A few weeks ago we drove down to south-central Oregon for a long weekend in Bend and Crater Lake. Bend has a lot of excellent breweries (Deschutes, 10 Barrel, etc) and Crater Lake is, well, Crater Lake. It’s been on my to-do list for a few years, and despite the amazing images of the lake used in the Oregon Tourism ads, I was still floored by its beauty and size.
Panorama taken from Watchman Peak.
The caldera that Crater Lake occupies formed approximately 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama erupted. Subsequent rain and melting snowfall filled the caldera, creating Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States.
We drove the 33 miles around the rim, stopping at various points to take short hikes. Strangely, the park did not seem very crowded, at least compared to places like Rainier or Olympic National Park.
Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone created by subsequent smaller eruptions.
Wizard Island’s cone.
View of the small island known as the “Phantom Ship”
The tour boat in Crater Lake. We tried to get tickets, but unfortunately they were completely sold out.
View from the Watchman Lookout Station. Well worth the hike uphill!
The fire lookout station. Built in 1932. Elevation 8,025 feet.
Crater Lake is definitely a “must see” and well worth the long drive. We are planning to take another trip there in the winter, when the road that encircles the caldera is buried under feet of snow and open to snowshoers and crosscountry skiers.