Crater Lake National Park is in the south of Oregon, a fantastic and majestic national park protecting the incredible Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and is stunning. Perched on top of the Cascade Mount Range, Crater Lake was formed 7700 years ago after a violent eruption led to an inward collapsing of the peak.
How to Get to Crater Lake National Park
The closest major city to Crater Lake is Portland, just under 4 hours away. Crater Lake National Park is in the southern part of Oregon, a 2 hour drive from the coast and in the heart of the Cascades.
Where to Camp in Crater Lake National Park
There are 2 main campgrounds in Crater Lake National Park: Lost Creek Campground, a tent-only small site on the road to Pinnacles Overlook, 3 miles from Crater Lake, and Mazama Campground, a much larger site with both tent and RV spots just inside the south entrance, 7 miles from Crater Lake. We stayed at Mazama Campground, and while finding an available site that matched the colour on our pass (their system is colour-coded), we found the sites to be large and peaceful and central to everything we wanted to see in the park.
Things to Do in Crater Lake National Park
Watch sunset over the lake
Especially during the smoky wildfire season, sunset can be a great time to peer into the huge expansive lake. The smoke had faded a bit and the bright, bold colours of sunset fought their way through the haze to reflect off the lake's surface.
There's excellent hiking trails all around the park that give a closer look at the stunning natural surroundings:
- Watchman Peak Trail (0.8 miles) - panoramic views of the entire lake
- Toketee Falls (1 mile) - easy trail up North Umpqua River ending at 80-foot Toketee Falls
- Mount Scott (5 miles) - highest point in the park with panoramic views of Cascades
- Cleetwood Cove (1.1 miles) - the only trail down to the lake
Drive the Rim Drive
The scenic rim drive of Crater Lake is a fantastic way to experience the many sides and angles to Crater Lake. The drive is approximately 33 miles and provides panoramic views and informative stops along the way.