Robert and Barbara Decker

Maps and Drawings by Rick Hazlett

Copyright 1995

ISBN: 0-9621019-8-2

Print copies of this booklet may obtained from the publisher: Double Decker Press; 4087 Silver Bar Road, Mariposa, CA 95338. Put on the web with the permission of the copyright owners and publisher.

Illustrations relative to active volcanism are included as links. Other illustrations in the print text are not included in this web page. Links to illustrations not refered to in the print text are marked with a bullet. Text references to omitted illustrations have been deleted from this web page.






Welcome to Crater Lake National Park. This book is designed to guide visitors on a driving tour of the major sights in this land of towering trees, summer snowbanks, ruins of a mighty volcano, and a deep lake bluer than the sky. It is planned for the reader who has about two days for a visit, with the first day a tour of the spectacular Rim Drive around Crater Lake and some short walks to special points of interest. The second day includes the Cleetwood Cove Trail and the two-hour boat trip around the lake, as well as one or two of the short hikes listed in the Hiking Trails section on page 40.

Total driving distances are not long -- Rim Drive is 33 miles -- so it is possible to see most of the park in one day if your time is limited. If you have a few more days to stay, though, you will have the rare pleasure of seeing Crater Lake's many moods as light and clouds shift; you can become acquainted with a wealth of summer wildflowers, watch for elusive wildlife like the rare bald eagle, or perhaps take the perfect photograph.

Besides explaining Crater Lake's volcanic beginnings, this book also tells something about the park's trees, flowers, wildlife and climate. But space is limited and there is much more to be said; for those who have a special interest in any of these topics we include a list of suggested reading with more detailed information.

If you're staying overnight, be sure to take advantage of the excellent Naturalist programs presented some evenings at Rim Center in Rim Village and at the amphitheater in Mazama Campground.

The tour of Rim Drive is described clockwise, starting from the Visitor Center in Rim Village. The following symbols in the text indicate major points of interest:

OUT = Stop in the parking area, climb out of the car and look around.

HIKE = Stop in the parking area and take the suggested short walk.

LOOK = Things to notice from the car while driving between stops.

The number following the symbol shows the total miles driven. For example, (6.1) means that your mileage indicator should show that it is 6.1 miles since you started your guided tour.

If you are visiting Crater Lake in the winter, many of the sights listed here will be accessible only by a cross-country ski or snowshoe trip. Even seen just from Rim Village, winter's special snowbound beauty is unforgettable. On page 42 you will find information about the activities, services and facilities available during the long winter at Crater Lake National Park.


The story of Crater Lake begins about half a million years ago when a vigorous young volcano was born on the Ring of Fire that surrounds the Pacific Ocean. The volcanoes, earthquakes, and crumpled mountain chains which border the Pacific are the result of buckling of the edges of great plates of the Earth's crust under compression. As the Pacific seafloor pushes slowly beneath the continents, the edges crumple into mountains, earthquakes shudder as the hard rocks fail, and molten rock leaks up fractures from the hot depths to form volcanoes.

A thousand potentially active volcanoes ring the Pacific rim; Mount Mazama with its Crater Lake is one of them, though much of its violence was spent about 7,700 years ago in the huge eruption and collapse that formed the lake basin.

How could such beauty evolve from the devastation of that gigantic eruption? Twelve cubic miles of molten rock boiled out in a fiery cloud of hot gases, ash, and blocks of pumice. The black cloud jetted to 30 miles above the mountain and darkened the sun for days; glowing avalanches of ash and pumice flooded the valleys surrounding the volcano for distances out to 35 miles, and ash fell as far away as Canada.

Within a few days, or possibly even hours, after the great eruption started, so much of the molten rock that had been stored beneath the mountain had been blasted out that the top of the volcano began to crash into the void below. As the eruption continued, the upper mile of the mountain collapsed into a deep basin six miles wide. Utter ruin lay on the land. No one can guess how many Indians were killed as the forests were swept down by explosive blasts and consumed by fiery avalanches. Thick blankets of ash and pumice snuffed out all life over thousands of square miles, and left the land unusable for many years. For the distant Indian tribes who survived, the eruption became the legendary battle of the gods of the above and below worlds.

Over many years the steaming volcanic pit slowly filled with rain water and snow melt. Grass and fireweed began to appear as the shroud of ash and pumice deposits....

cooled, and forests started to creep back up the slopes. Flowers reappeared in the short, hurried summers between late-melting snow banks and new autumn storms, and over the centuries wildlife returned to live on the recovering mountain.

The seepage and evaporation from the lake eventually came into balance with the rain and snow melt; the lake stopped filling and the water gradually cleared to form one of the world's purest and deepest lakes. Crater Lake has filled the ugly volcanic scar with a sapphire blue gem, while white snowbanks, green forest and bright flowers cover the ashen shroud. Given time and left alone, the Earth abides.

Crater Lake National Park as we see it today has an impressive variety of wildlife and almost 600 species of plants -- all of which have colonized since the area was devastated by that cataclysmic volcanic eruption of 5700 BC. That is all the more remarkable in view of Crater Lake's harsh winter climate.

Crater Lake has, in effect, two seasons: a short, flower-filled summer and a long winter of cold winds and prodigious snowfall. Total snowfall for a season can be as much as 50 feet, but the record snowpack at any one time is 21 feet. In spite of that, the lake itself almost never freezes over; it is so deep that the heat stored in summer rises slowly, or is stirred to the top by wind, and keeps the lake surface just above freezing. Park records show that the last time the lake froze over completely was in 1949.

In June summer arrives with a rush as brilliant displays of wildflowers carpet open meadows and forest floor, chasing the receding snowbanks in their hurry to bloom and form seeds before the snows start again in September.

Whatever time of year you visit you'll find that Crater Lake National Park is indeed a special place; start your tour, and experience its magic for yourself.



Name: Mount Mazama
Type of Volcano: stratovolcano with caldera
General Composition: andesitic
Height before collapse: about 11,000 to 12,000 feet
Height after collapse: 8,156 feet at highest point on rim (Hillman Peak); 4,244 at deepest point on lake bottom
Oldest exposed rocks: 400,000 years, in caldera wall near phantom ship
Youngest exposed rocks: between 1,000 and 6,000 years old on Wizard Island
Great Eruption:
Year: about 5700 BC
Volume: 12 cubic miles of magma erupted
Airfall ash: covered 500,000 square miles
Ash flows: reached more than 30 miles
Scale: 100 times greater than Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980; 10 times greater than Krakatau's 1883 eruption


Name: Crater Lake (formerly Deep Blue Lake, Blue Lake and Lake Majesty)
Diameter: 5.7 miles east-west; 5 miles north-south
Area: 21 square miles
Depth: 1.932 feet; deepest in the United States
Volume: 4 cubic miles
Surface Elevation: 6,176 feet average; 16 feet maximum variation since 1892
Water Gain: by rain and snowfall
Water Loss: 1/3 by evaporation, 2/3 by seepage; amount approximately same as gain
Temperature: surface in summer 55 to 65 degrees F; bottom 38 degrees F; seldom freezes over
Transparency: extremely high



Rim Drive is a 33-mile road that encircles Crater Lake. The road stays close to the rim, providing spectacular views of the lake and the cliffs that surround it. Visitors in a hurry who see only the view from the parking lot at Rim Village miss the best of Crater Lake. The scenes, the lighting and the mood of this great park change as you circle the lake, making this one of the world's most beautiful drives.

There are more than fifty turnouts along Rim Drive, many with explanatory signs. In this guide, we recommend a selected fourteen places to stop and look, and five more to stop and take a short walk. Plan to spend about five hours on this trip and an extra hour for the Godfrey Glen Trail before returning to Rim Village. You can buy picnic supplies at the Camper Store in Rim Village, and there are pleasant, tree-shaded picnic areas every few miles along the drive. Take time to look around -- these are vistas that you will long remember with great pleasure.

The best place to start your tour is at the Visitor Center and Sinnott Memorial in Rim Village (see map of Crater Lake National Park (325K)). As you walk toward the Visitor Center, pause for a moment to admire historic Crater Lake Lodge, poised on the very edge of the caldera. Soon after the National Park was established in 1902, planning was begun for a rustic hotel to be built on this site. Construction was started in 1909, but with the short building season progress was slow. The lodge opened in 1914, but final completion took another two years. The southwest wing was added in 1923 and the north veranda in 1928. In 1989 the lodge closed for a complete restoration, reopening in 1995. The old atmosphere has been retained, with the Great Hall rebuilt to look like it did in 1915.

The shrubs growing in profusion around the lodge and near the rim are Sitka mountain ash and red elderberry. By August both are covered with showy clusters of bright red-orange berries that lure robins, finches and sometimes an evening grosbeak to stop for a meal. The lower plants with large heads of rose colored blossoms are subalpine spirea.


Visitor Center and Sinnott Memorial

HIKE (0.0) The Visitor Center is in a rustic building on the lake side of the road, between Crater Lake Lodge and the Rim Village gift shop/cafeteria complex. It contains interpretive exhibits about the park biology, as well as historic photographs. Maps and publications about Crater Lake are on display, and can be purchased at the Information Desk.

A path on the lake side of the Visitor Center leads down to Sinnott Memorial, a spectacular overlook and small museum perched on a rock ledge about fifty feet below the crater rim. At this panoramic viewpoint you can get some of the main features of the lake and rim into perspective.

The blue lake surface is nearly 900 feet below you, and the opposite rim of the crater is almost six miles away. Crater Lake is more than 1,900 feet deep, the deepest in the United States.

This great crater (called a caldera by geologists) formed by collapse when molten rock from below was violently expelled. Why not the more simple explanation that the mountain simply blew its top? Because the twelve cubic miles of magma (molten rock) that was expelled is different in composition from most of the lavas of the ancient volcano. If this were a giant explosion crater, the rocks thrown out would match the layers exposed in the cliffs that circle the lake. Most of Crater Lake's rim is composed of solid lavas, while the bulk of the material hurled out in the great caldera-forming eruption was ash and pumice of different character than the exposed lavas. As the ash and pumice was erupted from deep below Mount Mazama, its summit sank into the void from which the magma was removed.

Viewed from Sinnott overlook, from left (west) to right some prominent features on the cliffs and lake are The Watchman (8,056 feet), Hillman Peak (8,156 feet),....

Devil's Backbone -- the dark rib of rock that extends from the rim to the lake, Wizard Island (6,940 feet in elevation, 764 feet above the lake surface), Llao Rock, (8,046 feet), Cleetwood Cove and the boat landing, Cloudcap (8,070 feet), Mount Scott (8,926 feet, back from the rim), Dutton Cliff (8,150 feet), and Garfield Peak (8,060 feet).

The landmarks on the rim are the surviving ruins of Mount Mazama, the great 12,000-foot volcano that grew here for nearly half a million years before the cataclysmic eruption. Famed for its sublime beauty, the caldera also provides a rare glimpse inside a volcano. Mazama's inner workings have been studied by three generations of geologists, in particular J.S. Diller, Howel Williams, and Charles Bacon. Bacon, using new methods to measure the ages of rocks, has unraveled the most detailed story, and it is his account that is followed in this guide. But see for yourself, and reach your own conclusions. Nature speaks to us all.

Take a few minutes to study the large relief map and locate the features you have just seen. Inside the Sinnott Memorial (named for an Oregon Congressman who served from 1913-1918) browse the exhibits on history, weather, the lake in winter, and Paul Rockwood's paintings of Mount Mazama's great eruption and collapse. A park Naturalist occasionally tells the geologic story of Crater Lake; this lecture provides good background for the crater rim tour.

When you return to your car, set the trip meter to zero or note the mileage on the speedometer; the next stop will be in 1.3 miles. Turn right at (0.2) miles and start the clockwise trip along Rim Drive (see map of Crater Lake National Park (325K) on pages 2 and 3).

Discovery Point

OUT (1.3) American Indians were witness to the destruction of Mount Mazama and the birth of Crater Lake, but it was such a....

sacred place to them that most were forbidden to see the lake or even to speak of it. In written history, the first discovery of the lake was made by John Wesley Hillman who climbed to this spot with a small party of gold prospectors on June 12, 1853. They called their find "Deep Blue Lake"

Hillman Peak, named for Crater Lake's discoverer, is on the far left on the rim of the caldera. At 8,156 feet it is the highest point on the rim, standing nearly 2,000 feet above the lake. This peak and the cliffs below reveal the insides of a 70,000 year old volcano that formed part of the cluster of vents of ancient Mount Mazama. When the collapse occurred, it cut almost through the center of this older volcanic vent.

The dark rock spine that juts from the cliff between Hillman Peak and Llao Rock, reaching from the lake to the rim, is called the Devil's Backbone. This 50-foot wide, 1,300-foot high rib of rock is a large dike, the geologic name for a blade-like intrusion of magma from underground that has been injected into a fracture. The solidified magma in the Devil's Backbone dike is more resistant to erosion than the surrounding material, and stands out as a prominent vertical ledge.

Most of the trees at this turnout are mountain hemlock and whitebark pine. The mountain hemlock is easy to recognize because its flexible top droops over; its branches are pliable too, so the trees are able to bend instead of break under the heavy snow loads. The whitebark pine has lighter colored bark, and characteristically its branches and trunk have been gnarled and twisted by the high winds that sweep the rim during winter storms

The next stop will be in 2.0 miles.

LOOK Here the road passes through shady groves of hemlock and fir, alternating with open meadows. These contrasting woods and fields are a legacy of the great eruption of Mount Mazama.

The meadows are underlain by layers of porous ash and pumice where the melting snow provides just enough moisture for shallow-rooted grass and flowers. Wildflowers are abundant along both sides of the road. Low mats of pink alpine phlox and spires of blue lupine are among the most common varieties, but at different times in the summer you'll see arnica, coneflower, pearly everlasting, skyrocket gilia, and many others.


Where the land was covered by these thick layers of ash and pumice, it is so porous and lacking in nutrients that it does not support the growth of large trees. In some places most of the earlier ash and pumice blanket was swept away later in the eruption by huge glowing avalanches of hot lava fragments that were fluidized by volcanic gases. There the porous layer over the old bedrock is thin; the soil is richer and the ground water percolates through more slowly, providing sufficient moisture to sustain big trees through the dry summer months.

Notice that in some of the roadcuts the bedrock is layered into flagstones. This light gray lava rock is called andesite, named for the Andes Mountains of South America. The layers are thought to have formed as the andesite cooled but was still moving, each layer slipping slowly past the next like a fanned deck of cards.

Union Peak

OUT (3.3) This turnout is on the left side of the road, so be careful to signal and watch for oncoming traffic. This is a good spot for a long view across the forests to the peaks in the south.

Union Peak (7,698 feet) is the prominent horn-like mountain seen from here. It is an older volcano than Mount Mazama, but probably less than one million years in age. It lies in the southwest corner of the park about eight miles away. In the late stages of eruption, a plug of hard lava filled the throat of Union Peak. When glaciers in the last ice age stripped away the looser ash and broken lavas from its summit, the hard plug resisted erosion and became the sharp spine.

On a clear day Mount McLoughlin (9,493 feet), 35 miles away, and even Mount Shasta (14,162 feet), 100 miles away in California, can be seen to the left of Union Peak. These are young and potentially active stratovolcanoes of the Cascade Range, similar to Mount Mazama before its collapse. A stratovolcano gets its name from the alternating layers of ash and lava that compose these explosive volcanoes. Some geologists call them composite volcanoes -- the names are used interchangeably.

The next stap will be in 0.7 miles.

Wizard Island Overlook

OUT (4.0) The view from this overlook in the notch between Watchman and Hillman Peaks is one of the best on Rim Drive. Wizard Island, a volcano inside a volcano, is almost directly below. The island is nearly a mile across and rises 760 feet above lake level, with a summit crater 300 feet wide and 90 feet deep.

Wizard island, so named for its resemblance to a sorcerer's pointed hat, is a cinder cone with blocky lava flows that i ssued from its base. A cinder cone forms like a giant ant hill from the fall-back of hot lava fragments hurled from its crater. Since Wizard Island grew inside the caldera after its collapse we know it is less than 7,700 years old. The oldest trees on the island are about 800 years old, so the Wizard's age is somewhere between those two figures. An underwater map of Crater Lake shows a sharp increase in the slope of Wizard Island at a depth of about 250 feet, suggesting that the volcanic island formed when the surface of Crater Lake was that much lower.

How long did it take for Wizard Island to form? Its total height above the lake bottom is about 2,400 feet, but it is not known if it grew in one major, long-lasting eruption or in smaller eruptions over several centuries. Many cinder cone volcanoes grow quite rapidly; in 1943 Parícutin Volcano in Mexico grew from a smoking crack in a cornfield to a mountain 1,000 feet high in just one year.

Three other volcanic forms that grew since the collapse of Mount Mazama are now hidden beneath the waters of Crater Lake. Merriam Cone rises to a steep peak over 1,300 feet from the lake bottom on the north side of the lake; even so, its summit is still nearly 500 feet under water. On the east flank of Wizard Island at a depth of 100 feet is a small lava dome, and farther east, near the center of the lake, a larger cone with an irregular but flat top rises about 900 feet above the lake bottom.

From the overlook the shallow water in the channel between Wizard Island and the lake edge appears to be many colors: azure blue, turquoise, and emerald green. The lighter colors are from layers of sediment composed of microscopic white diatom shells and green algae growing on the shallow bottom. The islands in the channel were formed when the rising lake partly submerged a blocky lava flow from the side of Wizard Island.

This overlook also provides a close view of Hillman Peak. The spires of reddish brown rocks on the cliff beneath the peak are formed from lavas and volcanic fragments in the throat of this older volcano. Steeped in acid volcanic fumes that once rose through the vent, the iron minerals in the rock were oxidized to rusty red colors.

If time and weather permit, climb the 0.8 mile trail that leads from here to the firetower on The Watchman, an 8,056 foot-high peak on the rim just south of the overlook. The views in all directions are superb, but the trail is apt to be blocked by snow until late in the summer.

White pasqueflowers, large poppy-like blooms with yellow centers, can be found near here in July, especially on the west side of the road. By mid-August the blooms have turned into seed pods that look like cotton balls, inspiring their other name, mouse-on-a-stick.

The next stop will be in 0.7 mile.

Mount Thielsen

OUT (4.7) This overlook is on the left, away from the lake. Mount Thielsen, a young but glacially-eroded Cascade volcano, is the distinctive sharp spire on the horizon. It is fifteen miles away and 9,182 feet high. Glaciers have carved away the looser rocks on Thielsen's flanks, leaving the more resistant rock to form the sharp horn.

In the foreground is Red Cone, a basaltic cinder cone estimated to be about 20,000 to 30,000 years old. Beyond Red Cone is Diamond Lake, a popular resort area.

Diamond Peak, behind the lake, and Mount Bailey, to its left, are two more Cascade volcanoes. On a clear day the Three Sisters Volcanoes, over 10,000 feet high and 85 miles away, can be seen to the left of Mt. Thielsen.

Below Mt. Thielsen on the lower flank of Mount Mazama is a treeless plain called the Pumice Desert. The ash flows from the great eruption of Mazama filled an older valley in this area with thick deposits of pumice and ash. Nutrient-poor and too porous to hold much groundwater, the "desert" supports grass and flowers, but very few trees.

Newberry knotweed is a ground-hugging plant common in the open meadows near Rim Drive. It is the first plant to turn red from early frost, and by September clothes the ground with crimson.

Another wildflower seen here and in many other places around the rim is eriogonum, a low plant with greyish-white blossoms like small, wooly tufts on slender stems. Its common name is "dirty socks"; if you bend down and smell one you'll find that, the name is most appropriate. Perhaps the eriogonum depends on flies instead of bees to pollinate its blossoms.

The next stop will be in 1.2 miles.

LOOK On the right side of this part of Rim Drive are snowbanks which some years last through the summer. Winter winds pile thick drifts on steep slopes, and those snowbanks which face north are slow to melt. Summer snowball-throwing is a special delight for visitors from warmer climates.

Glacial Signatures

OUT (5.9) The ledge of grey andesite near the interpretive sign is covered with parallel grooves that were scratched into the hard rock by moving glacial ice imbedded with stones. Glaciers move only a few inches or....

feet per day but they do so for thousands of years, with the weight of the ice -- up to several hundred feet thick -- bearing down heavily on any stones imbedded in the sliding base. Groove after groove were slowly carved into the solid rock beneath the ice; these parallel scratches are signatures of the glacier.

The grooves not only prove that the ice was once here but they also show the way it slid; the sliding could have been in either direction along the grooves, but other data like the slope of the land generally make one choice clear. In this case, the ice was moving down the ancient slopes of Mount Mazama (away from the lake, toward Rim Drive).

By plotting the direction of glacial scratches on a map, and by locating the glacial valleys and debris, geologists can roughly reconstruct the size and shape of Mount Mazama before its collapse. High snowfields became thick enough to compact into ice which fed several glaciers, one up to 17 miles long. The variation in direction of the glacial scratches in different places suggests that Mount Mazama had a complex summit region rather than a single peak. Its height was probably about 11,000 to 12,000 feet; only its memory is written in the rocks.

The bright magenta-pink flowers that bloom at the base of this rock for most of the summer are cliff penstemon.

The high, bold cliff on the rim to the left is Llao Rock, a 1 ,200-foot thick flow of rhyodacite that was erupted only 140 years before the collapse of Mount Mazama. Rhyodacite is a volcanic rock with higher silica content than basalt or andesite.

The light-colored layer on the top of Llao Rock is a thick blanket of ash and pumice that fell from the high explosion cloud in the early stages of the great Mount Mazama eruption.

The next stop will be in 2.9 miles.

LOOK At (6.1 ) miles the road forks; stay to the right on Rim Drive. The road on the left goes through the Pumice Desert to the north entrance of the park. Rim Drive now climbs the back slope of Llao Rock, through a beautiful conifer forest.

Most of the trees are mountain hemlock, and many of them, especially the younger ones, have trunks that are sharply curved near the ground. On these steep hillsides the deep snow pack and the soil beneath it creep slowly downhill, bending the trees downslope. To keep from toppling over the upper part of the tree straightens skyward, producing the curved trunk base.

Notice that the rock in these road cuts is reddish brown to almost a shiny black. The black layers are obsidian, the rock that was used by Indians to make arrowheads. The lava in these outcrops is the Llao Rock rhyodacite.

Remember that the speed limit on the Rim Drive is 35 miles per hour. This limit is to protect not only the wild animals but also the visitor on foot, bicycle or in a car who may be distracted by the scenery.

Steel Bay

OUT (8.8) There is no marker at this overlook (See the View from Steel Bay Overlook (91K)), but the bay below you was named for William Gladstone Steel, the man who spearheaded the creation of Crater Lake National Park. Steel had been fascinated with the idea of this sublimely beautiful lake since the time when, as a schoolboy in 1870, he read about it in a newspaper that had been used to wrap his school lunch. It was fifteen years before he finally visited....

Crater Lake, but from then on he made its preservation his life's work: lobbying, lecturing, and using much of his personal fortune toward that end. Results were slow in coming but he persevered and, after Steel made a personal appeal to Theodore Roosevelt, Crater Lake became a National Park in 1902.

When you get out of your car at this stop you will probably be beseiged by chipmunks and golden-mantled ground squirrels begging for a handout. These clever moochers look alike but their markings are different. The chipmunk has a white stripe that continues onto its face above the eyes; the ground squirrel has the same stripe but it stops at the shoulder. Their silent pleas are hard to resist, but feeding these busy little animals can actually lead to their starvation. When corn curls, marshmallows and similar treats are added to the seeds, nuts and other natural foods that they have stored away, the whole cache may rot and spoil.

Ground squirrels hibernate during the winter in burrows below the depth of the frost. Their bodies cool to about 40 degrees F, heart rate drops from a summer pulse of 300 to 3 beats per minute, and they take only about one breath each minute. It is hard to imagine how these frisky creatures could slow down to such a pace.

Aggressive gray birds often swoop down to compete for food with the chipmunks and ground squirrels. These pirates are most likely Clark's nutcrackers, hardy gray jays that subsist mainly on pine nuts during the long harsh winters at Crater Lake. Their favorites are the seeds of the whitebark pine. With their strong beaks they can tear apart the tough cones, eating some seeds and scattering others that will germinate the next season.

The next stop will be in 0.7 mile.

Llao Rock

OUT (9.5) The view of Llao Rock through the trees is not only spectacular, but it reveals details that explain how this huge 1,200-foot-high cliff was formed. Beneath the massive rock is a layer of lighter-colored volcanic ash that slopes down into a V-shaped depression. This ash mantles an explosion crater that probably formed just before the eruption of a thick dome of rhyodacite, which now fills the crater.

On top of Llao Rock is an even thicker layer of light-colored volcanic ash that fell during the initial stage of the great Mazama eruption. The two layers of ash merge on the east side of Llao Rock. In old peat bogs downwind from Mount Mazama, those two ash layers have been dated at about 7,700 years old. A count of the annual pollen layers between the two ash layers shows that the top one is 140 years younger than the lower layer.


All this demonstrates that Mount Mazama had a long history of volcanic activity before its great eruption and collapse. Explosive eruptions had blasted out a large crater which was then filled by a massive lava dome, part of which fell into the great caldera only 100 years or so later.

Across Crater Lake on the south rim is an excellent view of Sun Notch. The classic U-shape of a valley carved by the slow movement of glacial ice is clearly apparent from here. This valley was beheaded when the caldera formed, and now appears as the notch in the rim. The last major period of glaciers ended about 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, so most of the ice in Sun Creek Valley was probably gone before the caldera was formed.

The shrub growing in abundance at this viewpoint is manzanita. It is easily identifiable by its smooth red bark which looks as if the surface has been peeled away in curls. In midsummer the bushes are covered with tiny round berries (manzanita means "little apple" in Spanish), and when ripe this fruit offers birds and deer an easy meal.

The next stop will be in 1.2 miles.

Cleetwood Cove Trail

HIKE (10.7) Turn left from Rim Drive into the large parking lot and hike a little way down the Cleetwood Cove Trail toward the lake. The start of this trail provides interesting views; also, if you plan to make the boat trip later on, this short walk is a good preview of the hike down to the boat landing.

This trail which zigzags down the steep bank is the only access to the lake shore. The bench at the 4th hairpin turn is a reasonable goal for this sample of the trail. The bench is under a tall Shasta red fir, a conifer that can be recognized by its cones which sit upright on the branches.

The view down through the green trees emphasizes the sapphire blue of the deep lake, rimmed by the clear aquamarine tints of the more shallow water near shore.

The boat landing can be seen by walking a few steps past the bench, but it is still about 550 feet down to lake level. Walk back to the parking lot from here, and plan ahead to wear comfortable shoes; and carry something to drink when you hike down for the boat trip on the lake.

The next stop will be in 0.4 mile.

Cleetwood Flow

OUT (11.1) The blocky lava flow that extends from this overlook down to the lake is a rhyodacite flow that erupted just before the caldera collapsed. It was still so hot and plastic that it flowed back down the newly-formed escarpment.

Airfall pumice from the great Mazama eruption, exposed in the road cut across from the turnout, landed on top of the Cleetwood lava flow. The rusty red colors....

you see here were caused when volcanic gases escaping from the still-hot lava oxidized the ash layers.

Rabbitbrush goldenweed grows in round clumps one to two feet high on the edge of this overlook. Its yellow flowers are among the brightest blossoms along Rim Drive during August.

The next stop will be in 3.9 miles.

LOOK The lava cliffs ahead at (12.7) miles are covered with light green lichen. These plants form a thin but tenacious veneer on bare rock surfaces; they are actually two plants: fungi and algae, growing together in a tough leathery mat. Neither plant could survive alone; the green algae supplies food energy by photosynthesis while the fungi provides the moisture-retaining mat in which the algae can survive.

Skell Head

OUT (15.0) This large overlook provides an excellent view of almost the entire lake and rim. Since it is on the east side of the caldera, the light is best in the morning or early afternoon.

A Klamath Indian legend tells of Llao, the Chief of the Below World, who had his throne on the rim of what is now Crater Lake and ruled over a race of giant crayfish living in the cold blue waters of the lake below. His archenemy Skell, the Chief of the Upper World, treacherously captured Llao and tore him apart, throwing the pieces into the lake. While the crayfish were eating the bits of flesh, Skell tossed the head of the dismembered Llao into the lake. The crayfish suddenly realized that they were feasting on their Chief, and were so grief stricken that they wept in anguish,their tears filling the lake to its present level. Llao's head became an island, now known as Wizard Island.

The next stop will be in 3.6 miles.

LOOK After leaving Skell Head the road winds away from the rim. The prominent peak on the left a few miles ahead is Mount Scott, a 420,000-year-old volcano that was part of the complex of volcanic vents that made up ancient Mount Mazama.

The 2.5-mile trail to Mount Scott's 8,926 foot summit begins on the left side of Rim Drive at (17.3) miles.

At (17.4) miles, turn right from Rim Drive to Cloudcap overlook. Some years this road is blocked by snow drifts until August. If you find it closed, consider walking to Cloudcap for some fine views. It is an easy, almost level 1.2 miles from the turnoff.


OUT (18.6) This is the highest overlook on the rim, 7,865 feet in elevation and 1,690 feet above the lake. The View from Cloudcap (104K) identifies the principal features seen from here. Cloudcap is perched on a high cliff of rhyodacite lava that fills an old explosion crater. It is similar in that way to Llao Rock, but Cloudcap is older. The Redcloud Cliff rhyodacite erupted 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. Airfall pumice and blocks from the Mount Mazama eruption cover the summit of Cloudcap.

This is one of the best viewpoints to see how the old flank of Mount Mazama was cut off by the caldera collapse. The meadows that slope away to the left of the...

rim are on that ancient southeast flank. You can recreate Mount Mazama in your mind's eye by projecting that slope upward to a summit some 3,000 to 4,000 feet higher than this overlook.

From here Llao Rock looks like a giant manta ray. Its "body" filled the explosion crater with a dome of lava and the "wings" spilled out as sluggish flows to each side. This is also the first good view of Phantom Ship, a near-shore island to the south west that is part of an old resistant dike. As light and shadow play across the lake the island seems to appear and disappear, thus the name Phantom Ship.

Notice here how the whitebark pines are craggy and contorted from their battle with the harsh winter weather. These are called krummholz, a German word meaning "crooked wood" They have been shaped by the cold dry winds that blow the protective blanket of snow away an.d kill the exposed branches. The dead branches on the windward side protect the shoots on the lee side from the icy blasts, so the krummholz continue to grow away from the direction of the prevailing wind.

The next stop will be in 0.8 mile.

LOOK The high banks of loose airfall pumice and ash along the Cloudcap road come from four sources: the top layer is from the great Mazama eruption of 7,700 years ago; the next the Llao Rock eruption about 7,800 years ago; the third from the Redcloud Cliff eruption some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago; and the lowest probably from the Pumice Castle eruption about 70,000 years ago. These deposits are evidence that this mountain has had a long and complex history of explosive activity.

Pumice is an interesting volcanic rock. It forms as the gases in molten volcanic glass suddenly expand when the magma reaches the Earth's surface. This rapid gas expansion cools the pumice and solidifies the frothy glass fragments. Pumice is light because of the many gas bubbles, and is one of the few rocks that will float on water.


Mount Scott

OUT (19.4) The turnout on the left side of the road provides an excellent view of Mount Scott, an old volcano whose crater and northwest side have been eroded away by glaciation. Those who make the 5-mile round trip hike to the summit fire tower will be rewarded by the best overall view of Crater Lake and the remains of Mount Mazama to be found in the park. Start early if you plan to climb Mount Scott, since the views are best when seen by morning light.

Turn right on Rim Drive at (19.5) miles; the next stop will be in 1.2 miles.

Pumice Castle

OUT (20.7) Redcloud Cliff looms above this n overlook on the east wall of the caldera. Beneath the higher cliff is a colorful formation of buff, pink and orange pumice called Pumice Castle, or Castle Rock. The airfall pumice from an explosive eruption about 70,000 years ago was buried by the Redcloud Cliff flow, and then exposed again when the caldera collapsed. Over the past 7,700 years rain and wind have eroded the loosely-cemented pumice into the towers and battlements of a medieval castle.

The next stop will be in 2.5 miles.

Kerr Notch

OUT (23.2) The valley that intersects the caldera rim at this overlook was scoured out by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. Mountain glaciers carve U-shaped valleys, in contrast to the V-shaped valleys that are eroded by streams. While most of the ice at this altitude had probably melted before the formation of Crater Lake, it plainly left its mark in the shape of Kerr Valley.

The rocky island near the lake edge below is Phantom Ship. This eroded remnant of a volcanic dike about 400,000 years old is....

as high as a 16-story building. The grand scale of Crater Lake and its rugged rim make Phantom Ship appear to be the size of a toy sailboat.

Many tree trunks at this overlook are covered by yellowish-green staghorn lichen. Notice how the lichen growth starts about ten feet above the ground. This is nature's snow gauge; the lichen can only live in the light and air above the winter snow pack, so it's easy to see how deep the snow was at Kerr Notch.

Just beyond the Kerr Notch parking area a road turns left from Rim Drive to The Pinnacles. This 6-mile road passes Lost Creek Campground and reaches an outcrop of spires:that have been sculptured by erosion from ash-flow deposits left by the great Mazama eruption. Take this spur if you have plenty of time or want to camp at Lost Creek, but similar pinnacles can be seen at Godfrey Glen and their origin will be explained at that site.

The next stop on Rim Drive will be in 4 miles.

LOOK After leaving Kerr Notch, the road again leaves the rim to climb the ridge behind Dutton Cliff. Here you see again expansive meadows with only an occasional tree, a sure indication that this is another area of Ioose pumice and ash that is too porous to support a forest. Most of the dry land wildflowers are here, bright yellow sulphur eriogonum and its cousin "dirty socks", Newberry knotweed, pussy paws and many others.

To the far south in the distance is Klamath Marsh, where thick deposits of Mazama ash have accumulated. The parallel lines ih the marsh are drainage canals, dug to allow planting of pasture crops.

Sun Notch

LOOK (27.2) Sun Notch was formed in the same way as Kerr Notch, by the erosion of a valley glacier. Where the road curves sharply to the left, park in the turnout on the right side of the road and consult the Map of Sun Notch Trail (65K) A short trail leads through thick woods and a beautiful flower-filled meadow to the caldera rim. At the rim, follow the trail to your right for about 400 feet; the view of Phantom Ship from here is one of the best in the park.

As you gaze out over the lake, keep a sharp eye out for a large bird soaring over the rim or cliff surrounding the lake. You might be lucky enough to see a magnificent golden or bald eagle, though sightings are becoming increasingly rare. These great birds can have a wingspread of as much as seven feet. The National Park Service is conducting a project to encourage the nesting of the rare peregrine falcon, and one is occasionally seen in the sky above the lake.

The next stop will be in 1.4 miles.

LOOK As the road climbs Vidae Ridge, notice the steep cliffs to your right that look like vertical flower gardens. Water tumbles down these banks in rills and cascades, supporting flowers of completely different species than were seen in the dry meadows just a few miles back. Here are columbine, bleeding heart, bog orchid, monkeyflower, Indian paintbrush, aster, lupine, cliff penstemon and others as the season progresses.

Vidae Falls

OUT (28.6) This cascade is only about 100 feet high, but it is such a change from the grand scale of the lake that it delights the eye. Indian paintbrush, monkeyflowers, and tall green grass flourish in the spray from the small creek that tumbles down the glacier-carved cliff.

The road that meets Rim Drive across from Vidae Falls is one-way and unpaved, winding for five miles through forest and meadow from the Lost Creek Campground on the Pinnacles Road.

The next stop will be in 2.6 miles.

LOOK Along this stretch of drive at (30.6) miles you can see Crater Lake Lodge on the skyline straight ahead. By this point there have been so many twists and turns in the road that most travelers have lost some sense of direction. The southwest shore of Crater Lake lies two miles ahead, and the road is bearing north by northwest. Some say the lake is round as a wheel, and there's no doubt a road that goes around in a circle can be a little disorienting.

Castle Crest Wildflower Trail

HIKE (31.2) This 0.4-mile loop is one of the most delightful of Crater Lake's trails. It starts in a dense forest of mountain hemlock and red fir, but soon enters a lush, damp meadow that is crisscrossed with tiny streams and carpeted with brilliant flowers. Moisture-loving plants like larkspur, violet, shooting star, monkshood, corn lily, monkeyflower and a multitude of others bloom here in rapid succession as the season progresses. The trail leads from the meadow onto a drier slope, and here the vegetation changes to flowers like skyrocket gilia, paintbrush, penstemon, phlox, and other plants that are adapted tc sunny, dry sites.

There are name signs identifying many of the trees and flowers. Also, be sure to pick up a TRAIL GUIDE TO CASTLE CREST from a box at the start of the trail for a more detailed description of this enjoyable walk

At the intersection just past Castle Crest turn left to Godfrey Glen if time and energy permit. If you're running late, turn right to return to Rim Village.

The next stop (Godfrey Glen) will be in 2.3 miles.

Godfrey Glen

HIKE (33.8) Park in the turnout on the left side of the road for this gentle, 1-mile loop trail (See a Map of the Godfrey Glen Trail (104K)). A TRAIL GUIDE TO GODFREY GLEN is available from a box a the start of the trail.

The path leads through a quiet, shady forest of tall red firs, mountain hemlock, subalpine fir and lodgepole pine. The nearly-level forest floor is the surface of on of the hot avalanche deposits that poured from the collapsing Mount Mazama and which now skirt the stump of the ancient mountain. The pumice and ash-flow deposit here is 250 feet thick.

Erosion by streams soon cut deep gullies in those deposits, and in places the trail follows the rims of two of these steep canyons, Munson Creek and Annie Creek. Pinnacles of rock eroded into....


strange hoodoo shapes outcrop on the canyon walls.

The origin of these pinnacles is interesting and unusual. As the ash flows cooled, steam escaped upward along intersecting vertical fractures forming thousands of fuming gas vents. During the many years it took to cool the hot avalanche deposits, these rising vapors cemented the pumice and ash into more solid rock. Erosion by streams, and later by rain, wind and gravity on the canyon walls has etched out these once-underground steam pipes into steep pinnacles.

The bright green meadow at the bottom of the canyon where Munson and Annie Creeks join, the buff cliffs of rock pinnacles, the dark green forest on the canyon rims with the blue sky above are a delight to see. How much this scene has changed in just a few thousand years.

The forest floor is too shady for most wildflowers, but notice the low-growing Crater Lake currant and dwarf huckleberry bushes. Just before the end of the trail you'll see a beautiful stand of cow parsnip with showy white blooms almost six feet tall.

From Godfrey Glen back to Rim Village is 4.8 miles.



The beauty and grandeur of Crater Lake can be seen from dozens of viewpoints on the rim, but the vast size of the lake-filled caldera can best be appreciated from the water's surface. The only trail to the lake shore is at Cleetwood Cove, and starts from Rim Drive about a third of the way around the lake from Rim Village (10.7 miles). Although this is the one of the lowest points on the rim, it is still 650 feet above the lake.

The color of the water -- so improbably blue when seen from the rim -- becomes even more intense as you reach lake level. An old Indian legend saysthatthe mountain bluebird was just a dull gray until it dipped into Crater Lake's azure waters.

The boat trips leave Cleetwood Cove every hour between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the two-hour trip around the lake (early and late in the season they run less often; check at the Visitor Center for times). Be sure to allow at least an hour to drive from Rim Village to the Cleetwood parking area and to walk the 1 -mile trail down to the lake. Carry something to drink and wear sturdy shoes for the walk; the trail is good but fairly steep -- as the guides sometimes tell you, it is one mile down and ten miles up.

Tickets for the trip are sold at the dock -- first come, first served -- no reservations are taken. Each 40-foot boat holds 60 passengers, with a knowledgeable Ranger-Naturalist as a guide.

The trip starts counterclockwise from the dock, pausing first to look up at Llao Rock soaring 1,870 feet above the lake. Early geologists thought that Llao Rock's V-shaped base was a glacial valley that had been filled by a lava flow, but later evidence has shown that it was an explosion crater which was then filled by a flow from the same eruption.

Past Llao Rock is a fine view of Devil's Backbone, a dark, vertical dike. A dike is a magma-filled fracture -- now hardened and exposed -- that was injected upward into the ancient volcano. Twenty-four dikes have been counted in the crater walls, but Devil's Backbone is the only one that can be seen all the way from the lake to the rim. From this vantage point one can appreciate the massive size of this feature -- just the first spine is 50 feet wide and 500 feet tall.

The boat threads its way through Skell Channel between Wizard Island and Hillman Slide, with remnants of an old blocky lava flow from Wizard Island protruding from the water. As you glide toward the dock, notice the boat sheds on the island. This is where the tour boats spend the winter -- a more sheltered spot in rough weather than Cleetwood Cove would be. The Crater Lake boat trips started in 1907, and some of the boats currently used were brought in by helicopter in 1972.

Passengers debark at Wizard Island for a short stop to look around. If you want to hike across the island or climb to the top, you may stay and catch a later boat (space available) as one comes by. Most of the volcano whose top is Wizard Island lies below the water, but the island still rises an impressive 760 feet above the lake. A 0.8-mile trail zigzags up the cone to the top, where you can peer into the summit crater which is 90 feet deep and 300 feet across.

The lower part of the island is forested in mountain hemlock and red fir, but the upper part of the cone is mostly cinders and can only support wildflowers, manzanita and a few whitebark pines. You....

probably won't see one, but most garter snakes on Wizard Island have evolved to match the black lava and have lost their characteristic yellow stripe. Small animals live here, and deer and bear are said to swim over now and then.

Except for the shore near Cleetwood Cove, Wizard Island is the only place on the lake where fishing is allowed. Fish were first put into Crater Lake by William Steel, who hand-carried fingerlings up the mountain -- and down to the lake -- in a bucket. The National Park Service continued stocking the lake until 1941 when that practice was discontinued, but there is still a population of kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. No fishing license is required, but check with Park Headquarters for regulations.

The volcanic fires that forged Wizard Island still simmer beneath the lake. In 1989 scientists in a small submarine discovered warm springs on the lake bottom with temperatures as high as 66 degrees F, well above the usual 38 degrees F deep water temperature. Biologist Mark Buktenica descended to the deepest part of the lake where he saw small worms crawling over the bottom sediment. Fluffy, bright-yellow mats of bacteria associated with pools of cloudy aqua-blue fluid were other deep-bottom discoveries that surprised the scientists.

Continuing counterclockwise from Wizard Island the boat often stops below Sinnott Memorial which clings to a ledge 900 feet above the lake. It is traditional for the boat passengers to shout a greeting up to the Chipmunk folks at the overlook; you will be surprised how distinctly you can hear an answering call in this clear mountain air.

Just beyond Sinnott Memorial is a feature called the Chaski Slide -- an area where a section of the crater wall has partly slipped toward the lake. Chaski means "little fox", and the slide area is named for its fancied resemblance to the shape of a fox Iying on Its back.


As the boat glides past the rocky cliffs, notice the extreme clarity of the water. Freshwater moss has been found 425 feet below the lake surface, which shows that light is able to penetrate to that depth.

Over the years the clarity of Crater Lake has been measured with a Secchi disk, a simple device consisting of an 8-inch disk with alternating pie-shaped quarters of black and white, on a long line. The disk is lowered into the water until it disappears from view, and that depth is recorded. It is then lifted slowly until it reappears, and that depth is averaged with the first figure. When first measured in 1969 the disk was visible to 44 meters (144 feet), but in 1979 it could only be seen to 29 meters. Measurements of 37 and 35 meters were recorded in 1986, however, so the loss of clarity is not as drastic as was once feared.

As the boat passes between Phantom Ship and the part of the cliff known as Phantom Cone, you will be surprised to see that this rocky island, tiny-looking from the crater rim, is so large. It rises 163 feet above the water and is 300 feet long; seven species of trees have been counted on Phantom Ship including lodgepole and sugar pines, as well as grasses and wildflowers such as cliff penstemon and Indian paintbrush. The volcanic rocks that make up Phantom Ship are nearly half a million years old. They date from near the beginning of Mount Mazama, and are the oldest on the lake.

Just past Phantom Ship the boat passes over the deepest part of the lake; at 1,932 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh deepest in the world. The first soundings of the lake were made in 1886 by Clarence Dutton and his U.S. Geological Survey party. They hauled a 26-foot boat called the Cleetwood up the mountain, and lowered it down the steep cliffs to the water. Cleetwood Cove is named in its honor.


Why Is the Lake So Blue?

Crater Lake's depth and extreme clarity allow sunlight to penetrate many tens of feet into the water. Sunight is made up of all colors, and as it passes through the water red light is the first to be absorbed. Orange, yellow and green are absorbed next, leaving only blue light to be scattered back to the surface.

The color of the lake changes as the sun and clouds shift, and the appearance of the lake's surface is also altered by wind and wave patterns.


Perhaps you have noticed that there are no streams or waterfalls flowing into Crater Lake; water is replenished only by rain and snow, as well as a few underwater springs. No streams flow out, either. Water is lost only by evaporation or seepage, but the water level remains remarkably stable with a variation of only about 3 feet even in the wettest years.

If you haven't seen The Old Man by now, keep an eye out for an elusive object floating in the lake, moved by currents to different locations. In reality, The Old Man is the trunk of a large hemlock tree, floating upright, extending four feet above the water and 30 feet below. It was first mentioned in a report by Diller in 1886, and has been seen continuously since 1929.

The tour boat completes its circuit of Crater Lake by docking again at Cleetwood Cove.


Three roads lead down the mountain from Crater Lake National Park. Just past the Annie Creek Entrance Station the park road meets Route 62; if you're going to Klamath Falls, 55 miles to the southeast, turn left on this road.

If you did not see the pinnacles from Godfrey Glen (page 30), stop in the parking area on the east side of the road 1.3 miles below the entrance station. The view across Annie Creek provides a good I ook at the pinnacles eroded from hot ash-flow deposits that filled this valley during the great eruption of Mount Mazama.

From here to the south boundary of the park the road slowly descends from 6,000 to 4,400 feet on the gently sloping surface of the ash-flow deposits. The forest gradually changes from mountain hemlock and lodgepole pine to Douglas fir and ponderosa pine at the lower elevations.

To drive to Medford, 76 miles to the west, turn right on Route 62 just past the Annie Creek Entrance Station. This is a pleasant drive through forests of lodgepole pine and mountain hemlock. Lodgepole pine is the first tree to regrow after a major forest fire, but over the years it is gradually replaced by mountain hemlock and red fir.

The North Entrance road to Roseburg and Eugene leaves Rim Drive about six miles past Rim Village. It descends the north flank of Mount Mazama, crossing the Pumice Desert before leaving the park. This stretch of road leading toward Diamond Lake is open to snowmobiles in the winter.



Garfleld Peak

1.7-mile trail starting behind Crater Lake Lodge and climbing to the summit of the peak 1,900 feet above the lake, providing some of the best views in the park. All of Crater Lake's major landmarks can be seen, as well as mountain peaks as far distant as Mount Shasta.

Watchman Peak

0.8-mile trail to the top of Watchman Peak, so named because it was used as a signal point during the mapping of the lake in 1886. Often closed by snow until late July or early August. See page 20.

Mount Scott

2.5-mile trail, fairly steep, switchbacks to the highest point in the park (8,926 feet). Grand panoramic view from the fire lookout at the top, and one of the better places to see wildlife like marmots, pikas, and migratory birds along the way. See page 28.

Cleetwood Cove

1-mile trail from the rim down to the lake at Cleetwood Cove. See page 24 for description.

Annle Creek

1.7-mile loop trail leaving from behind th Mazama Campground Amphitheater, winding to the bottom of Annie Creek Canyon and following the stream through gardens of creekside wildflowers. Self-guiding booklet available at the trailhead .

Castle Crest

0.4-mile loop trail through a lush, flowery meadow and drier hillside; an opportunity to see many of Crater Lake's favorite wildflowers in their natural setting. See page 30 for description.

Godfrey Glen

1 -mile loop trail through a quiet hemlock and fir forest, overlooking Annie Creek Canyon. See page 30 for description.

Pacific Crest

A 33-mile section of the 2,250-mile Pacific Crest Trail passes through Crater Lake National Park. It stays to the west of the lake, but there are three short trails from the rim that connect with it: Annie Spring Cutoff (0.6 miles), Dutton Creek Trail (2.4 miles) and Lightning Springs Trail (4.0 miles).



Hotel Accommodations

Crater Lake Lodge (Reopens 1995) is a large, rustic lodge dating from 1914, newly restored. On the crater rim, with grand views of lake and surrounding mountains. Open early June to mid-September

Mazama Village Motor Inn, modern cabins, located adjacent to Mazama Campground. Open early May to late October.

For reservations and information about all Crater Lake Accommodations call (503) 594-2511.


Crater Lake Dining Room, Crater Lake Lodge. Breakfast and dinner from June to mid-September. Reservations recommended.

Cafeteria, Deli and Fountain, adjacent to Rim Village Gift Shop.

Picnlc supplies

Camper Stores, adjacent to Gift Shop in Rim Village, and in Mazama Campground.


Mazama Campground, Open mid-June to mid-September; 198 sites, for tents, trailers and RVs. Also store, showers and laundromat.

Lost Creek, open early July to late August; 16 sites, for tents only. No reservations are taken at either campground.


During Crater Lake's long winter season -- roughly October to May -- deep snow and harsh weather conditions severely curtail access to the park. The only road kept open to automobile travel is the south park road from the Annie Springs entrance to Rim Village; a gate at Park Headquarters 3 miles from the lake opens at 8 a.m. daily (weather permitting) and closes at sunset. Snowmobiles are permitted only on the North Entrance Road, from the entrance station to a vista point overlooking Crater Lake. Registration at the North Entrance is required.

Hotel and cabin accommodations are closed in winter, but Crater Lake Lodge opens in early June and remains open until mid-September. Mazama Cabins open in May, depending on the weather. No gasoline is available inside the park in winter, but the following services are offered in Rim Village whenever the road is open:


Mountain Fountain (in Cafeteria/Gift Shop building) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Light meals and snacks; beer and wine.

Picnic Supplies

Camper Store, adjacent to Gift Shop.

Gift Shop

In Cafeteria/Gift Shop building; souvenirs, handicrafts.

Ski Servlces

Ski Shop (in Cafeterial/Gift Shop building) offers rentals of cross-country skis from December to April, depending on snowfall.




Schaffer, Jeffrey P, CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK AND VICINITY. Berkeley: Wilderness Press, 1983.

Clark, Ella, INDIAN LEGENDS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1953.

Flora and Fauna

Whitney, Stephen R., A FIELD GUIDE TO THE CASCADES AND OLYMPICS. Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1983.

Horn, Elizabeth; WlLDFLOWERS I: THE CASCADES. Beaverton, OR: Touchstone Press, 1972.

Follett, Dick, BIRDS OF CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK. Crater Lake National Park: Crater Lake Natural History Association, 1979.

Arno, Stephen, NORTHWEST TREES. Seattle: The Mountaineers,1977.


Alt, David D., and Donald W. Hyndman, ROADSIDE GEOLOGY OF OREGON. Missoula, MT Mountain Press, 1978.

Bacon, Charles R., Mount Mazama and Crater Lake caldera, Oregon. In GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA, CENTENNIAL FIELD GUIDE: CORDILLERAN SECTION, p.301-306, Boulder, CO, 1987.

Cranson, K.R., CRATER LAKE: GEM OF THE CASCADES. Lansing, Ml: K.R. Cranson Press, 1982.

Decker, Robert, and Barbara Decker, MOUNTAINS OF FIRE. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Decker, Robert, and Barbara Decker, VOLCANO WATCHING. Hawaii National Park: Hawaii Natural History Association, 1988.

Harris, Stephen, FIRE MOUNTAINS OF THE WEST. Missoula, MT Mountain Press, 1987.

Williams, Howel, THE ANCIENT VOLCANOES OF OREGON. Eugene: University cf Oregon Press, 1942.

Guides and Trails

Toops, Connie, CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK TRAILS. Crater Lake National Park: Crater Lake Natural History Association, 1983.

Warfield, Ron, A GUIDE TO CRATER LAKE: THE MOUNTAIN THAT USED TO BE. Crater Lake National Park: Crater Lake Natural History Association, 1985.

National Park Service, NATURE TRAIL BOOKLETS, Guides to Annie Creek, Castle Crest, and Godfrey Glen Trails. Crater Lake National Park: Crater Lake Natural History Association.

Trails Illustrated, MAP OF CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK. Evergreen, CO: Ponderosa Publishing, 1994.


All photographs in this road guide were taken by the authors except the following: p.1 Maurice Krafft; p.4 National Park Service (NPS); p.11 NPS; p.16 Southern Oregon Historical Society (SOHS) #2656; p.21 SOHS #9391; p.34 NPS; p.35 NPS; p.38 Asters, NPS; p.43 SOHS #7984; p.44 NPS; p.45 Wizard Island, Maurice Krafft; p.46 SOHS #1424; p.48 NPS; inside back cover NPS.

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