Of all the national parks, it’s pretty safe to say that Crater Lake has the coolest origin story. Some several thousands of years ago, the volcano known today as Mount Mazama erupted. It was the beginning of Mount Mazama’s second life as a caldera – essentially a collapsed volcano. And when the caldera filled with freshwater, Crater Lake was born.

Located in southern Oregon, Crater Lake National Park protects and preserves Mount Mazama, Crater Lake itself, and the surrounding area. It’s one of the most visually stunning national parks; the Lake is a deep, dazzling blue, surrounded by pristine forest and hills. As with all the national parks, there are a few different ways to experience Crater Lake.

Rim Drive takes visitors 33 miles around the rim of Crater Lake, and the views are as spectacular as you’d expect. However, snowfall closes parts of the Rim Drive annually. From July to October, the Drive is entirely open.

For those who want to experience the waters of Crater Lake, a summertime boat tour is a good option. Cleetwood Cove Trail will bring visitors to the edge of the Lake, and to the dock where tour boats await, but the steepness and length of the Trail may present a challenge.

If you brave the hike and the boat ride across the Lake, you may find yourself stopping at Wizard Island for a walk and some unusual views. It’s another great way to experience the Park up close – indeed, from a perch on the dormant volcano. Wizard Island is a cinder cone, formed during and after Mount Mazama’s eruption and emerging from Crater Lake hundreds of years ago.

Crater Lake is one of nature’s marvels, and it stands out even in a country blessed with quite a few of those.

Worth Checking Out

  • Rim Drive
  • Crater Lake Boat Tour
  • Cleetwood Cove Trail
  • Rim Village Visitor Center
  • Wizard Island

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