Crater Lake National Park has incredibly blue water, dramatic cliffs, and several hiking trails to choose from. Rim Drive is a 33-mile road that encircles Crater Lake, a collapsed volcano from 7,700 years ago. It has about 30 scenic pullouts along the route as seen on the map below.
There are only two campgrounds in this national park. Lost Creek Campground is located to the southeast off East Rim Drive, which is only open the summer. It has 16 sites for tents only on a first-come, first-served basis. Mazama Camprgound is located about seven miles south of Rim Village, just past the park’s southwest entrance station. It is a large campground with 214 sites. During the month of June, sites are available on a first-come, first served basis. During July, August and September you need to reserve a site online or by phone call. They accept reservations for 75% of the sites. The other 25% are first-come, first-serviced.
We arrived at Crater Lake National Park around 9:00 a.m. from the south off Hwy 62.
We soon learned that East Rim Drive was still closed, and not expected to open any time soon. Heavy snowfall during the previous winter resulted in all trails being closed for hiking due to dangerous snow conditions. This was a disappointment to us. We still wanted to spend a few nights. It was June 30, the last day in June. Lost Creek was completely closed, and Mazama Village did not have many sites available. We had to wait in a line for three hours to maybe get a site for just one night. Beginning July 1, they were fully booked. The wait wasn’t really so bad as there were some very interesting, chatty people on line near us. The only problem was with the darn mosquitoes that were swarming us while we stood on the line. One guy was sharing his DEET spray as we watched each other swat the darn bugs away. It was as though the area was infested with them. They were truly annoying and obviously hungry. Every so often, a park employee would come out of the Ranger Office to tell us that IF we were lucky enough to get a site, it would ONLY be for the one night. Nobody got off the line. We persevered and was granted Site C24 in Mazama.
After we got settled, we took a drive southwest of the lake to an entrance to the Pacific Crest Trail, that would lead us to Union Peak Trail.
The PCT is not part of the National Park, but it is a stop off spot for through hikers where they can get mail (food goodie bags), take a hot shower, and eat a meal. I am always excited when I get to hike on the PCT. It is the third time that I have hiked on part of this famous 300 mile North-South trail. There was some snow remaining here and there on the trail, but so far the going was easy.
The problem was that the mosquitoes were having their annual reunion. They were everywhere! And, they liked to bite ME. I was actually wearing a net around my head, but it didn’t make a difference.
I just wasn’t in the mood for them. I am at a point in my life when I have no problem not doing things that I don’t want to do. I hate bugs. I hate bugs that fly around my face bugging me. Call me a baby or call me a wimp. I don’t really care. I insisted that Scott continue, and I headed back to the truck. We agreed that I would pick him back up in three hours. So, I headed back to the Campground and made some through-hiker friends outside of the Ranger’s Office.
They shared some stories about their journey so far and graciously posed for a picture with me.
The next morning, we packed up camp and took a drive on West Rim, the only section that was open. As I mentioned above, there are several pull-offs to enjoy the views. It was a beautiful day. We parked the trailer and hiked on Discovery Point Trail, an easy dirt trail that runs along the rim of the lake through a pretty forest of white bark pines and mountain hemlocks. Below are a few pictures of Wizard Island as we walked along the east rim from the south.
Wizard Island erupted out of Crater Lake approximately 7,300 years ago. Somebody is a bit too close to the edge.
Below is West Rim with the opposite view from the lake. Simply spectacular!
To be completely honest, I am not that disappointed that we had to leave this park. Apparently, the nasty mosquitoes have been around for a while. Twenty-four hours was enough for me. I would like to return here someday when the East Rim is open.
Our Oregon adventures to be continued.