Early in history, a violent volcanic eruption resulted in one of the most impressive natural wonders in America. The peak of Mount Mazama collapsed far into its opening, and runoff from the surrounding mountains filled the deep crevasse, resulting in southern Oregon’s Crater Lake. At approximately 1,950 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. It attracts a half million people every year who come to behold its sapphire blue waters and surrounding wilderness. The lake is continually fed with rain and melted snow, making it one of the clearest lakes in the world.
Crater Lake is an extraordinary retreat where visitors can hike down forested slopes to the dazzling lake shore, or climb up gravel trails for a vista of the landscape. There are also many places to overlook Wizard Island, located near the middle of the lake. The Watchman Lookout Station is at the top of an uphill trail, and provides excellent panoramic views of the park. You can also explore pine and fir old-growth forests by taking the Dutton Creek Trail. This trail leads out onto the Pacific Crest area, which follows the rim of the lake and crosses into the Pumice Desert. You can also explore the lake by car and take the Crater Lake Rim Drive, which has more than 30 scenic overlooks along the way. The prevalent clouds and fog floating beneath tree-lined cliffs gives this lake a mystical feel.
There are mainly two seasons at Crater Lake – summer and winter. From July to September, temperatures range from 40-degrees to 80-degrees F, and can dip below freezing at night. This area is covered with snow in the winter, which makes for great cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. Many people enjoy biking around the lake in the summer. As deep as the lake is, it barely reaches a comfortable temperature to swim, but some people do it anyway, especially after a long hike. Crater Lake National Park is a stunning landmark, carved into the back of commemorative Oregon quarters and into the minds of everyone who visits.