When I planned a 70 day road trip
across the Northwest United States for late Spring/early Summer, I
knew that we would maybe run into a few patches of snow along high
elevation trails. Nothing prepared me though, for the never-ending
open fields of deep snow that covered so much of Crater Lake National
Park. Even down in the lower elevation of the campground we found
small patches of ice and snow, but higher up, it was a virtual Winter
wonderland of fun and incredible views.
one of the most pristine lakes in the United States. Nestled deep
into a crater caused not by a meteor, but by the eruption of a
volcano some 400,000 years ago, this deep blue lake is bordered with
hues of green and lighter blue too. Wizard Island stands in the
middle of the lake, keeping a silent watch over park goers, and in
early Spring, a lonely small iceberg can occasionally be seen
breaking the calm surface of the water to float off across the
the park is closed. The West Rim Drive is still open in most places
though, providing ample pull-offs and scenic overlooks for those who
just can’t get enough of this mountain lake and the surrounding
of 6,178 the visitor’s center is just down the mountain from the lake
and provides an educational video about the lake itself, as well as
information about the park. Further up the road is Rim Village, where
there is a lodge, gift shop and small cafe area too.
Spring/early Summer. The Mazama campground is located near the Annie
Spring entrance of the park, and is quite a mess this time of year
with downed trees, but does provide a place to stay within the park.
There are fee showers at the store near the entrance of campground,
and bathrooms with flush toilets and running water within the
campground. Some spots are available with electricity for an
additional charge as well.
officially open at this time, but there are many areas that you can
explore on your own if you are willing, including the Pumice Desert
that is near the park’s North entrance. If you are like us and from a
warm climate where snow is not frequent, there are ample
opportunities for playing in the snow. Much of the park at higher
elevations is covered in deep snow, and the boys had a great time
making snowmen and having snowball fights. The snow also makes an
incredible backdrop for sunsets that are among the most vibrant I
have seen. At one point it was like fire lit up across the sky.
programs are in full swing, and hiking trails are open. The Cleetwood
Cove trail is the only opportunity visitor’s have to actually walk
down to the lake’s edge and even take a swim.
beautiful park with majestic views. Even in the off season, there is
plenty to do and explore in the spacious mountain park. For more
information on camping or the park itself, you can visit the Crater
Lake National Park website.