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At 1,943 feet deep, the dazzlingly blue Crater Lake is the nation's deepest lake. It actually occupies a caldera formed some 6,600 years ago when the then-12,000-foot Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed in on itself. In addition to its great depth, Crater Lake is known for its exceptional clarity. A 33-mile drive circles the lake's rim; only one trail leads from the rim to the lake and access to fishing and swimming, the 1.1-mile trail to the Cleetwood Cove dock. At the dock, you can join a boat tour of the lake, which includes a brief stop on Wizard Island, a cinder cone that rises 700 feet above the lake's surface. Note that there are no ...

At 1,943 feet deep, the dazzlingly blue Crater Lake is the nation's deepest lake. It actually occupies a caldera formed some 6,600 years ago when the then-12,000-foot Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed in on itself. In addition to its great depth, Crater Lake is known for its exceptional clarity. A 33-mile drive circles the lake's rim; only one trail leads from the rim to the lake and access to fishing and swimming, the 1.1-mile trail to the Cleetwood Cove dock. At the dock, you can join a boat tour of the lake, which includes a brief stop on Wizard Island, a cinder cone that rises 700 feet above the lake's surface. Note that there are no boat tours mid-September to early July.

The Crater Lake Lodge is a classic old national park lodge, with great views from the lobby and many of the rooms. (Although the lodge has been updated enough to keep it from tumbling into the lake, it's still no four-star hotel.) Summers are short and cool here; snow lingers well into July most years, and though the lodge closes down, the park is open and a great place for cross-country skiing.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer, unless you pack the cross-country skis. And summer doesn't start until July.