Crater Lake National Park offers something for everyone who enjoys the outdoors. Everyone can enjoy the views of spectacular Crater Lake.
Activities in the park include:
Crater Lake is the most beautiful blue you can imagine. It is as blue as the pictures show it to be. It sits in the caldera or crater of what used to be the volcano Mount Mazama. The mountain blew its top approximately 5700 BC and the crater was then filled with water from melting snow. It is the deepest lake in North America and the seventh deepest lake in the world. The water in the lake is very pure and clear.
The majority of pictures you see of Crater Lake are taken from the rim and most of them are taken from the visitor center area or nearby. There are other views that are just as spectacular and you can see these by driving around the lake. It is a 33-mile drive. This rim drive is great for bicycling and most start at the lodge and go around the lake clockwise to get the steepest parts of the trip over at the beginning. Note: Bicycles are only allowed on paved roads and trails.
The complete drive is usually not open until some time in July. Crews begin clearing the 30 feet of snow with 60-foot drifts from the road in mid-April and it is usually not completed until early July.
Crater Lake Lodge is situated right on the rim of the lake and has breath-taking views of the lake. This historic rustic lodge has 71 rooms, a dining room, a cafe, a buffet, and a gift shop. The rooms are very popular and if you want to make reservations to stay in one, do so as far ahead as possible. Many people book their room a year in advance so plan early. The lodge is only open mid-May to mid-October and this can change if the snow comes early or sticks around late in the Spring.
Be aware that the rooms have no TV, no telephones, no microwave. This isn't a place where people come to watch TV. The hotel has a back deck with deck chairs where you can take in the sun or watch the stars at night.
Here is the reservation site for Crater Lake Lodge.
I recommend that you make your reservations by telephone as you are more likely to get the kind of room that you want. Telephone: (541) 830-8700
Mazama Village Motor Inn. The motor inn is located seven miles from the lake at the park's west entrance and has rooms with private baths. It is open mid-May through September.
Note: Pets are not allowed at either of these lodging facilities.
You can make reservations on line for Mazama Village Motor Inn.
Beginning in early July you can take a two-hour boat tour of the lake. These are very informative tours narrated by a park ranger. You can even stop off at Wizard Island and take a later boat back. To take the tour you have to get down to the water's edge. The only way to do this is to walk down the one-mile long Cleetwood Cove Trail. This is a descent of 700 feet to the boat dock. A toilet is available at the
dock. Temperatures on the lake can be quite chilly so you need to bring a jacket and something to put on your head--hat, scarf.
If you decide to take this trip, remember you can only get back up the rim the same way you came down--a one-mile, 700-foot climb. If you are not in good shape don't go on this trip!
Scuba Diving is allowed near the boat dock area and off of Wizard Island. You must be able to carry all of your equipment to the boat dock and back up to the rim again.
You can fish from the Cleetwood Cove area. You take the same trail down as for the boat tours. There is about 1/4 mile of narrow beach to fish from. You can also fish from Wizard Island.
The lake was stocked years ago with several fish species but only two remain. Kokanee Salmon are numerous in the lake but they are small and not particularly good eating. Rainbow trout are present in lessor numbers but they are good size, averaging 10 to 14 inches. I understand you don't catch these fish with a dry fly because they stay deep under the water. The rainbows are relatively easy to catch but difficult to reel in--they get off the hook easily.
You do not need a license to fish in the lake and there is no limit to the number of fish you can keep.
It is a different story when fishing the streams in Crater Lake National Park. Here you need a state fishing license and State of Oregon fishing regulations apply.
There are about 90 miles of hiking trails in Crater Lake National Park including the Pacific Crest Trail which run north/south through the park. The shortest hikes take about 15 minutes and the longest take over three hours. The terraine on some of the trails can be very difficult due to the topography surrounding the lake.
If you plan on camping out over night you will need a back country permit obtainable free from the Visitor's Center. Campfires are allowed only in fire rings and using only dead already down trees.
Hiking in the caldera is not allowed. Pets are also not allowed because even their scent can disturb wildlife.
Read the Back Country Regulations for Crater Lake National Park.
See the map below for hiking trails.
Mazama Campground has 200 campsites for both tents and RV's. It is open early June to mid-October but weather can change both opening and closing times. Water, showers, flush toilets, and a dump station are available. Each site has a picnic table and a fire ring. Only down and dead wood may be used for campfires. There is a store and a launderette at the campground. Some sites are wheelchair accessible.
Mazama Campground is located in Mazama village near the south entrance off Highway 62.
Lost Creek Campground is for tents only and there are only 16 sites. The campground has flush toilets, water, and there is a picnic table and fire ring at each site. Again only down and dead wood may be used for campfires.
Lost Creek Campground is located on the road to the Pinnacles overlook.
Crater Lake is located in southern Oregon in the Cascade Mountains. It is best to look at a map to see how to get there.
Below is a map of the park itself. Click on the plus to zoom in for finer detail. At the highest view on the scale you can see hiking trails and their names.
Oregon has many other lakes which you may enjoy. Diamond Lake is near Crater Lake and is good for swimming and fishing. See Oregon Lakes.