Camping in Crater Lake

For part of our time off this summer we headed down to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. And went camping, my first time really camping. Yes, at 20-something, this was my first time camping. When I went to camp, we stayed in cabins, and my Girl Scout troop camped out in a local hotel with an awesome pool (although I think we may have done backyard camping once). So I was a bit nervous. But more on that later, this was the view as we arrived at Crater Lake:

Photo by Jessica Hall.

Crater Lake. Photo by Jessica Hall.

The lake was created over thousands of years after the volcanic eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama. Over the years it has become a lake, and one of the clearest at that. That island in the middle? Another eruption created that. It is called Wizard Island.

So upon arrival, we were wowed. As you can see. We headed to the campsite at the park and set up camp. It was car camping, meaning we set up the tent, our stuff stayed in the car, you get the picture. Luckily the Army has made James a professional camper. He knows all the tricks (and has some gear that is awesome to use).

Our first day had a weather system rolling in so we did some hikes around the park. The first was to see Phantom Ship. This rock formation isn’t visible from everywhere, it’s pretty cool!

Phantom Ship. Photo by Jessica Hall.

Phantom Ship. Photo by Jessica Hall.

We also spent time in the lodge which has AMAZING views of the lake. It’s that classic National Park lodge style, large wood beams, huge fireplace, delicious food. We also did some driving around the park. One thing that we didn’t know was how much snow Crater Lake gets. It’s a high altitude and is really only open from June through the fall. There was snow still on the ground. And we were there for the first weekend that the boat trips on the lake were even available, in late June. So bundle up people!

Day 2 we were able to take a boat ride to Wizard Island. (!!!) It was pretty cool. On the way, a park ranger explained the geology of the caldera (cauldron created by volcano) and then we got 3 hours to hike on the island. Here’s the view from the top with the crater of Wizard Island:

View of the crater of Crater Lake's Wizard Island. Photo by Jessica Hall.

View of the crater of Crater Lake’s Wizard Island. Photo by Jessica Hall.

We also hiked along the fumeroles and got some amazing views of the crazy blue water. Here’s what the fumeroles look like from above:

Fumerole Bay from above. Photo by Jessica Hall.

Fumerole Bay from above. Photo by Jessica Hall.

But really this water is amazing!

Photo by Jessica Hall.

Photo by Jessica Hall.

Photo by Jessica Hall.

Photo by Jessica Hall.

We had a great time at the lake. While we didn’t go swimming you can. Just be warned it’s a steep trail to the water, and way worse going up in my opinion. That being said, Crater Lake is one of the more spectacular places I’ve been and definitely one of a kind.

Has anyone else been to Crater Lake? What did you think? Any favorite moments?

Mine was definitely getting out to Wizard Island. And: I liked camping, so we’re going again soon.

2 responses to “Camping in Crater Lake

  1. I love Crater Lake! It’s definitely one of my favorite National Parks, but I haven’t had the opportunity to camp there yet. Your photos are beautiful! I hope I make it down there again before winter sets in.

  2. I love Crater Lake – just got back from another trip there. We did the boat tour for the first time and it was fantastic! We want to go back and swim next time – and jump off that rock by the dock too! Beautiful photos.

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