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Crater Lake National Park – Tips and Images



This month I am sharing tips and ideas for a national park trip to Crater Lake National Park in the state of Oregon. Our family has visited this awesome place two times…both during the month of July. One time there was so much snow that we couldn’t do all we had planned but the second time it was perfect. Lesson learned? Check ahead of time on the national park website to see the current conditions...including road conditions.

On the way there we stayed in Ashland, Oregon(around 90 minutes) but Medford, Oregon (less than 90 minutes) is a little closer if you are looking to stay in a bigger city near Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake National Park reflection

This is one amazing place! The first thing you notice is the color of the water…Crater Lake Blue! The reflections will blow you away no matter the time of day. You can’t stop looking at the view.

Crater Lake 2007

You can drive all the way around the lake easily in a day since it is just around 29 miles. Our family completed the drive but not without stopping for a few photos along the way. We also stopped at the Visitor Center which was informative and included a movie. (Don’t forget to get your National Park Passport Book stamped before you leave!)

Crater Lake boat trip 2

We took the Crater Lake Boat Tour and it was worth the hike down to the shore to catch the boat (a little more than a mile each way). Our kids loved this boat ride and it was fun to see all the different rock formations from lake level. The guide was knowledgeable about the area’s history and geology so we soaked it all in. Yes, the water really is that color blue!

Crater Lake boat trip 1

Here is a photo from lake level where there was a waterfall coming into the lake. The tour was an hour and a half and you really did get a great look at this amazing lake from a viewpoint that was spectacular.

Crater Lake 2

The “Phantom Ship”

Crater Lake Blue Water

Crater Lake is known for its amazing clarity – the official website states that the water is so clear that you can see to a depth of 120 feet. The lake itself is 1,943 feet deep, the deepest lake in the U.S. and one of the deepest in the world. Truly a unique place!

Crater Lake National Park Hike wildflowers

We also enjoyed the wildflowers at Crater Lake National Park. There are several easy hiking trails that you can take around the rim of the lake and this one at Castle Crest Wildflower Trail is one of the prettiest we enjoyed during our stay. It is super easy with beautiful views of the area.

Crater Lake Wildflowers 1

Amazingly beautiful flowers to enjoy!

Crater Lake Wildflowers 2

We stayed outside of the national park (about a ten minute drive) at the Crater Lake Resort. This place was perfect for a family with active boys! We actually rented two cabins for our big family but with the reasonable price it was a great choice. I can tell you that it is exactly as depicted on the website and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.

Crater Lake Resort 4

Nothing fancy but clean and comfortable…including a full kitchen which helps save on your vacation food costs.

Crater Lake Resort 2

There were canoes and rowboats to use at the resort and that kept my men occupied while I did a little journal work.

Crater Lake Resort 2

There was a rec room and bikes to borrow too. This place was terrific.

This is a national park that you can take a day to visit, seeing the highlights and making memories that will last.

 Other Things You Might Like to Know

  • $10 entrance fee per car
  • Mazama Village has a gas station
  • There are a number of park brochures you can download ahead of time: Park Brochures.

You can read more of my national park tips in these entries:

7 thoughts on “Crater Lake National Park – Tips and Images

  1. Thank you for highlighting this park. We live in WA but will be driving to San Jose this summer. This would be a wonderful place to check out on the way. The pics are stunning.

    1. Just a follow up–we did make it to Crater Lake this summer. Wow! The pics you have, though spectacular, don’t give the place justice. We were able to drive around the entire crater and each stop amazed me all the more. The day my family and I were there was a bit cloudy so we didn’t see the spectacular blues you did, but even then the colors of the lake were breath taking. So glad that we were able to make the trip. This is one destination that is worth the drive!

      1. I am so glad you checked in after visiting the park. It is an amazing place and I totally agree that it is worth the effort.

  2. Barb,

    Beautiful pictures! No insult to you, but it is one of those places where it is almost impossible to take a bad picture! The lake is just stunning.

    I second your recommendation to check conditions before planning your trip. We went in June, and being from the east it had never occurred to me that there would still be snow – and that much snow. The road around the lake was closed. We could get to the visitor center, but there was only one doorway open because the building was still mostly covered with snow. We were able to go about a mile around the lake and then walk a bit along the road. I have a picture of my son sitting on my husband’s shoulders with his arm stuck in the air and the snow still FEET above his hand!

    Fortunately, in doing research before we left I did see that there was still a lot of snow and we knew we wouldn’t be able to hike, so we just visited for the day on our way through to Bend. It was still very much worth the visit. The brilliant white snow against the blue of the lake – spectacular!

    Love your pictures from lake level, since we couldn’t get there. So interesting to be inside the crater.


  3. Wow, what a gorgeous place to visit! I’ll have to add it to my bucket list.

    What’s the history of the “phantom ship”? Sounds really interesting!

  4. Planning on camping there this Summer! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  5. Yes great pictures… and excellent descriptions.
    Living in Shanghai, China – I am a bit jealous of my US friends and colleagues – do NOT take your country for granted.

    Also, yes, as Sarah (above) says – always ‘be prepared!

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