Free Shipping Over $150 Lower 48 States Details

Favorite Photo Locations – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Paul Hughes lives “the best of both worlds,” summers on the rugged coast of Oregon, winters at Kaneohe Bay on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Paul uses a variety of Red River card stock for frameable souvenir cards he sells in galleries and craft fairs.

 A stubborn mule, you might say, gets credit for discovering one of America’s natural wonders. Searching for gold, a prospector tried to nudge his mule to the edge of a crater rim but the animal stubbornly refused. Dismounting, the prospector peered over the rim to find not gold but a scenic treasure, a lake so blue he put up a crude sign “Deep Blue Lake.” That was 1853 and after being renamed several times an 1869 exploring party gave Crater Lake its current name.

Aptly named, Crater Lake formed in the crater of Mount Mazama, a volcano that collapsed 7,700 years ago. Rain and melted snow filled the volcano with 5 trillion gallons of water, 1,943 feet deep, creating the deepest lake in the United States and one of the world’s deepest.

Located in south-central Oregon (80 miles NE of the city of Medford) Crater Lake is the feature attraction of a 183,000 acre national park. Established in 1902, it’s the sixth oldest national park in the U.S. Rim Drive, a 33-mile road encircles the lake, providing dramatic views across miles of bluest-blue wonder and volcanic scenery. It’s a photographer’s paradise from more than 20 scenic overlooks. Rugged hiking trails take the adventurous lakeside or to peaks that rise to 8,000 feet. Less challenging trails meander wildflower-filled meadows and old-growth forests. A variety of wildlife inhabit the park, like black bears, elk, deer, foxes, porcupines and majestic bald eagles.


Scientists have used submarines, sonar and scientific instruments to explore Crater Lake for more than a century. Fed only by rain and snow, no rivers or streams, the lake is considered among the most pristine and purest in the world, and like that prospector found a century and a half ago, deep blue.

Looking down from one of the 2,000-foot volcanic cliffs, I followed the wake of a tour boat as it floated toward Wizard Island. The cinder-cone island is a volcano within a volcano formed thousands of years ago by eruptions of Mount Mazama. Park Rangers lead 2-hour boat cruises of Crater Lake during summer months. Two tours daily disembark at Wizard Island where you can picnic, hike to the island’s volcanic crater, fish, or swim the lake’s very cold water. Be aware taking a boat tour requires hiking down, and back up, one of the steepest trails in the park.

“Old Man of the Lake,” a full-sized tree now a 30-foot stump, has bobbed vertically in Crater Lake since at least 1896. Due to the cold water, the tree has been well preserved.

Ranger-guided trolley tours circle Crater Lake daily from July through October. Styled to resemble vintage streetcars, trolley buses are enclosed, climate-controlled and wheelchair accessible. Thinking green, they’re powered by compressed natural gas providing a 30 to 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with gas and diesel-powered vehicles.

Temperature extremes in the park are 90 degrees to 21 below, Fahrenheit. Despite cold and annual snowfall of 44 feet the lake hasn’t frozen over since 1949. Crater Lake National Park is open year-round. Some roads, trails and facilities, however, are closed seasonally since it snows eight or nine months of the year.

Map courtesy Google

Location / Directions:

From the South (Year Round):
From Medford – Route 62 north and east to the park’s west entrance.
From Klamath Falls – Route 97 north to Route 62 north and west to the park’s south entrance.

From the North (Summer):
The park’s north entrance is closed in the winter and spring. Dates can vary, but typically the north entrance is closed from early November to June. Please call park dispatch for the latest road status (541)594-3000
From Roseburg – Route 138 east to the park’s north entrance.
From Bend – Route 97 south to Route 138 west to the park’s north entrance.

From the North (Winter):
From Roseburg – Route 138 east to Route 230 south to Route 62 east to the park’s west entrance.
From Bend – Route 97 south to Route 62 north and west to the park’s south entrance.


Car – $10.00 (7 day pass)

Motorcycles, bicycles & pedestrians – $5.00 per person (7 day pass)

Web Site


Car – $10.00 (7 day pass)

Motorcycles, bicycles & pedestrians – $5.00 per person (7 day pass)

Web Site

Contributed by Paul Hughes


Original Publication Date: December 24, 2012

Article Last updated: December 24, 2012

Comments are closed.