What's so special about Crater Lake?
With a cataclysmic eruption 7,700 years ago, a 12,000 foot mountain (Mount Mazama) spewed forth so much material that afterward the mountain collapsed and created the hole (also called a caldera) that we now see today.
This lake is 1,943 feet deep, making it the deepest in America and the 9th deepest in the world. The lake is filled with water from rain and snow and that's why scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world. It's not pure water, but it's close.
Explore a Collapsed Volcano
Crater Lake rests in the belly of a dormant volcano. After the creation of the caldera, later eruptions formed Wizard Island, a cinder cone that rises from the water. The park has an abundance of fascinating volcanic features, including a second rocky island, the Phantom Ship.
Experience Old Growth Forests
Crater Lake itself occupies less than 10% of the park. Beyond the lake, old-growth forests blanket the landscape. Established in 1902, the park protects 15 species of conifers, from towering ponderosa pines to ancient whitebark pines. These trees shelter a wide array of wildlife, including black bears, mountain lions, elk, and spotted owls.
When to Visit
The most popular months to visit Crater Lake are July, August, and September. That's when the park's roads, trails, and facilties tend to be fully open.
May and June are months of transition in the park, as winter slowly gives way to summer. They can also be months of frustration, as lingering snow prevents us from accessing much of the park.
Is it still worth visiting in May and June? Absolutely! It helps, though, to come prepared with realistic expectations of what you'll be able to see and do. Here's a small list of various activities available at the park (weather permiting):
- View the Lake
- Hike or Bike on the Rim Drive
- Tour Crater Lake Lodge
- Take a Dip in the Lake (for those who can brave the cold)
- Enjoy the Gorgeous Sunsets