Garfield Peak is one of the signature hiking peaks located in Crater Lake National Park. In summer and fall before the snow comes in this is home to a very well established and well maintained trail that rises 1000 feet of elevation gain and is 3.4 miles round-trip. Because of the short distance many people like to combine this with other trails in the national park. Others like to combine Garfield peak with the scramble up to nearby higher Applegate Peak. But the bulk of the people who head up to Garfield Peak settle solely for Garfield Peak.
The views from Garfield Peak are simply amazing. To the north is an amazing vantage point of Crater Lake with all of the mountains that surround the lake as well as the steep dropoff into the crater. A view to the south spots Mount McLoughlin, Union Peak and many of the smaller summits to the south. The views are limited to the summit. They actually start just a 1/2 mile from the trailhead and the spotty at first views become more dramatic as the trail rises to the summit.
Route DescriptionWinter: Start at Rim Village. Go southeast about a mile to the Park Headquarters. Go southeast another mile, and then turn north, onto Garfield Peak. The mountain just to the east of Garfield is Applegate Peak (Applegate Peak is a little higher than Garfield). Go north to the summit. For Applegate Peak, go southeast from the Park Headquarters about 1 1/2 miles (past Garfield Peak). Go north to the summit of Applegate Peak. Full winter gear required and the road is often closed during the winter.
Summer: Drive to the parking lot just beyond Rim Village visitors center and cafe. You will want to park just before the park's 1915 historic fancy hotel, The Crater Lake Lodge. Walk on the paved trail behind the Crater Lake Lodge all of the way to the Big sign marking the start of the Garfield Peak Trail. Take the easy, well maintained but somewhat exposed trail all the way to the summit. Along much of the upper trail lies lies open views of the lake below and of the neighboring mountain. This is an excellent peak for novice hikers provided that they are aware of drop-offs that lie just beyond the trail. Parents with younger children may want to hold off this one though because though it is comparatively easy, there are some steep drop-offs on both sides as the trail rises from Rim Village.
Essential GearA camera is a must for this hike or alpine climb depending on what time of season you are climbing this peak.
In winter, bring snowshoes or nordic skiis, water, food, and warm clothing (obviously). Because of the open terrain an ice axe is highly advised and because of the open terrain a good knowledge of the avalanche forecast is required. If you have an avalanche beacon this would be a good place to bring it. In winter and early spring (until late June) consider this a full alpine climb.
In summer, bring water, possibly food, and sturdy hiking boots. Trekking poles are not required though they may help some with potential knee and balance problems.
Weather ConditionsTemperatures from January to March average 19°F at night and 36°F during the day. Temperatures from July to September average 40°F at night and 70°F during the day. Keep in mind though this is at the headquarters and tends to vary based on elevation. In summer keep an eye on the sky because thunderstorms can pop up without much notice. That being said the summer months have the bulk of the good weather in the park. It should be noted that it has snowed during all months of the season at Crater Lake Park and Garfield Peak has an elevation that is very close to timberline.
o Average annual precipitation: 69 inches
o Average annual snowfall: 533 inches
o Minimum annual snowfall: 243 inches (1991-92)
o Maximum annual snowfall: 879 inches (1932-33)
o Maximum recorded snowpack: 252 inches (1983)
Click the Satellite picture for a video loop of current weather
External LinksA link to the hike up Garfield Peak
A good website on the Garfield Peak trail