Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park lies in the Cascade Mountains in south-western Oregon. The striking feature of Crater Lake is the intense blue colour of its water. This unusually deep lake (1935 ft) is almost exactly circular, with a diameter ranging between 41Ú2 mi. and 61Ú2 mi. and a circumference of 26 mi., and is surrounded by lava cliffs rising to heights of between 500 ft and 2000 ft. Crater Lake is the water-filled caldera of Mount Mazama, an extinct volcano that was once 11,970 ft high. Continuing eruptions hollowed out the summit of the mountain, which collapsed some 6850 years ago, leaving the present circular cavity. Later eruptions within the crater gave rise to a volcanic cone that now emerges from the lake as Wizard Island. When volcanic activity ceased some 4000 years ago the crater began to fill up with melt water and rainwater. It has no other sources of water.
Rim Drive runs round the lake in a clockwise direction a short distance from the edge of the crater, beginning at Rim Village; its total length is 33 mi.
The first spectacular viewpoint is the Watchman, to the west of Wizard Island; a path (1400yd) leads up to the top, from which there are magnificent views extending, in good weather, as far as Mount Shasta (14,162 ft) in northern California. To the north of the Watchman is Hillman Peak (8189 ft), the highest point on the rim of the crater. Then to the east of North Junction, on the north side of a lake, is Llao Rock (8045 ft), a former glacier valley filled up with obsidian. Further on the Cleetwood Trail (1 mi.) runs down from the Rim.
Drive to Cleetwood Cove, from which there are hourly cruises on the lake, landing on Wizard Island. Thereafter the road turns south, opening up a view of Mount Scott, to the east of the crater rim - the highest point (8928 ft) in the National Park. The Mount Scott Trail (21Ú2 mi.) leads up to the top of the hill, while a side road runs up to the Cloudcamp viewpoint, the highest point on the Rim Drive (8061 ft).
Hiking trails In addition to those already mentioned there are a number of other hiking trails in the National Park, including the Garfield Peak Trail (1 3/4 mi.), which runs up to the top of Garfield Peak; the Discovery Point Trail (2 1/4 mi.), running along the crater rim from Crater Lake Lodge; the Godfrey Glen Trail (2 1/4 mi.) to the Duwee Falls on Munson Creek; and the Annie Creek Canyon Trail (1 1/4 mi.) along Annie Creek with its basalt columns. The Pacific Crest Trail (here called the Oregon Skyline Trail) also cuts through the western part of the National Park. This long-distance trail follows the crest ridges of the Cascade Mountains and the Sierra Nevada for a total distance of 2350 mi. from the Canadian to the Mexican frontier.
Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail runs over 4,400 km (2,650) miles from Mexico to Canada. The trail crosses through California, Washington and Oregon.The Oregon section of the trail is the shortest section and is also considered to be the easiest due to its more constant elevation as it follows the Cascade Mountain range.The trail passes through Crater Lake National Park with views and close-up encounters with several volcanoes, including Mt Hood, Mt Washington and Diamond Peak. It then descends into the Columbia River Scenic Gorge.
Phantom Ship Overlook
From Kerr Notch there are good views of the curious Pinnacles, carved from the pumice rock by erosion, and the Phantom Ship, a bizarrely shaped rocky island near the steep shore of the lake (also seen from the Sun Notch viewpoint). The Rim Drive then continues over the Tututni Pass (6600 ft) and the Vidae Ridge to the park offices, where it meets the road coming from the west and south entrances to the National Park. From here it is another 3 mi. to Rim Village.
Crater Lake National Park Visitor Center
The Crater Lake National Park Visitor Center is open throughout the year; the Rim Drive, however, is negotiable only between July and mid-October, and the facilities in Rim Village operate only from June to September. Even in summer it is advisable to take warm clothing. There are two campsites in the park and motels in nearby Klamath Falls.
The Pinnacles Overlook is located down a seven mile spur road off east Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park. Pinnacles are tapers of fused pumice and scoria. Some spires of fused pumice and scoria rise as much as 200 feet above the canyon floor.
Hillman Peak is located in Crater Lake National Park. It rises 1,980 feet above the water and was named for the first non-American Indian to reach the rim of Crater Lake.
The Cloudcap Overlook in Crater Lake National Park offers one of the best views of the lake.
The Garfield Peak in Crater Lake National Park offers excellent views of the surrounding area from its 8,060 foot summit.
Llao Rock at Crater Lake National Park is a lava flow that filled an ancient explosion crater. It is named for the Indian spirit Llao (Chief of Below the World).
Mount Scott at 8,926 feet is the highest point in the Crater Lake National Park. A steep hike from the Rim Drive trailhead offers stunning views.
The Pumice Desert in Crater Lake National Park appears to be quite barren but many mammals use this landscape as their habitat.
There is an informative display on the geology and formation of the lake on the Sinnott Memorial viewing terrace on the southern rim of the crater.
The Sphagnum Bog at Crater Lake National Park is a wetland area with many species of plant life. It offers good hiking opportunities.
Mazama Village is the only major campground located in Crater Lake National Park.
The town of Fort Klamath is named for the nearby fort which was a military outpost on the Oregon Trail. One of the major attractions in the area is Crater Lake just north of town.
The town of Forest Grove (pop. 17,000) is located just west of Portland. It is home to Pacific University which was chartered in 1849 making it one of the oldest universities in the Northwest.
More Crater Lake National Park Pictures