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A beginner's guide to Crater Lake
Crater Lake is, without a doubt, the highlight of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. The giant pool of deep blue waters attracts many visitors each year, especially when the park comes out of hibernation in the summer month from June to September. Formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama over 7,000 years ago, the lake is the deepest in the United States plunging down to 2,000 feet.
What to do
Visiting Crater Lake in summer offers the perfect opportunity to get your hiking shoes on and scramble around the countryside. Take a walk on one of its many routes, which rangers in the visitor’s centres will be able to help you find and navigate. To cool off, take a dip in the lake itself. There is only one place where it is legal to make your way down to the water, and that’s the 1.1 mile Cleetwood Clove Trail, dropping 700 feet down to the shore. The perfect way to refresh yourself mid-hike! There are also many great cycling routes in the area, too. If hiking isn’t your thing, you can also take a scenic drive around the crater, along the aptly named Rim Drive, which offers all those stunning lake views with plenty of time to spare. Avid fans of fishing should definitely head here to catch some sun in the summer and relax lakeside with their rods.
Where to eat
Even though you’re right in the depths of Mother Nature, there are still a few good places to eat in the heart of Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room offers Oregon-sourced cuisine, from local fresh produce like Oregon mushrooms, to the state’s finest cheese and wines. Nab yourself a seat at the window and you can dine while looking out on the gorgeous scenery. Annie Creek restaurant is another park favourite, located about five miles away from the rim of the crater. Serving up typical American cuisine, this is a popular breakfast stop for those setting out on the Rim Drive around Crater Lake – fuel up here before a beautiful day of driving.
Where to stay
Crater Lake National Park is littered with campgrounds, so if you’re ready to rough it there is plenty of opportunity to get intimate with nature with a bit of camping. However, if that’s not your thing, you have plenty of other options. Crater Lake Lodge is one of the only in-park accommodation options, and is perched right on the rim of the beautiful Crater Lake. The Lodge was opened back in 1915, with a renovation in 1995, which means it offers all that wholesome charm as well as modern amenities.
For a different experience, check out Mazama Village, a little further out. Still situated in the thick of nature, surrounded by pine forest, this village offers cabin accommodation and campgrounds, and is a peaceful options for those visiting Crater Lake National Park.