Crater Lake National Park

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 42.90000°N / 122.1°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 8151 ft / 2484 m
Sign the Climber's Log


"On the evening of the first day, while riding up a long, sloping mountain, we suddenly came in sight of water, and were very much surprised, as we did not expect to see any lakes, and did not know but what we had come in sight of and close to Klamath Lake, and not until my mule stopped within a few feet of the rim of Crater Lake did I look down, and if I had been riding a blind mule I firmly believe I would have ridden over the edge to death and destruction. We came to the lake a very little to the right of a small sloping butte or mountain, situated in the lake, with a top somewhat flattened. Every man of the party gazed with wonder at the sight before him, and each in his own peculiar way gave expression to the thoughts within him; but we had no time to lose, and after rolling some boulders down the side of the lake, we rode to the left, as near the rim as possible, past the butte, looking to see an outlet for the lake, but we could find none. "
– John Wesley Hillman describing the first authenticated discovery of Crater Lake in 1853

One of the most photographed places in the world, Crater Lake National Park is Oregon's only national park. The Crater Lake caldera is the remains of 11,000-foot Mount Mazama, which collapsed on itself after a catastrophic eruption about 7700 years ago. The eruption was over forty times as large as that of the May 18, 1980 eruption at Mount Saint Helens, making the volcanic blast one of the largest in history. The resulting caldera eventually filled with water to create a lake that is 1,943 feet deep. Crater Lake was "discovered" by John Wesley Hillman's in 1853, though Native Americans were aware of its existence prior to that.

The lake averages more than 5 miles in diameter, and is surrounded by steep rock walls that rise up to 2,000 feet above the lake’s surface. Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches per year, supply the lake with water. There are no surface inlets or outlets to the lake. Evaporation and underground seepage balance the inputs of rain and snow and prevent the lake from becoming any deeper. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. It has some of the bluest, clearest water one is likely to ever see.

Panoramic View of Crater Lake


Getting There

The closest airports are located in Medford, OR and Klamath Falls, OR. When driving, use the map at the right and the directions below to determine the best route.  

Crater Lake Regional Map

Map of Crater Lake NP region (provided by NPS).

From the North (Summer)

   o From Roseburg - Route 138 east to the park's north entrance.

   o From Bend - Route 97 south to Route 138 west to the park's north entrance.

From the North (Winter)

The park's north entrance is closed in the winter and spring. Dates can vary, but typically the north entrance is closed from early November to mid-June. You can call the park for the latest road status at (541) 594-3000.

   o From Roseburg - Route 138 east to Route 230 south to Route 62 east to the park's west entrance.

   o From Bend - Route 97 south to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance.

Follow the road to Rim Village. This is the starting point for most winter ascents.

From the South (Year-round)

   o From Medford - Route 62 north and east to the park's west entrance.

   o From Klamath Falls - Route 97 north to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance.

Red Tape

Crater Lake National Park requires an entry fee of $10/vehicle (seven-day pass). Holders of the following passes are permitted free entry (cost of that pass is shown):

   o America The Beautiful (National Parks and Federal Lands Recreation Annual Pass) - $80 (annually)
   o Senior "America The Beautiful" Pass - $10 (lifetime)
   o Golden Age Passes - No longer available, but will be honored for life
   o Golden Access Passport (blind or permanently disabled) - Free (lifetime)


Phantom Ship
Phantom Ship by Mrwsierra.

No hiking is permitted inside the rim except on the Cleetwood Cove Trail. Climbing is prohibited everywhere inside the rim.

It is possible to hike around the crater at the top of Wizard Island (the crater at the top is known as Witches Cauldron), but it's necessary to arrive there via the tourist boat (runs from early July to mid-September). Tickets for the tourist boat must be purchased first-come, first-served at the ticket booth at the Cleetwood Cove trailhead--it's best to arrive before the booth opens in the morning since tickets sell out very early. Not all tourist boats will drop one off at Wizard Island; however, some will drop the passengers off for either three hours or six hours. Swimming is permitted in the lake near the boat dock area and at Wizard Island (though most swimmers exit the cool waters pretty quickly!). SCUBA diving is also permitted, though a free permit must be obtained.

Within the national park, all of the flora, fauna, etc are protected. There are many large shiitake mushrooms in the park, but it is illegal to harvest them.



Wizard Island Framed by The Watchman and Hillman Peak

Wizard Island framed by The Watchman (left) and Hillman Peak.

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.


   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)

Camping and Lodging

Front Country Camping

Camping is allowed in the park at designated campgrounds. There are fees for camping.

Mazama Campground

198 sites, operated by the park's concessioner from mid-June through early October. Accommodates tent and RV camping. Pay showers are available. Reservations are taken, but half of the campsites are set aside for walk-ins. For reservations, call (888) 774-2728, or visit the website linked below.

   o Crater Lake Lodges by Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Lost Creek Campground

Operated by NPS from mid-July through mid-September. 16 sites for tent camping only. Located 3 miles south of Rim Drive on the Pinnacles Road. Reservations are not taken.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping is permitted in the park. Hikers who wish to stay overnight in the backcountry must obtain a free backcountry permit. Permits may be obtained at the Rim Visitor Center in Rim Village, or at the Steel Information Center in the park headquarters area. Alternatively, Pacific Crest Trail through-hikers may sign the trail register as they enter Crater Lake National Park. For additional information on backcountry camping, visit:

   o Summer Backcountry Use at Crater Lake

   o Winter Backcountry Use at Crater Lake

Lodges and Cabins

There are also two lodges and a camping cabin village within the park:

Mazama Village Motor Inn

Lodging located seven miles from the lake on the south side of the park. Open mid-May through September. For reservations, call (888) 774-2728, or visit the website linked below.

Crater Lake Lodge

This classic national park lodge offers 71 rooms and a dining room overlooking Crater Lake. Open mid-May through mid-October. Reservations are recommended well in advance. For reservations, call (888) 774-2728, or visit the website linked below.

The Cabins at Mazama Village

The cabins at Mazama Village are located seven miles from the rim of Crater Lake. Each of the 40 cabins features either one or two queen beds, and a bathroom with a shower. Air conditioners are not provided. For reservations, call (888) 774-2728, or visit the website linked below.

For more information on the lodges or camping cabins, or for reservations, visit:

   o Crater Lake Lodges by Xanterra Parks & Resorts


The peaks on the caldera rim can be climbed at any time (note, though, that no climbing is permitted within the caldera rim itself).  

Crater Lake National Park Hiking Trails
Trails map from NPS.

In the summer, the climbs are steep hikes. In winter and spring, the climbs are great Nordic or snowshoe trips. There is an average of 533 inches of snow per year.

The main peaks on the rim are Hillman Peak (8151 feet), Dutton Ridge (8147 feet), Applegate Peak (8126 feet), Garfield Peak (8054 feet), Llao Rock (8049 feet), and The Watchman (8013 feet).

The park has many other mountains than just those on the crater rim. The highest peak in the southwestern corner of the park is Union Peak. The highest point in the park is a satellite peak, Mount Scott (8926 feet). Crater Peak (7265 feet) provides panoramic views of the southern parts of the national park (though not of the lake).

Finally, the summit of Wizard Island (6940 ft), the cinder cone within the lake itself, can be reached via a trail after taking the tourist boat to the island (see Red Tape above).

Note: As an area/range page, we don't have a site-generated direct link to the Climber's Log. However, if signing one or more of the peak Climbing Logs above doesn't fit your activity, you can find the one for Crater Lake National Park here:

       Crater Lake National Park Climber's Log

Other Hiking

With over 90 miles of hiking trails (see map), including 30 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, not all hiking in Crater Lake leads to a summit. Other hiking opportunities include:

Crater Lake National Park Hiking Trails
Trails map from NPS.

   o Sun Notch Trail. This 0.5-mile (round trip) trail with 115-feet of elevation gain passes scattered wildflowers and a dry meadow to arrive at an overlook of Crater Lake and Phantom Ship.

   o Godfrey Glen. This level, 1-mile loop leads through old growth forests, and provides views of Annie Creek Canyon, and occasional wildflowers and animals.

   o Castle Crest Wildflower Garden. Depending on where one starts, this trail can be 0.4-miles (from East Rim Drive) or 1-mile in length (from park headquarters). During the 100-foot of elevation change along the trail, one will see a small brook, lush vegetation, and spectacular wildflowers in the summer months.

   o Cleetwood Cove. This 2.2-mile (round trip) trail leads from the crater rim to the lake shore. It is an 11% grade with a 675-foot elevation change. It is also the trail that is taken to board a tourist boat to Wizard Island (6940 ft).

   o Annie Creek Canyon. 1.7-mile loop trail with a 200-foot elevation change. Leads to a deep, stream-cut canyon, Annie Creek. Along the trail one is likely to find wildflowers and occasional animals.

   o Discovery Point. 2.6-mile, 100-foot elevation change trail provides great views of the lake and leads to the site of John Wesley Hillman's "discovery" of Crater Lake in 1853.

External Links

   o National Park Service Crater Lake National Park Website
Official Crater Lake National Park website.

   o Summer Backcountry Use at Crater Lake
Brochure about summer backcountry camping in Crater Lake National Park.

   o Winter Backcountry Use at Crater Lake
Brochure about winter backcountry camping in Crater Lake National Park.

   o Crater Lake West USGS Quadgrangle Topo
1:24000 topo of the western half of the Crater Lake caldera. Includes Wizard Island. This large file is used under the Creative Commons License.

   o Crater Lake East USGS Quadgrangle Topo
1:24000 topo of the eastern half of the Crater Lake caldera. Includes Mt. Scott. This large file is used under the Creative Commons License.

   o Crater Lake Lodges by Xanterra Parks & Resorts
Information on Mazama Campground (RV and tent camping), as well as the two lodges at Crater Lake National Park.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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mpbro - Dec 16, 2002 10:58 am - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

Just cut and paste this into the main page for clickable links:

<a href=>Mount Scott</a>

<a href=>Hillman Peak</a>


mpbro - Dec 16, 2002 11:08 am - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

This page ( gives current access information for Crater Lake NP.

While Rim Village is kept open year-around, Rim Drive is closed. Moreover, the north entrance road (Oregon Highway 138) is closed, so the only access to Rim Village is via the south (Oregon Highway 62).

This NPS page ( gives basic road directions to the park.


mpbro - Dec 16, 2002 11:15 am - Voted 10/10

Untitled Comment

Two campgrounds in the park, neither of which are open during the winter months.

Two lodges inside the park; again, neither are open during winter.

Backcountry camping is allowed during the winter. A NPS page ( nicely outlines all the red tape and logistics. A similar page ( outlines summer backcountry regulations. The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the park.


wildstar - Nov 20, 2004 12:50 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

Here is a web cam of Crater Lake.


tarol - Jan 4, 2007 11:36 pm - Hasn't voted

No more such a thing as Golden Eagle/Age/Access Passes

Now there is a $80 America the Beautiful Federal Lands Recreation Pass good for entrance to all National Parks, National Forests, BLM, US Fish & Wildlife, and Bureau of Reclamation sites for one year from date of purchase. If you're disabled, you may want to get an Access Pass which are free and good for a lifetime. If you're 62 years of age or older, a Senior Pass can be purchased for $10 and they're also good for a lifetime. Click here for more info on fees and passes. Existing National Park Passes and Golden Age/Access/and Eagle Passes will be honored until they expire.

Viewing: 1-5 of 5



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.