One of my absolute favorite destinations in Oregon is Crater Lake National Park. The view is breathtaking and the geological history is fascinating. Recently, I had the opportunity to stay in a gorgeous cabin just south of Crater Lake. It was my second time visiting and the adventure could not have been better.
I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance. There are several trails in and around the park and you don’t need to be a skilled hiker to enjoy them. Trails come in all levels of difficulty, from easy to very strenuous. You can take a casual walk through fields of wildflowers or test yourself on Mount Scott, the highest point in the park.
There’s an observation point which takes you to the outermost edge of the caldera as you overlook the entire lake. Inside, there are short videos documenting the eruption of Mount Mazama and geology stations with more information if you feel like geeking out on science. If you’re travelling with small children, this would be a great spot to explore because it’s mostly enclosed. It also has ranger classes for kids throughout the day. More information at the bottom of this post.
A Brief History Detour
About 7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama erupted with a force 42 times stronger than Mount St. Helens in 1980. So much molten rock was expelled that the summit area collapsed during the eruption to form a large volcanic depression, or caldera. An accumulation of rain and snow eventually filled the caldera. The present day level is maintained by a balance of precipitation, evaporation, and seepage.
There is much, much more to Crater Lake’s history and the geological research is simply amazing. Below are links with more information. (All links open in a new window)
More Photos From My Trip and Random Facts
Mazama ash rose and settled over much of the western US and southwestern Canada (656,000 square miles)
The caldera is 5-6 miles in diameter and 3,900 feet deep.
The lake has a maximum depth of 1,949 feet. It’s the deepest lake in the US, second deepest in North America, and seventh deepest in the world.
The park contains more than 40 caves, 31 of which are within the rim of the caldera.
Random facts from National Park Service. To read more click here.
A Few More Details and Tips About Visiting the Park
- We paid a $15 entry for the entire vehicle. The pass was good for one week.
- There is no (free) Wi-Fi. Enjoy your unplugged time.
- Cell phone service is spotty at best (which isn’t bad for 7000+ feet elevation).
- There is a hotel, restaurant, and a few stores at Mazama Village.
- Gas availability is seasonal. Fill up before you go!
- Bug spray! Lots and lots of bug spray.
- See the park from different angles. You can drive completely around the lake; there are plenty of stops along the way.
- There are boat tours and things like that. I’ve never done it but it looks cool.
- You can swim and fish in designated areas. Another thing I haven’t done.
- Be cautious around the caldera. People have died going where they shouldn’t go. There’s only safe one place to get down (stairs on the East Rim) and anywhere else is too dangerous.
- Did I mention bug spray? Seriously, the mosquitoes will eat you alive without it.