Crater Lake National Park Oregon 
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Crater Lake National Park in Oregon

Plan your vacation or day trip to Crater Lake, one of America's national parks not far from Bend, Oregon

In the mood for a scenic road trip starting in Bend, Oregon and ending in one of the most pristine national parks on earth? Crater Lake National Park features towering cliffs, stunning volcanic islands, and water so shockingly blue, you’ll stand blinking in the sun trying to clear your vision in case the whole thing is one big, beautiful mirage.

Where is Crater Lake National Park

Located two hours, eight minutes, and thirty four seconds from Bend Oregon (give or take), Crater Lake is an incredible must-see day trip from your Bend home base. At 1,943-feet deep, it’s the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. Crater Lake formed when Mt. Mazama erupted approximately 7,700 years ago in a massive volcanic eruption. Then the whole thing collapsed on itself, creating a big hole that eventually filled with water to become the amazing lake you see today.

What to Do at Crater Lake National Park in the Winter or Summer

You can visit Crater Lake any time of year, though some of the roads and facilities are closed during the winter when the area gets an average of 44 feet of snow. But all that snow makes it a great time to enjoy Crater Lake’s popular ranger-guided snowshoe walks between November and April. The walks last two hours ​over a mile of moderately strenuous terrain,  while exploring forests and meadows along the rim of Crater Lake. You can also bring snowshoes or your cross country skis from home and set out exploring on your own. The park's north entrance is closed during the winter months, but the national park can still be accessed by using the southern entrance.

Summer is the most popular season for visiting Crater Lake, and for good reason. Hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, swimming - and even scuba diving - are popular pastimes in the warmer months. The lake makes an incredible backdrop for family reunions. crater-lake-oregon.jpgKeep in mind the season is short, generally spanning from June until the first snowfall in September. The average lake temperature below 300 feet is a chilly 38 degrees, but the surface can warm to 55 or 60 degrees during the summer months. There’s only one spot where it’s safe and legal to access the lake shore for swimming. The Cleetwood Cove Trail opens mid to late June, is 1.1 miles long, and drops nearly 700 feet to the shoreline where you can safely swim in the chilly water. If you dare, dive into the crystal clear lake water from the 20-foot rock ledge, which has become a ritual for many brave swimmers.


Over a hundred years ago, many travelers were not able to experience the beauty of Crater Lake due to a remote location far from paved roads. Then along came William Gladstone Steel who constructed the historic Crater Lake Lodge in 1915 and even spearheaded the park's designation as a national park in 1902.

The Crater Lake Lodge you visit today is nothing compared to the 1915 version. The National Park Service had to completely reconstruct the Lodge due to structural impacts from snow and substandard construction practices. On May 20, 1995, the Lodge reopened to the public and offers fine and casual dining, lodging, visitor information, a gift shop, and, of course, endless blue vistas.

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Crater Lake Lodging

Crater Lake lodging is fairly limited when it comes to hotels and lodging so many visitors choose to stay at hotels and motels in nearby Bend, the largest city closest to Crater Lake National Park. The historic Crater Lake Lodge is the only Oregon hotel located within the national park and it fills quickly. Camping, RV sites, and cabins are available seven miles from the lake rim, near the south entrance, at Mazama Village Campground and RV Park.

Whether you are on vacation in Bend or taking a road trip across Oregon, plan a day to explore one of the nation's most stunning national parks.

Driving ​Directions   | Crater Lake Map  | Things to Do & See
 | FAQs ​& Park Facts


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>> Walking Tours  >> Historic Cemetery Tours 

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