For a brief time each year, Crater Lake National Park
emerges from winter hibernation to bask in summertime glory. Early season
visitors are often surprised by the amount of snow which remains long into
months which are considered mid-summer in most parts of the country. Even
most park roads are closed into the late spring which gives a picture of
the far more dominant winter scene sensed even in June and early July.
During this brief summertime window, one maginficent
day typically follows another. For visitors, these few months provide the
best opportunity for a comfortable visit. Many interpretive programs are
offered which encourage a deeper understanding of the lake and the park.
Hiking and camping are popular activities. Fishing for trout and salmon in
the lake is also a favorite pastime. And for park staff, this short season
provides the only access to numerous projects long buried under the snow.
However, from October to June, the park turns into
a snow covered wilderness, receiving an average of 533 inches of snow
annually. A wide variety of trails and unplowed roads provide winter
enthusiasts with access to breaththaking views, open slopes, and dense
forests, making Crater Lake ideal for both daytrippers and backcountry
campers who are prepared to face the challenges of winter. By early spring
it is typical to have 10 to 15 feet of snow on the ground. While snowfall
is common in the Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake is one of the snowiest
areas in the entire Northwest. Even in the long, harsh winter months,
Crater Lake National Park can still provide the hearty visitor with a
phenomenal outdoor experience.