleetwood, a half-ton survey boat, up the steep slopes of the mountain then lowered it to the lake. From the stern of the Cleetwood, a piece of pipe on the end of a spool of piano wire sounded the depth of the lake at 168 differnt points. Dutton's soundings of 1,996 feet were amazingly close to the sonar readings made in 1959 that established the lake's deepest point at 1,932 feet.
William Gladstone Steel devoted his life and fortune to the establishment and management of Crater Lake National Park. His preoccupation with the lake began in 1870. In his efforts to bring recognition to the park, he participated in lake surveys that provided scientific support. He named many of the lake's landmarks, including Wizard Island, Llao Rock, and Skell Head. Steel's dream was realized on May 22, 1902 when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill giving Crater Lake national park status. And because of Steel's involvement, Crater Lake Lodge was opened in 1915 and the Rim Drive was completed in 1918.
Crater Lake National Park is fast approaching its 100th birthday. The celebration of one of our nation's oldest parks is a testament to the courage and determination of William G. Steel and the countless others who have been involved in the preservation of this national treasure. In looking to the future appreciation and preservation of this park, knowledge of its history and origins are imperative in keeping with the tradition of Crater Lake's unique past.
Steel Information Center
Rim Village Visitor Center
Sinnott Memorial Overlook and
Crater Lake Lodge
If you approach Munson Valley from the north (accessible only from late June to October), the easterly portion of the Rim Drive is a left-hand turn just past the Steel Information Center. Continuing straight ahead (south) takes you to Mazama and the Annie Spring Entrance Station. If you approach Munson Valley from the south, you encounter the junction with the Rim Drive. Proceeding north-west, you begin the clock-wise portion of the Rim Drive, and access to the Rim Village. Turning east takes you around Crater Lake in a counter-clockwise direction and is the quickest route to The Pinnacles section of the park.
A short distance (east) of this road junction on the Rim Drive is the delightful Castle Crest Wildflower Trail. While this is a short .4-mile loop trail, the tread is uneven and is not suitable for wheelchairs. When flowers are in bloom the profusion of colors is spectacular. The trail passes from forest, to wet meadows, crosses a tributary of Munson Creek, and finally passes a small dry slope exposing the visitor to a wide assortment of Northwest wildflowers.
The views of Crater Lake from the Rim are certainly the highlight of Rim Village. A path follows along the Rim from Discovery Point to Crater Lake Lodge (2.6 miles round-trip). An extension of this trail proceeds from Crater Lake Lodge to the top of Garfield Peak (3.4 miles round-trip). Walking a portion of any of these trails affords the visitor views of Wizard Island, The Watchman, Hillman Peak, Mt. Thielsen (located outside of the park to the north), Cleetwood Cove (located at the base of the North Rim, nearly 6 miles distance), Mt. Scott, and Garfield Peak. A short walk to Sinnott Memorial, with a small museum and ranger-talks during the summer, gives a spectacular view 900 feet down to the lake's surface.
Winter lasts for eight months at Crater Lake National Park. At an elevation of 7,100 feet, snow lingers long into the "summer". While access to the Rim Village is open year-round, most of the facilities are buried under the 533 inches of snow Crater Lake receives each year (on average). The Rim Village Gift Store/Cafeteria are the only services open in winter. Ranger-led snowshoe walks are offered on weekends and holidays.
There are two campgrounds inside the park:
Mazama Campground, operated by the
park's concessionaire, contains 200 sites and is open from June through
early October. Reservations are not taken, but generally there are
plenty of sites available. The campground offers running water, fire
rings, picnic tables, and flush toilets. Wheelchair sites are available.
The fee for 1999 was $14.75 per tent/camper site or $15.75 per RV site.
More than 2 adults per site - $3 per additional person. Lost
Creek Campground contains 16 sites for tent camping only. It is located in
the southeast corner of the park on the spur road to the Pinnacles
overlook. It is open from July through early October. Fees are $10 per
Camping within 40 miles of Crater Lake is available at the following sites:
Oregon State Parks (Campsite Information Center): (800) 452-5687
River National Forest
Be prepared for sudden and extreme weather changes. Be prepared for the unexpected and carry extra food and water. Always carry raingear. Pack-out or bury human waste more than 200 feet from water. Stay on trails. Dogs and other pets, bicycles, and motor vehicles are NOT allowed on any park trails. Remember, elevations range from 6,000-9,000 feet- take it easy and have fun!
Selected Hiking Trails
Cleetwood Cove Trail
Crater Lake National Park receives an average of 45 feet of snow annually. The only road open during the winter months is the southern entrance road up to Rim Village. During periods of heavy snowfall, the road to Rim Village may also be closed. The Steel Information Center is open daily except for Christmas, as is Rim Village where a cafeteria and gift shop are located. Ranger-led winter ecology walks are held every weekend. Other popular winter activities include snowmobiling, snow shoeing and cross-country skiing,.
The following is a list of selected ski trails at the park:
For Additional Information Contact:
Lake National Park
For more information visit the National Park Service website