Saturday, September 10, 2016

Crater Lake

Friday was Crater Lake day.  It was a long drive, exacerbated by getting stuck behind dump trucks with pups on two lane windy uphill roads.  It was worth it!
Crater Lake is the blue-est thing we have ever seen.  It's mesmerizing, it's so blue.  We had a great day for it.  We headed out the East Rim of the drive.  The West Rim has a two and a half mile stretch under construction.  The road is gone, and it's currently gravel and wash-boarded dirt road, with thirty minute wait times.  The Watchman Overlook is closed.  Also closed is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only legal access to the lake.  No matter, the East Rim is spectacular.

This is the Phantom Ship rock formation.  It's as tall as a 16 story building, made of erosion resistant lava.  It's been there for 400,000 years.  It is the oldest exposed rock in the caldera.

Look at the water color along the shore.

Everywhere you look there is something magnificent to see.

This was taken at the Cloudcap Overlook.  It's the highest paved road in Oregon.  These two ladies are riding in the park to train for the Cycle Oregon ride.  They are very strong women.  There is a lot of up hill.

Then it was on to the Pumice Castle overlook.  That would be the orange structure.  It's eroded orange pumice that is said to look like a castle, hence the name.

The chipmunks know how to hold a pose and beg for food.

After the East Rim, we headed down to the Pinnacles.  They're fossil fumaroles, where volcanic gases once rose up through a layer of volcanic ash, cementing the ash into solid rock.  They're huge.  Look at the bottom of the photo, you can see sand blowing off the walls of the canyon.

Here is a better view of the blowing sand.  It was tough on the eyes.

We walked the sandy trail out to an old forest road.  This stone structure used to be the east entrance to the park.  It was closed in the early 1900s, leaving the north and west entrances open.

If you're in the park, this is definitely worth driving out to see.

If you're coming to the park when it's snowed under, you will still be able to see this from the visitor's center.  I think this justifies the drive up the steep hill to get here, even in uncertain weather.

This is Wizard Island, taken from the visitor center overlook.  If the Watchman Overlook was open, you'd be looking at the left side of the island.

We walked over to the Lodge, built in 1915.

I think the same architect did the interiors of all the big lodges.  Wood floors, stone fireplaces, they all have a similar look and feel.

Crater Lake gets about 44 feet of snow every year.  It's a harsh environment.  This tree looks mostly dead, but it's still hanging on.

So, if you're near to the park, make the drive.


  1. Love this place! The water doesn't look real it is so blue.

  2. Yes, that is definitely the most beautiful lake we've ever seen!

  3. Such a lovely sight! We need to visit again some day!

  4. I wish we'd had such blue skies when we visited! It was mostly cloudy; however, we did get a bit of blue at the end of our time there. The blue skies and sunshine definitely improve the blue look of the lake! Did the road closure mean that cyclists couldn't ride all the way around, as Barry did in 2014?

    1. I don't know if the road was closed to bikes or not. Given the ranger's description of it, I don't think it would be fun on skinny tires. The two ladies did an out and back ride. We saw them coming and going.