This week lets explore a beautiful and deep blue lake, that is also the 5th oldest US National Park, that of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.
Places that came into being or ceased to exist because of a volcano are notable, even if that volcano exploded around the year 5000 B.C. The Klamath Indians witnessed the explosion and passed the story down through their children and their children’s children. Crater Lake National Park is a national park located in Southern Oregon. This national park is 183,224 acres in size and is the 5th oldest National Park in America. Crater Lake is also the deepest lake in the United States and the 2nd deepest in all of North America. Crater Lake is 1949 feet deep and is visited by almost half a million visitors a year. Crater Lake is clear to a depth of around 130 feet (down) and is considered one of the world’s cleanest lakes as it has no rivers or streams that feed it. The lake water is all snowmelt and rain and is a very striking color of deep blue. Today, there is a balance between evaporation and precipitation and the water level in the lake usually fluctuates less than three feet year to year. The caldera of Crater Lake is part of the Cascade Range of dormant and active volcanoes, which stretches from Lassen Peak in Northern California all across Oregon and Washington to Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia.
When Mount Mazama erupted all of those years ago, the eruption threw ash as far North as Alberta, Canada and as far east as Wyoming and as far south as Nevada and Northern California. It was the largest volcanic eruption that North America has had in the last 10,000 years. Congress designated and Theodore Roosevelt signed Crater Lake National Park into being in 1902, with an original size of about 149,250 acres; it is now about 183,224 acres. The park is in the shape of a rectangle. The name Mazama is borrowed from the Mountaineers, an organization started by William Gladstone Steel, who persistently campaigned for the establishment of the park. The majority of the buildings at Crater Lake are the result of the mid-1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration programs.
Close to the western side of Crater Lake, there is an island called Wizard Island. Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone which forms an island at the west end of Crater Lake in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. The top of the island reaches 6,933 feet above sea level, about 755 feet above the average surface of the lake. You can visit Wizard Island only during the summer months when boat tours on Crater Lake are in operation. Another large cinder cone, Merriam Cone, is located in the northeast part of the lake. Although Merriam Cone rises about 1,400 feet above the caldera floor, its summit is still 505 feet below the average lake level. Crater Lake’s location high in the Southern Cascade mountains (about 6,000 feet above sea level) means that snow is often visible year-round. Consequently, the best time to visit Crater Lake is in the summer months, when all facilities, roads, and trails are open. There is a 33-mile road called Rim Drive that encircles Crater Lake. While driving Rim Road there are many overlooks with interpretive signs. The only access to the lake itself is by steep trail to Cleetwood Cove off of Rim Road. The highest point in the park is Mount Scott (7683 feet tall), on the east side of the crater.
—- Location —-
Located in Oregon’s Southern Cascade mountains Crater Lake National Park is 233 miles Southeast of Portland, Oregon. To get to Crater Lake National Park from the North (by car) and points north get on I-5 and follow Interstate 5 south to Roseburg, Oregon then take Oregon-138 East to the park’s North entrance. The North entrance is only open from June through October (because of snow). From points towards the South get on Interstate 5 North to Medford, Oregon, then take Oregon-62 north and east to the park’s West entrance which is open year-round.
—- Park Camping —-
Located seven miles from the rim of Crater Lake just inside the south entrance gate of Crater Lake National Park, the Mazama Village Campground has 212 Tent and RV sites, accommodating tents up to 12’ x 12’ and RVs up to 50 feet in length. It is typically open from mid-June until the end of September/early October, weather permitting. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and a food locker. Black bears are rarely spotted, but campers are advised to store all food in their locker or in their vehicle. The campground has running water, sinks, and flush toilets. There are coin-operated showers and laundry facilities. The nearby general store sells groceries, firewood, and gasoline.
Electrical hookups are available at a few sites. Lost Creek Campground has 16 sites for tent camping only. It is located in the southeast corner of the park, three miles south of east rim drive on Pinnacles Road. It is, generally, open from late May through early-October, weather permitting. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and a food locker. Over 95% of Crater Lake National Park is managed as wilderness, and there are many areas for Backcountry Camping. Although some areas are closed to backcountry camping (for example, there is no camping within view of the lake), exploring the park’s old-growth forests and volcanic landscapes can be a rewarding experience. All campers not staying in the park’s developed campgrounds must obtain a backcountry permit. The only exception is through hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, who may instead sign the trail register as they enter the park. Thirty-three miles of the PCT pass through Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake Lodge is also inside the Park and has 71 guest rooms.
—- Free Camping —-
Based on https://freecampsites.net/#!Klamath+Falls,+OR,+United+States there are 15 free campsites located within 35 miles of Klamath Falls, Oregon.
—- Area Camping —-
—- Hiking & Biking & Horseback Riding —-
More than 90 miles of hiking trails lead into the park’s backcountry. They’re usually snow-free from mid-July to early October. Another great hike is the Wizard Island Trail. Greyback Drive provides eight miles of unpaved one-way road. This one lane secondary road averages just 12 feet wide over the 4.4 miles between Lost Creek Campground and the Vidae Falls Picnic Area, with the latter located just a quarter mile below Rim Drive. It is presently unsurfaced, though the remnants of past oil treatment can be seen in several places. Bicycle helmets are required for all riders in the Park. Greyback Drive is the only trail open to mountain bikers for most of the year except for when they open up the Rim Trail a couple of times a year in early September.
Horseback riding is only permitted on the Pacific Crest Trail section of the Park.
—- Things to do —-
The Park has 2 visitor centers with rangers to answer any questions you might have about things to do or see. Inside the Park is the Rim Village Visitor Center, a charming old stone structure, that sits above Sinnott Memorial Overlook. Here you can learn about the geology of the lake and volcano before stepping out onto an open-air viewing area. You can also take a scenic drive around Crater Lake in your vehicle. Roads circle the entire lake and are typically open July through October. Oregon’s longest zip lines are located in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
—- References —-