Crater Lake National Park: Deepest Lake in the United State With Unbelievable Beauty!
You must see Oregon's only National Park, Crater Lake, in person to fully believe the unbelievable depth of color in this most beautiful of settings!
Oregon is a great travel destination. An Oregon vacation pleases almost everybody offering much in a wide variety of terrains for the nature lover or sports enthusiast and everyone in between.
My mother, niece and I traveled to Oregon to spend two weeks exploring different areas, and this article will address seeing a spectacular national park within its borders.
Mount Mazama erupted at various times throughout half a million years, and at its height, this mountain was about 12,000 feet tall. Located in the southwestern part of the State of Oregon, a massive eruption finally caused the Mt. Mazama to collapse forming a caldera. The eruption was so massive that inches of ash from the mountain spread into eight states and three provinces of Canada.
Surrounding the caldera is a desert of ash called the Pumice Desert. It is eerily devoid of vegetation as the ash is 50 feet deep in most places. This pumice desert is in stark contrast to the lushness of foliage and waterfalls and other sites we viewed in Oregon.
Interesting Facts About This Lake
The bowl-like caldera eventually began to collect rain, spring water and snow and filled up to become the beautiful site it is today. The color of the water is an intense blue due to the light refraction in its deep waters.
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States at 1932 feet or 589 meters, and the 7th deepest in the entire world.
Lake Baikal in Siberia has the distinction of being the deepest lake at a depth of 5712 feet or 1741 meters.
Native Americans first discovered Crater Lake according to legend. John Wesley Hillman and some prospectors found the lake in 1853 and named it "Deep Blue Lake."
Crater Lake has a closed ecosystem with no streams of water running into or out of the lake.
The water level remains relatively constant fluctuating only about 3 feet. In the year we were there (1987) they were still allowing boat tours on the lake. Some debate ensued as to whether they would keep doing that as they did not want anything to destroy this natural beauty and treasure.
We chose not to take that boat tour, but my young niece and I walked the steep 1.1-mile trail down to the water's edge while my mother stayed at the top.
Only hearty souls get to see the lake from below because of the steep hike both directions. No wheelchair access here for sure!
What is readily accessible to anyone with a vehicle is a 33-mile drive along the rim of Crater Lake.
Many waysides are available so that people can pull off the two-way road and soak up the beauty from many different angles from above looking down into the azure waters. It is open around mid-July until closed by falling snow which is generally sometime in October. So vacationers who wish to see this need to plan their trips accordingly.
At one of these pull-over stops, we found an abandoned pup that had been inadvertently left behind by its owners.
We picked up the waif and with my mother holding her on her lap, we headed back to the Crater Lake Lodge which was the only thing that we could think to do under the circumstances.
The people who had pulled off at the same site and realized that their pup was missing began frantically looking for her and we passed each other. They saw their dog in our car looking out the front window. They immediately turned around and followed us.
When both cars pulled into the parking lot, they began honking their horn. A very happy reunion took place!
Crater Lake Lodge
Crater Lake Lodge built in 1909 had additions added between 1923 and 1953.
It is incredibly rustic and was built using rocks and log construction. Amenities that we take for granted today were not included. We paid extra to have a bathroom in our newer cottage, as most rooms did not have those facilities. We had a claw-footed tub and commode with the tiny sink outside that room due to space considerations. The mattresses we slept on (or attempted to sleep on) were primitive. Think hammock in a closet-sized room!
Hopefully, those mattresses are newer by now. Ha! Our room did have a spectacular view of the lake which we enjoyed. The Lodge sits on the rim about 900 feet above the lake.
Crater Lake became a national park during the Teddy Roosevelt presidency in 1902.
Altitude ranges from 4,405 to 8,926 feet above sea level. This national park is open year round with snow covering at least a portion of the park for about eight months of the year.
High peaks surround the rim, and one sees a diversity of fir trees, lodgepole, and Ponderosa pines as well as various shrubs and wildflowers. At each stop along the rim drive, the ever-present chipmunks were begging for a handout from the vacationers.
One sees some lovely mountain meadow trails when hiking around the lake. We took advantage of this, and the following pictures will show some of what we got to view.
Mountain meadow around Crater LakeClick thumbnail to view full-size
If you wish to see the deepest blue water ever imagined, put Crater Lake National Park in Oregon on your travel agenda, and you will not be disappointed!
Have you ever visited Crater Lake?
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2008 Peggy Woods