Wizard Island is the well-known cinder cone that rises out of the waters on the west side of Crater Lake. It was formed long after the original eruption of the former Mount Mazama, 7700 years ago. Over the ensuing several hundred years, a number of smaller eruptions caused the formation of several cinder cones on the caldera floor. Wizard Island is the only one of these to rise above the lake's surface. The highpoint of the Wizard Island cinder cone rises about 765-feet above the lake's average surface. It affords truly unforgettable views. It is topped by a 500-foot around, 100-foot deep caldera that is sometimes called the Witches Cauldron. No trip to Crater Lake National Park is complete without a hike to the summit of Wizard Island!
The Wizard Island hike may be the only one on SummitPost where a multi-mile boat ride is part of the approach. These boats are seasonal, so be certain they will be running the day of your planned hike. Also, these boats may not be running during thunderstorms. You may call the park at (541) 594-2211, extension 402, for current information.
Map of area around Wizard Island.
Phantom Ship as seen from the tour boat.
Reservations for the boats may be made (and are recommended) at Crater Lake Volcano Boat Tours (~$42 for an adult). The remaining seats will be sold at kiosks located inside Crater Lake Lodge next to the front desk, and inside the Annie Creek Gift Shop at Mazama Village. Two hours prior to departure, you may buy a boat ticket at the booth in the Cleetwood Cove parking lot (where the trailhead is located to hike to the dock). Arrive early as the boat rides can sell out quickly. Also, not all tickets permit the holder to debark at Wizard Island, so you'll want to ensure that your ticket permits that (you'll have a choice of 3 or 6 hours on the island, depending on what tour time you are able to secure).
From the parking lot, hike down the steep, class 1 trail for a little over a mile, losing roughly 700 feet. Board the boat at Cleetwood Cove and ride for roughly an hour. The boat will drop you off at Wizard Island's Fumerole Bay dock. The trailhead to the Wizard Island summit is well-signed.
Simply walk up the well-signed class 1 trail for roughly a mile, gaining about 765-feet of elevation (6,940-feet above sea level). Wizard Island is an infant cinder cone with rough lava and loose cinder; exercise caution while hiking. At the top the trail circumnavigates a small caldera (the Witches Cauldron). After your hike, descend and wait for your assigned boat to take you back to Cleetwood Cove. Meanwhile, you can explore the rest of Wizard Island, you can swim (though be forewarned the water is cold), Scuba dive (if you brought your own gear and have secured a permit), and fish. You can see the boats coming from most of the island, so you should be able to time your arrival at the dock perfectly.
View to the Northeast from Wizard Island summit.
Amazing shades of blue and green on a clear day from Wizard Island summit.
Small crater on Wizard Island summit (the Witches Cauldron).
Panoramic view from the summit of Wizard Island.
You're surprisingly exposed on the island; exposed to wind and sun, not to mention stuck there for a long period of time as you wait for your assigned boat to take you back to civilization. Temperatures are often cooler on Wizard Island than at the Cleetwood Cove trailhead, and thunderstorms are not uncommon in the summer. Take sufficient clothing and water, as well as rain gear for your stay. There is a pit toilet on the island at the dock. You might wish to spend some extra time fishing if you bring a pole and tackle along. Camping is not permitted on Wizard Island, so you needn't include that gear in your planning.
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