Description - This National Park facility protects the caldera of an ancient volcano, named Mt. Mazama long after its eruption nearly 8,000 years ago. This caldera is a product of plate tectonics and an exhibit of exceptional beauty created by powerful natural forces. After the eruption 5,000-feet of Mt. Mazama's summit collapsed forming a large crater. The crater was sealed by subsequent lava flows and began to fill with water. Today Crater Lake reaches depths of 1,900 feet.
Copyright: National Park Service
Crater Lake National Park
- The biggest attraction at this park is no secret. It is the lake formed by the collapse of an ancient volcano and the surrounding mountainous terrain. Crater Lake has always been an attraction and focus of human awe. Before European descendants came to the region the lake was the basis of much local Native American legend. The stories of its creation have been passed down through the centuries. In 1902 it was recognized as a national treasure and designated as the fifth National Park.
A variety of facilities have been constructed within Crater Lake National Park. Rim Drive leads 33 miles around the circumference of Crater Lake and is open during the short summers. Many of the picnic areas, wayside exhibits and scenic overlooks are accessible from Rim Drive. A commercial boat launch lies on the northeastern shore of Crater lake. (Reservations and early arrivals are recommended for boat rides in July and August.) Several trails descend to the lake or ascend to viewpoint above the lake from Rim Drive. The Pacific Crest Trail leads through the western side of the park extending 30 miles from boundary to boundary. There are also two campgrounds within the park boundaries, both south of the lake, in addition to two lodges with many amenities.
Recreation - A good place to begin your visit to Crater Lake is at one of the two visitor centers. The Steel Information Center lies south of Rim Drive next to park headquarters and is open year-round. In summer the Rim Village Visitor Center is open along Rim Drive on the southern side of the caldera. After gathering information on the park and its facilities visitors can make educated decisions about what recreation opportunities to pursue. Hiking, backpacking, camping, picnicking and sight seeing are popular pursuits within the park. Boating and scenic driving around Rim Drive can be enjoyed by visitors during the summer months. In winter snowshoeing and cross-country skiing provide solitude and a little-known view of the park.
Climate - Most visitors come to Crater Lake National Park during the months of July through mid-September, when the weather is generally mild with little precipitation. Due to the elevation of the park (6,500 ft. at Park Headquarters and 7,100 ft. at Rim Village), weather conditions may change quickly and a warm jacket and wool sweater are always recommended items to carry. During the winter months, from October through June, weather conditions make preparing for extreme winter conditions necessary. Blizzards, high winds, extreme cold and low visibility dominate the weather patterns. Visitors should come with cold weather gear.
Crater Lake National Park is located in southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Range, 100 miles from the Pacific coast.