A Bucket-list Adventure
A Sleeping Volcano
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range. With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States - and one of the most beautiful. The water's intense blue color is an indication of its great depth and purity. Surrounded by cliffs, the lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.
Crater Lake rests in the belly of a dormant volcano. The volcano once stood 12,000 feet tall, but it collapsed after a major eruption 7,700 years ago. 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.
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.
Crater Lake Lodge rivals the splendor of many of the old, historic National Park lodges. Originally opened in 1915, it spent years in disrepair due to poor construction. The lodge was completely re-engineered and remodeled in 1994 but its original charm remains intact. Rooms here are small, pricey and book up fast, if you have dreams of staying here, plan accordingly.