After my last road trip from B.C. down to California, I regretted that I hadn’t swung by and taken a look at Crater Lake. Getting to spend 2 days in the Crater Lake area on this road trip more than made up for that previous oversight.
Arriving in the evening of the first day and having checked in at the Diamond Lake Resort, Ed and I drove up to the rim via the North Entrance to watch the sunset. Although clouds prevented that from happening, we were truly stunned by our first view of the lake.
As the National Park Service website proclaims, “No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.”
Beauty aside, on the heels of HOT day in Bend, the icey blast coming off the lake through thin t-shirts encouraged us to turn tail and run back to the car in short order.
The following day we drove counter-clockwise around the 33-mile Rim Drive and stopped at every single overlook. The road is narrow with long, steep grades and can be a little frightening when you’re on the downhill side and an approaching car is crossing the line.
The only place to hike from the rim down to the Lake is on the Cleetwood Cove Trail, located on the north side of Crater Lake. The trail is one mile in length (one-way) and drops 700 feet. Despite numerous warnings about the strenuous nature of this trail, and still suffering slightly from a rib injury, I found this trail quite easy and well-groomed. Composting toilets are available at both the trailhead and the boat dock area, and during times when the boat tours are going on, you can buy beverages down at the boat dock.
We had a delicious lunch of Forest Pasta (complete with assorted wild mushrooms, marinated roasted tomatoes, spinach, asparagus in a garlic olive oil & aged parmesan cheese & pine nuts for only $10.50) at a window seat in the Crater Lake Lodge dining room which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Reservations are required for dinner.
The Crater Lake Lodge itself is spectacular. Built to encourage tourism to Crater Lake National Park and southwestern Oregon during the summer of 1915, its clientele has included people from all over the world. There is a very interesting display to the left of the reception desk that details the Lodge’s colorful history. I’m just glad that they restored it.. it’s beautiful. To learn more about the Lodge, visit http://www.craterlakelodges.com/
See the full list of places that we visited during our Washington / Oregon / California road trip