‘Crater Lake is the greatest asset to southern Oregon. It is worth traveling hundreds of miles to see. I thought that I had gazed upon everything beautiful in nature as I have spent many years traveling thousands of miles to view the beauty spots of the earth, but I have reached the climax. Never again can I gaze upon the beauty spots of the earth and enjoy them as being the finest thing I have ever seen. Crater Lake is far above them all.’-Jack London
I remember learning about the National Parks in third grade, we even had an NPS guide come speak to my class, and hearing about Crater Lake National Park. I have wanted to see it ever since. Well, I finally did and it only took 25ish years! I had been impatiently waiting for it to reopen…I checked google three times a day and finally, finally the day arrived! I went the first day I was off and it wasn’t snowing! An important note about the weather, it snows a lot…like 8-9 months out of the year. Crater Lake gets something like 44 feet of snow on average. While the park is open year round, you may want to check conditions before you go. Chains are needed all around Oregon and Crater Lake is no different. However, the NPS has installed a trusty lake camera, so you can check out lake conditions.
Like most of Oregon, the drive is very beautiful. I highly recommend getting a parks pass, it saves a lot of time and money. It provides access to all parks without fees (the pass is $80 annually). When I arrived, the line was fairly long but there was a park ranger asking if you had a pass and letting you on through in the employee line. It was awesome. The drive up to the lake was steep and lovely. You just keep climbing until you see a flash of the bluest blue you have ever seen. There is plenty of parking and even with Covid the gift shop and, most importantly, public restrooms were open (with physical distancing).
The moment I have waiting most of my life for had arrived and I looked out on the lake. I am tearing up just writing this. I had been told it is bluer and more beautiful than you can imagine and they were right. The blue of the lake is like you turned up the saturation to maximum. The water is so clear that you can see the clouds dance across. I cannot wait until the boat tour is back running, better believe I’ll be there the moment they resume…I want to see the log that has been floating around for a century!
Most of the trails were closed due to snow not Covid, so I look forward to doing a lot of hiking on my next visit later this summer. Hopefully my brother will be with me but South Carolina is a hotspot so he may not be able to (and I will be gutted). I spent a few hours just wandering around, sitting and watching the clouds dance. It was the most magical of days. I still cannot believe I have been there! Yosemite was the second on my childhood bucket list of parks and hopefully that will be over the holidays (I’m going to try a do a Christmas road trip to California-I need to feel a bit of home again).
In a world that is a bit (or a lot) chaotic and a really difficult 9 months, it was so nice to just be one with nature in my new favorite spot!