Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Explore the Depths of Crater Lake

May 24, 2011, 9:31 am

Located in the heart of Southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is a must-see for any fan of the outdoors. Named for the deepest lake in the country, the park encompasses dazzling Crater Lake and the surrounding mountains. With hiking trails through pines and hemlock forests, the park is the perfect getaway.

The centerpiece of the park is, without a doubt, Crater Lake itself. Noted for its clear waters and astonishing depth, Crater Lake was formed by a volcanic caldera. At 1,943 feet, Crater is the seventh deepest lake in the world. With surrounding rim walls that rise 2,000 feet, the lake is the gem of the state.

But if simply looking at Crater does not leave you satisfied, take a walk down the Cleetwood Cove Trail to only location where swimming is permitted in the lake. Be prepared for a chilly reception: average summer temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees!

While swimming in the water, you may find yourself with some company. Crater Lake is home to both rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. If you are looking to land the perfect catch, look no further. Fishing is popular along the lake as the average sized rainbow trout is a foot long!

Sitting in the sapphire waters of the lake are a variety of islands and geological features. Boat tours are one of the best ways to get up close to the various formations, such as Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone, located in the west end of the lake! Visitors can choose to take a tour of the whole lake or a special Wizard Island tour that allows you to go hiking on the island. Tours generally run from July to September, for more information click here.

The park is home to a host of critters, which are most active during the summer. Go bird watching for gorgeous species such as the spotted owl or peregrine falcon. Black bears, coyotes, elk, chipmunks and badgers are just a few of the species that roam the thousands of acres. Remember to always keep a safe distance when wildlife watching!

Although summer is the most obvious time to vacation, the park is far from dead in the winter. Most roads are closed to vehicles but the North Entrance Road is open and groomed for snowmobiles. Visitors looking for winter solitude can explore the many trails the park has to offer through cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Visit the National Park Service for more information about Crater Lake National Park: nps.gov/crla

If you are looking for an activity outside of the park: http://southernoregon.org/

Explore the Neighboring Klamath Tribes: http://www.klamathtribes.org/

Photo by NPS