Oregon as a whole is often an extremely overlooked State in the US but most definitely one worth adding to any cross country road trip itinerary.
If you’re particularly fond of nature and other outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, camping and even swimming then Crater Lake, Oregon is definitely the place to visit.
With over 200 waterfalls spread across, 11 national forests and over 300 state parks, it’s no surprise that Oregon attracts thousands of visitors each year yet is still so underrated in comparison to its neighbouring National Parks such as Yosemite or Lake Tahoe.
Did you know that Oregon is home to the deepest and most vivid blue lake in the entire US?
From San Francisco, California, you can take the I-5N which is the most efficient and fastest way, but if you have time to spare and prefer the more scenic route then definitely opt for Highway 1 Northbound along the Pacific North West Coast. You won’t regret it.
Once arriving across the Oregon State border you will have a few options for nearby* cities in which surround Crater Lake National Park, the most popular overnight stays being either Medford or Eugene. ( I stayed in Medford as it was closer and cheaper)
Just 66 miles (1hr 15m) North West of Medford via the OR-62 Route you will reach Crater Lake National Park.
Take full advantage of this gorgeous drive as you will be greeted by quirky little towns and stunning nature along the way such as Lost Creek Lake and the thousands of Ponderosa Pine Trees as you enter the National Park.
Oh and the occasional mountain…
Located in Klamath County, Crater Lake was once a former volcano (Mount Mazama) which erupted around 8000 years ago. Leaving behind a deep basin measuring 1949ft (594 meters) deep.
It has since been filled with years of rainfall and the melting snow from the surrounding mountains which have filtered and filled the lake, creating some of the most clearest and vibrabt blue waters to be seen.
Since there are no other streams or rivers which run into the lake, there is very little sediment affecting the clearness of the lake.
To put it super simply, it’s reflective blue hues are caused by the reflection of the sunlight which penetrates its depths. However I will leave a much more scientifically detailed explanation here.
Crater Lake relies upon climate, particularly the levels of evaporation and rainfall to keep its water steady throughout the year.
Steel Visitor Center
I entered Crate Lake via its south entrance and stopped off a Steel Visitors Center for a quick refreshment break before beginning the first part of the day around Crater Lake.
Here is a link to the Steel visitor center boop!
Here you will find tourist information, a cafeteria and outdoor parking.
Surrounding the perimeter of the lake is Rim Drive, a 33 mile scenic drive which loops the whole way round offering the most spectacular views.
There are even some viewpoints in which you can pull up to take a look and snap a few photos.
However be sure to check with the weather as during heavy snowfall periods these roads may be closed off for safety.
Despite this much effort is put into ensuring that access to the roads as well as Rim village is accessible throughout the year.
For the first part of the ‘hike’ I decided to follow the Discovery Point Trail, stopping off at various view points around the lake.
In comparison to the other hikes this was a fairly easy 4 mile trek, given that we visited during a scorching 104°F (40°C) summer, it was all we could handle.
Crater Lake certainly holds a certain spirit that speaks to the soul, the perfect place for anybody wishing to reconnect with nature.
You will truly be in awe at the raw power of nature and the forces of the earth can generate.
Unfortunately I was only able to spend a quick weekend away here but yet so pleased I chose to come here.
Even to this day I can still picture the mind blowing scenery and absolute peace I felt there and cannot wait to return again.
Some things of note before you visit Oregon State
• Pumping your own gas/petrol is illegal in the state of Oregon; however there will be an attendant to do this for you.
• There is also no sales tax, so the price that you see posted is what you’re actually paying.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this short but sweet post about beautiful Crater Lake and hope that it inspires you to add it to your itinerary.
This place holds so many special memories and hope you fall in love with it just as much as I did.
But for now,
Happy travels. Xo