U.S. National Parks by ParkReservations.Com and Yellowstone Net

 Crater Lake National Park
 Oregon

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Introduction     Plan Your Visit (Map)       Weather      Activities      Wildlife       History
Mazama Village    Munson Valley     Rim Village     Rim Drive      The Pinnacles


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 

Steel Visitor Center
Open All Year
November to April
10:00 AM-4:00 PM
May to October
9:00 AM-5:00 PM

Rim Village Visitor Center
June through September
9:30 AM-5:00 PM

 

 
 

Crater Lake is widely known for its intense blue color and spectacular views. During summer, visitors may navigate the Rim Drive around the lake, enjoy boat tours on the lake surface, stay in the historic Crater Lake Lodge, camp at Mazama Village, or hike some of the park's various trails including Mt. Scott at 8,929 ft. Diverse interpretive programs enhance visitors' knowledge and appreciation of this national park, 90% of which is managed as wilderness. The winter brings some of the heaviest snowfall in the country, averaging 533 inches per year. Although park facilities mostly close for this snowy season, visitors may view the lake during fair weather, enjoy cross-country skiing, and participate in weekend snowshoe hikes.

Few places on earth command overwhelming awe from observers, but Crater Lake, in south central Oregon, certainly does. Even in a region of volcanic wonders, Crater Lake can only be described in superlatives. Stories of the deep blue lake can never prepare visitors for their first breathtaking look from the brink of this 6 mile wide caldera which was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. Even seasoned travelers gasp at the twenty-mile circle of cliffs, tinted in subtle shades and fringed with hemlock, fir, and pine: all this in a lake of indescribable blue.

Today, the nation's fifth oldest national park serves to stand as a memorial to time. In 1902, Congress decided that Crater Lake and its surrounding 180,000 acres were to be "dedicated and set apart forever as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States." The passing of this legislative act had been a 17 year effort, championed by Crater Lake's primary promoter, William G. Steel. The act (16 USC 121) also required that measures be taken for the "preservation of the natural objects....the protection of the timber....the preservation of all kinds of game and fish," and as well as for use by "scientists, excursionists, and pleasure seekers."

Crater Lake National Park is host to a diverse array of activities. While enjoying the natural scenic wonders, park visitors may hike in old growth forests, participate in a variety of interpretive activites, camp out or stay in an historic hotel, or even cross-country ski during the eight month long winters which are experienced here in the high Cascades.

Preserving this environment for the continued use and enjoyment of the public is also a major goal of the National Park Service. Resource managers are invloved in studies on lake ecology, forest ecosystems, geologic processes, even the role of fire in maintaining healthy relationships between the forests and the land. Their work yields valuable data on the natural systems which have created and maintained that which we fondly call Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake National Park has been recommended as a wilderness preserve, a place where we may forget ourselves for a time and enjoy a surge of healthy outdoor exploration. Here, we may rediscover ourselves and learn that material things do not necessarily constitute our richest possessions. This blue gem of the Cascades certainly moves us deeply when we imagine the awesome power which created this wonderful place.

 

  Images and text courtesy of National Park Service.

 

 


 

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