Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Crater Lake National Park Travel Guide

Sports and the Outdoors

Fishing

Fishing is allowed in the lake, but you may find the experience frustrating—in such a massive body of water, the problem is finding the fish. Try your luck near the Cleetwood Cove boat dock, or take poles on the boat tour and fish off Wizard Island. Rainbow trout and kokanee salmon lurk in Crater Lake's aquamarine depths, and some grow to enormous sizes. You don't need a state fishing license, but to protect the lake's pristine waters, use only artificial bait as opposed to live worms. Private boats are prohibited on the lake.

Hiking

Easy

Castle Crest Wildflower Trail. This short half-mile loop that passes through a spring-fed meadow is one of the park's flatter hikes. Wildflowers burst into full bloom here in July. Easy. Across the street from Steel Visitor Center parking lot, East Rim Dr., Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Godfrey Glen Trail. This 1-mile loop trail is an easy stroll through an old-growth forest with canyon views. Its dirt path is accessible to wheelchairs with assistance. Easy. 2.4 miles south of Steel Visitor Center, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Moderate

Annie Creek Canyon Trail. This somewhat strenuous 1.7-mile hike loops through a deep stream-cut canyon, providing views of the narrow cleft scarred by volcanic activity. This is a good area to look for flowers and deer. Moderate. Mazama Campground, behind ampitheater, between D&E campground loops; Mazama Village Rd., near Annie Spring entrance station, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Boundary Springs Trail. If you feel like sleuthing, take this moderate 5-mile round-trip hike to the headwaters of the Rogue River. The trail isn't always well marked, so a detailed trail guide is necessary. You'll see streams, forests, and wildflowers along the way before discovering Boundary Springs pouring out of the side of a low ridge. Moderate. Pullout on Hwy. 230, near milepost 19, about 5 miles west of the junction with Hwy. 138, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Watchman Peak Trail. This is one of the best hikes in the park. Though it's less than a mile each way, the trail climbs more than 400 feet—not counting the steps up to the actual lookout, which has great views of Wizard Island and the lake. Moderate. Watchman Overlook, 3.8 miles northwest of Rim Village on Rim Dr., west side of the lake, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Serious Safety

Difficult

Cleetwood Cove Trail. This strenuous 2.2-mile round-trip hike descends 700 feet down nearly vertical cliffs along the lake to the boat dock. Be in top shape before you take this one. Difficult. Cleetwood Cove trailhead, Rim Dr., 11 miles north of Rim Village, north side of the lake, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Mt. Scott Trail. This strenuous 5-mile round-trip trail takes you to the park's highest point—the top of Mt. Scott, the oldest volcanic cone of Mt. Mazama, at 8,929 feet. The average hiker needs 90 minutes to make the steep uphill trek—and nearly 60 minutes to get down. The trail starts at an elevation of about 7,450 feet, so the climb is not extreme but does get steep in spots. Views of the lake and the broad Klamath Basin are spectacular. Difficult. 14 miles east of Steel Visitor Center on Rim Dr., east side of the lake, across from the road to Cloudcap Overlook, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Pacific Crest Trail. You can hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada and winds through the park for 33 miles. For this prime backcountry experience, catch the trail off Highway 138 about a mile east of the north entrance, where it heads south and then toward the west rim of the lake and circles it for about 6 miles, then descends down Dutton Creek to the Mazama Village area. You'll need a detailed map for this hike; check online or with the PCT association. Difficult. Pacific Crest Trail parking lot, north access road off Hwy. 138, 2 miles east of the Hwy. 138–north entrance road junction, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla.

Skiing

There are no maintained ski trails in the park, although some backcountry trails are marked with blue diamonds or snow poles. Most cross-country skiers park at Rim Village and follow a portion of West Rim Drive toward Wizard Island Overlook (4 miles). The road is plowed to Rim Village, but it may be closed temporarily due to severe storms. Snow tires and chains are essential. The park's online brochure (available at www.nps.gov/crla) lists additional trails and their length and difficulty.

Swimming

Swimming is allowed in the lake, but it's not advised. Made up entirely of snowmelt, Crater Lake is very cold—about 45°F to 56°F in summer. The lagoons on Wizard Island and at Cleetwood Cove are your best choices—but only when the air temperature rises above 80°F, which is rare. If you're able to brave the cold, though, you can say that you've taken a dip in the deepest lake in the United States.

Previous

Next

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trip Finder
Store
Guidebooks

Fodor's Pacific Northwest

View Details
Travel Deals