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Crater Lake

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, OREGON

Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints. Please respect the park and the rangers.

Crater Lake National Park

Are you visiting Southern Oregon or the Rogue Valley and have Crater Lake on your bucket list? It is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime must see. We highly recommending spending as much time as possible in this magical place. Crater Lake is much more than a stopover to take fabulous pics - hiking, biking, sightseeing, and stargazing can all be done at this breathtaking location.

VIEWING THE LAKE

Hiking at Crater Lake national Park is some of the most breathtaking outdoor exploration you will ever do. There are many hiking trails within the park and you can find them all on their map or park brochure when you arrive.  Ideally, you have some time to explore this national treasure. If you are on a tighter schedule, you can enter the park and park right at Rim Village where you can walk right up to the edge of the lake for the picture perfect view. If you have time, explore these fan favorite hikes below for some instagram worthy photo locals.


STARGAZING AT CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK

Crater lake


Crater lake is listed by the National Park Service Dark Sky team as among the top ten dark sky location in the national park system. If you are staying overnight, it is a sight you won't want to miss. We promise you that.


Stargazing is best on nights without cloud cover or on a full moon. The stars are so numerous and so bright, they are countless. The Milky Way is a stunning site and something everyone should experience at least once. 


For an in depth look into the history of stargazing at the park, check out the Crater lake Institute.  


There are numerous way to stay overnight at the park whether you book a room in the lodge, camp or backpack you can find the overnight information you will need at the Crater Lake National Park service website. 


VIEWING WILDLIFE AT CRATER LAKE

The most common animals observed around Rim Drive are golden-mantled ground squirrels, Canada jays and an assortment of butterflies and bees. 

Black bear sightings are more common in autumn and late spring when animals are waking up or getting ready to hibernate. American marten, snowshoe hare, and Douglas squirrel tracks are abundant in the winter snow. Melting snow and changing temperatures signal animal migrations, hibernation and seasonal foraging.  

While these animals are commonly observed along Rim Drive and popular trails, visiting other areas might provide better opportunities to enjoy the sights and sounds of a wider variety of wildlife. Animals—amphibians, birds, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles and fish—may be more prominent around some of the unique and less visited landscapes of Crater Lake National Park such as Sphagnum Bog, Union Peak, Panhandle, Boundary Springs, and Desert Creek Research Natural Area. 

For a complete list of species in the park, see NPS species page.

SKIING & SNOWSHOEING IN THE PARK

Nordic and Cross-Country (XC) Skiing 

The park features a variety of marked and unmarked routes for cross-country skiing. Choose a route through forests, along West Rim Drive to lake overlooks, or to Vidae Falls along the East Rim Drive. Maps and descriptions of the ski trails are available in the park newspaper. None of the routes are groomed, and they are sometimes deep and difficult to follow. Conditions may range from powder to slush or ice. Skiers may need to break trail. Snowshoers often use the same routes.

Ski and snowshoe rentals are not available in the park, but many outfitters outside the park rent cross-country skis and/or snowshoes.

The Alerts & Conditions page has current information on road closures, park alerts, and weather.

Snowshoeing

Strapping on a pair of snowshoes is a great way to experience the changes that winter brings to Crater Lake National Park. Mounds of snowy waves cover downed trees and saplings, and forest shadows stretch across the sparkling snow. Meadows become white wonderlands. Snowshoe for a short distance or plan a full day along an established trail. First-time visitors are advised to follow one of the park’s ski routes. Maps are found in the park newspaper.

Wearing warm, waterproof clothing and footwear, staying hydrated, and having a plan increases your safety and enjoyment while snowshoeing. Ski and snowshoe rentals are not available in the park, but many outfitters outside the park rent cross-country skis and/or snowshoes.

Rangers lead
guided snowshoe walks are not being offered for the 2021-2022 season.

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The lake's pristine blue waters and sheer cliff walls are as enjoyable from a cozy viewpoint as it is from the snowshoer viewpoint

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