Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

The Perfect Getaway for Outdoor Enthusiasts

crater-lake-national-park

The deepest lake in the Unites States isn't really a lake at all - it's a caldera, an enormous volcanic crater nearly six miles wide, with depths close to 4,000 feet. Crater Lake has been stunning visitors with its piercing blue waters for centuries now, and the thrill of gazing at the mirror-like waters never grows old. But Crater Lake National Park is certainly not for onlookers alone: this is a park full of hands-on, outdoor adventure. Experience the cornflower blue waters and the mysterious Wizard Island up-close and personal with a guided boat tour, or by scuba diving.

You May Also Like

Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Point Reyes National Seashore, California

Get lost exploring Point Reyes's narrow stretches of sand and over 1,500 protected species of plants and animals. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Golden Gate National Rec Area, California

Golden Gate National Rec Area, California

Go for the majestic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, stay for the people watching. Surfers, dog walkers, fishermen and moms with jogging strollers are all drawn to the beach at former airfield Crissy Field. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park, California

Float down the Merced River when temps soar in the summer and pull off for a picnic at one of the 2 main beaches, Cathedral or Sentinel. 960 1280

  

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands National Park, Virgin Islands

Turquoise water and gleaming white beaches at a national park? That's what you'll find if you venture outside of the US. The Virgin Islands National Park is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Trunk Bay. 960 1280

Ben Whitney, Wikimedia Commons  

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

It's not easy to get to most Colorado River beaches, but consider a several-day rafting trip the highlight of your trip. Before you dive in you should know the water rarely gets above 60 degrees, but you probably won't mind in 100-degree heat. 960 1280

Al_HikesAZ, flickr  

Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area, California

Santa Monica Mountains National Rec Area, California

Just 10 miles up the coast from Malibu, you'll find surfers, sunbathers and sea caves tucked along the rocky coasts and sandstone cliffs. 960 1280

Doug Dolde, Wikimedia Commons  

Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah/Arizona

Glen Canyon National Rec Area, Utah/Arizona

Set among the red rocks, Lake Powell is perfect for water sports and cruising around coves in your boat. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington

If you're not blown away by the rocky sea stacks at the Point of Arches, at low tide check out the glowing tidal pools full of neon pink anemones and orange sea stars. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

Filled with lighthouses, quaint towns and picturesque beaches, Cape Cod is postcard-ready -- the only thing missing is you. 960 1280

Anne Homyak, flickr  

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

Home to the tallest US mountain on the Atlantic, the rocky coast of Maine lures people to hike granite peaks, observe the wildlife, bike historic carriage roads or simply relax in the resort town of Bar Harbor. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island conjures up images of wild horses, salt marshes and sandy beaches -- and because it's a protected national seashore that's exactly what you'll find. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Most of Hawaii's national parks protect volcanoes, but Haleakala or "House of the Sun" also features a beach of basalt stones and breathtaking waterfalls. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park, California

A herd of Roosevelt elk is often seen in the meadow near the Gold Bluffs Beach campground in a 10-mile stretch of northwestern California beach and sand dunes. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne National Park, Florida

Biscayne is for serious water lovers since it is made up of only 5% land -- mostly coral reefs and shoreline. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Channel Islands National Park, California

Channel Islands National Park, California

Getting away from it all will take roughly an hour on a catamaran from the Southern California mainland, but then you'll be free to kayak, snorkel or swim to your heart’s content. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia

Cumberland Island is the largest sea island and home to the ruins of Dungeness Manor, originally constructed in 1803. 960 1280

Jon Dawson, flickr  

The lake lies in the midst of 249 square miles of protected wilderness ready to be explored, be it by foot, snowshoe or snowmobile. Easily accessible to tourists, the 33-mile Rim Drive covers the lake's perimeter and grants drivers views of the lake and surrounding environs. Within the park's territory it's not unlikely to see black bear, elk, Clark's nutcracker, even the elusive bald eagle. Tree lovers will enjoy the varieties of forest that comprise the park's wilderness - ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, mountain hemlock and whitebark pine zones are all represented. Many cold weather activities such as cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are available to visitors, but winter travelers, take note: from October to June it is not unusual to find the park's grounds covered in 10-15 feet of snow.

Geological History
Crater Lake is a caldera, which is a volcanic crater with a diameter exceeding more than half a mile. This particular caldera formed when Mount Mazama of the Cascade Range viciously erupted 7,000 years ago, scattering ash as far away as Montana. The eruption was so powerful that the volcanic chambers emptied themselves of molten rock, leaving an empty shaft leading underground. The weight of the mountain collapsed into this void creating the 4,000-foot-deep caldera that has become Crater Lake.

Park Activities
Making the most of 10 to 15 feet of snow each winter can be quite a task, but Crater Lake National Park faces the challenge like an old pro. This is one of the snowiest regions in the entire northwest and winter sport enthusiasts find it a dream come true. Unplowed roads and open slopes are perfect for skiing, snowmobiling and checking out the gorgeous scenery. The warmer weather of spring and summer is perfect for fishing, swimming, hiking and especially a Volcano Boat Tour through the lake. These boats are the only ones allowed on the lake, and visitors can experience close-up views of Llao Rock, Phantom Ship and Wizard Island.

Where to Stay
Crater Lake Lodge reclines along the edge of the Crater Lake caldera, leaving guests little choice but to easily fall victim to the hotel's glorious environs. Refurbished in 1995, this lodge is considered by many to be the finest of all national park accommodations. Patios dotted with rocking chairs afford perfect vistas of the lake and Wizard Island, while the delightful Watchman Restaurant and Llao Rock Cafe sate the appetite. 

Nearby Sights/Side Trips
Klamath County, home of Crater Lake National Park, is a little slice of heaven on earth, and well-worth exploring. In this land of outdoor adventure, it's not surprising to gaze skyward and see one of the area's 1,000 bald eagles soar overhead as visitors take advantage of stellar skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing or hiking opportunities. Culture loverd won't be disappointed either, as Klamath County is also home to museums, theaterd, monuments and even a casino.

The Hot List

Enter to Win a $100,000 Caribbean Vacation!
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Leaf-peeping, road trips, fun getaways and more!
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.

Next Up

National Parks for Families

Plan a fabulous family vacation at a kid-friendly national park.