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A Historic Hotel of America - Crater Lake Lodge
Historic Hotels of America and Crater Lake Lodge
Crater Lake Lodge is one of the many hotels around the country listed as one of the Historic Hotels of America, which are part of a National Trust for Historic Preservation. However, having stayed at a few of the historic hotels in the Northwest, I will tell you that Crater Lake Lodge is going to be top of the list for anyone who visits--hands down.
This 71-room lodge, extensively remodeled and reopened in 1995, built to resemble the original lodge which opened in 1915, is a beauty in and of itself. However, perched as it is on the literal edge of Crater Lake--it doesn't get much better than that. If you can step away from the view and get inside the lodge, more delights await you.
Once you're inside the lodge and feel the warmth, in part due to the beautiful use of ponderosa pine bark that lines the lodge's walls, you can't help but sigh in appreciation. If you spend a little time in the historical room depicting the timeline of the Crater Lake Lodge you'll have a fuller appreciation of the fact that the lodge was never demolished as was planned in the 1980s but instead was gutted and rebuilt from within--which leaves us with the beautiful historic hotel standing today. It is truly a work of art.
Visiting Crater Lake, I've overhead many people ask the question I used to ask myself--"Is this one of the wonders of the world?" The answer is no it isn't--but in this author's humble opinion, it should be.
There is no place on earth that can be compared to Crater Lake. The lake and Crater Lake Lodge are part of the Crater Lake National Park. The fact that you can travel to such a pristine setting and enjoy the ambiance of this historic lodge is amazing.
If that wasn't enough of a pitch for seeing it, consider the photo below which doesn't do the view justice by a long shot. The "lake view rooms" overlook Crater Lake in all her magnificent glory and made this author wish for more daylight hours so I could just gaze at her beauty.
If you want more shock and awe, enjoy the photo from the "back porch" of Crater Lake Lodge as well as the video. It's the most amazing deck view you'll ever have in your entire lifetime. You are right there and the snapshots will forever be imprinted on your soul.
Accommodations at Crater Lake Lodge
- Several types of rooms are available--if you're going for the view, I recommend the upper floor lake view
- Even though within a national park, the hotel is beautifully appointed and though "rustic" is used to describe it, it's nearly luxurious in this author's opinion
- Privacy and service are top priorities at the lodge
- Great Northwest cuisine including fine wine selections are available in the dining room
- Crater Lake Lodge as of 2012 offers wifi to its guests free of charge
- Anyone can enjoy Crater Lake Lodge and the environs--just driving there to have lunch or dinner or sitting on the back porch for a soda or a beer--you will not go away unmoved or peaceful
- There are 6 accessible guestrooms available
- Bell hop services are available
- Gift shop and a cafeteria are available
- Laundry services are available
- During summer, Annie Creek Restaurant and another gift shop are minutes away
- Camper store and gas station are nearby--open during summer
- CD/clock radio and oscillating fans in every room
- Postal services and overnight shipping are available
- Cabins are also available for rent through mid October
Operating Hours and Seasons at Crater Lake
Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room
- Open daily mid May to mid October for breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Reservations for dinner required
- Closed mid October to late May
Steel Visitor Center
- Open year round except Christmas
- Open 10-4 daily early November through early April
- Open 9-5 daily late April to early November
- Post office Monday through Saturday 10-2 in winter, 9-3 in summer
Rim Visitor Center
- Open late May to late September 9:30-5
- Closed October to May
Rim Village Cafe and Gifts
- 10-4:30 mid October to April
- 9-6 starting in late April to September
- Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas
Annie Creek Restaurant at Mazama Village (on the south side of the lake)
- Open daily 9-8 late May to late September
- Closed October to May
- Longer hours July and August
- Closes sometimes in late September due to weather
Mazama Village Camper Store
- Open daily 8-8 late May until late September
- Closed October to May
- Gasoline is available mid May to mid October
- No gasoline is available in the park from November through April
Crater Lake Lodge
- 71 rooms
- To make reservations visit craterlakelodges.com or call 888-774-2728
- Open mid May to mid October
- Closed mid October to late May
- 40 units located in Mazama Village
- Open late May through September
- To make reservations call 888-774-2728
Rooms at Crater Lake Lodge
This author has been to visit Mt. Rainier National Park and stayed at the lodge there. It is a fascinating place and the lodge itself is again, a must see to believe kind of place. However, there, you can pay about the same price as at Crater Lake Lodge and have a room that you are barely able to turn around in.
Depending on the season or how busy they might be due to the weather, you also may find yourself with a bedroom/closet to sleep in and a bathroom and shower down the hall. However, because of its raw beauty, people don't seem to mind.
That said, for the money, this author found that the rooms at Crater Lake Lodge were more than adequate and well appointed, spotlessly clean and what can I say? The view was to die for.
It should be noted that the lodge closes in mid October due to snowfall that usually accumulates over 500 inches and can cover the roof of the lodge. Since it sits above 7100 feet on the rim of the lake, that isn't surprising.
Snows also cause the north entrance to close at times. This author has visited in July and there has still been snow on the ground.
If you have traveled the roads around Crater Lake, especially coming in from the north entrance, you can see why road closures become necessary with the precipitous drop off the side of the road literally hundreds of feet.
Keep in mind that there are no phones in the rooms and no TV. There are also no TV's in the lobby or anywhere in the lodge that this author ever saw--it was a welcome respite.
Pets are not allowed in any of the rooms.
For groups and/or meetings, inquire about bookings for 10 or more rooms. Rooms are available at the lodge and also at the Mazama Village cabins. Discounts do apply for groups.
Dining at Crater Lake Lodge
While this author has read some less than complimentary reviews of dining experiences at Crater Lake Lodge, I would have to disagree.
During our recent visit, we indulged in eating lunch, dinner and then breakfast at the lodge to get the "full experience."
We found the food to be very upscale and while on the higher side considering price, thinking about it, where we were, the ambiance, the view--all I could say in the end was it was worth it.
We found the menus to have a wide range of options for a national park lodge and the food was all prepared to our satisfaction.
The dinner menu was extensive and the selection of wines and beers great for traveling foodies.
The lodge dining room does concentrate on foods of Northwest cuisine but we found them to be delectable, tolerable in the price range and altogether enjoyed every meal we ate at the lodge. The fact that they buy Oregon products and are ecofriendly in all their approaches at the facilities made us even happier. When folks are doing good things, you don't mind spending a little more for something.
For those wishing to save a bit, drinks and bar type foods are served in the lobby area where you can sit with friends and chat while enjoying the same good food, play a game or even stroll out onto the back porch to worship the view.
This author's feeling on the entire dining experience was peppered with the thought--"just think where you are." I think we would have gladly eaten sticks for dinner!
Things Not to Miss at Crater Lake Lodge
- Hello--Crater Lake! You will never see anything so magnificent in your life
- Hikes--there are countless different hikes you can take around the lake from extremely difficult to extremely easy
- Sit on the back porch and have a beer, a cup of coffee or a soda--you will never forget it
- Listen to a ranger talk--this author got to experience one on the back porch with a glass of wine--fabulous! And they're free!
- Order appetizers and play a game of chess in the lobby in front of the fire
- Have breakfast, lunch or dinner in the beautiful dining room--make reservations for dinner
- Watch the sunrise from the back porch of the lodge with a steaming cup of coffee
- Check out the Sinnott Memorial Lookout point for spectacular views--just a short walk from the lodge
- Pick up the Crater Lake Trolley Tour which runs 2-4 times per day depending on the season and spend 2 hours touring the entire lake while someone else does the driving
- Check out the Exhibit Room downstairs off the lobby--you would be amazed at the history of the Crater Lake Lodge and what it took to build it
- Visit the gift shops and take home a memento of this unbelievable place
- Shoot, shoot, shoot--this author took upwards of 3000 pictures this year of this place because it is that beautiful! Every day is a different scene and every season has its own raw beauty in this place
- Sit outside on the back porch or in the lobby and chat it up with people from around the world--we were amazed at how many fascinating people we met and the wonderful conversations we had with all of them! We all agreed on one thing, however--this place was absolutely wondrous in its beauty
- Drive the entire lake yourself but let the driver stop often to take pictures and look--the drop-offs are frightening so much easier to take the trolley tour!
- Open your mind and experience the perfect quiet that this beautiful place offers
History of Crater Lake Lodge
Some of the most notable timeline points in the history of this historic lodge
- 1886--Clarence Dutton brought a survey party to Crater Lake and William Gladstone Steel fell in love with the place
- 1902--Mr. Steel (after 17 years of fighting) convinced Teddy Roosevelt to declare Crater Lake a national park--we are in his debt forever
- 1905--Road constructed to caldera rim--note that the roads were originally built by the Army Corps of Engineers and what an incredible feat that was!
- 1909--Mr. Steel convinced Alfred Parkhurst (a Portland Oregon developer) to build a lodge--"if you build it they will come"--Mr. Steel was a very persistent though unrecognized hero--construction begins
- 1910--first cars called locomobiles come to the rim
- 1915--Crater Lake Lodge opened in the midst of World War I on June 28th
- 1922--The lodge was remodeled which took 2 years--doubling the number of guestrooms and adding private baths to a new wing
- 1924--Rooms in the new annex open
- 1928--Awnings were added to the outside of the building
- 1929--Guests complain about the furnishings--105 sleeping rooms, 20 with private baths at the time
- 1930--Up to this time, still no heat in the rooms
- 1933--Sod and plants were added though it was hard to keep things alive at this altitude
- 1938--Laundry was added on site--before it was being shipped to Medford or Klamath Falls
- 1941-1942--Safety issues closed the lodge
- 1950--Supports were added to hold up the ceiling and walls (remember that during winter, the snows can completely cover the entire lodge)
- 1965--Roof was re-shingled
- 1967--National Park Service acquired Crater Lake
- 1975--Contamination of the water supply closed Crater Lake Lodge
- 1980--Public meetings began as the lodge was set for demolition
- 1981--Crater Lake Lodge was entered into the National Register of Historic Places
- 1984--Public outcry saved Crater Lake Lodge from demolition
- 1988--National Park Service decides to rehab the lodge
- 1991-1995--Reconstruction of Crater Lake Lodge giving us the grand old girl we see today