Introducing Crater Lake National Park
The gloriously still waters of Crater Lake reflect surrounding mountain peaks like a giant dark-blue mirror, making for spectacular photographs and breathtaking panoramas. Crater Lakeis Oregon's only national park and also the USA's deepest lake at 1943ft deep.
You can hike and cross-country ski in the area, but most visitors just cruise the 33-mile loop Rim Drive, which is open from around June to mid-October and offers over 30 viewpoints as it winds around the edge of Crater Lake. A paved side road on the east side leads to amazing views from Cloudcap Overlook, almost 2000ft above the lake. Another nearby side road leads about 7 miles southeast to the Pinnacles, a valley of pumice and ash formations carved by erosion into 100ft spires called hoodoos.
The popular and steep mile-long Cleetwood Cove Trail, at the north end of the crater, provides the only water access at the cove. A two-hour boat tour is available, some include a brief layover at Wizard Island ($10 per person extra).
The park's popular south entrance is open year-round and provides access to Rim Village and Mazama Village, as well as the park headquarters at the Steel Visitors Center. In winter you can only go up to the lake's rim and back down the same way; no other roads are plowed. The north entrance is only open from early June to late October, depending on snowfall.
It's best to top up your gas tank before arriving at Crater Lake. There's reasonably priced gas at Mazama Village (summertime only); the closest pumps otherwise are in Prospect, Diamond Lake and Fort Klamath.
Summer is often cold and windy, so dress warmly.