Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Hiking to Seven 8,000-foot points on Crater Lake rim

September 13, 2010, 9:49 am

Want a new way to experience Crater Lake?

By all means, drive 33-mile Rim Drive around the lake, stopping at the many viewpoints. But also take time for some hikes.

Some unusual hikes.

Oregon's only full-service national park has some absolutely stunning perches to take in views of Wizard Island, the Phantom Ship, the lake's iridescent blue waters and the peaks of Thielsen, McLoughlin and Diamond shimmering in the distance.

Seven roosts on the rim rise higher than the rest, each reaching 8,000 feet above sea level.

This is nearly 2,000 feet above the 6,173-foot surface of the water.

Of the seven, only two have developed trails. The other five are reachable by easy cross-country rambles, though on the highest, Hillman Peak, expect to encounter loose volcanic rock.

Once you become familiar with these peaks, you can identify them by their profiles from many part of southern Oregon. They are what's left of Mount Mazama, the volcano that imploded to create Crater Lake.

Off-trail hiking is not encouraged by the National Park Service, though it is prohibited only inside the caldera. If you walk lightly, stepping on snow patches, bare pumice and rocks, you will leave less sign of your passing than the numerous tracks made by elk.

Here's how I hiked all seven 8,000-foot points over two days last summer. They can also be done one leisurely rim point at time.