The first leg of the Horizon Tour took me to Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon after a really short overnight at a rest stop. I haven’t been through this area since I was maybe seven years old, so it was much overdo.
While it wasn’t the most lengthy visit arriving just before sunset, it was still worth the drive up the mountain and trudging through the cold windy weather.
Crater Lake and the Cascade Mountain Range feels like it came out of a fairy tale with all it’s densely packed trees and luscious green. Each deep breath fills you with clean air that feels reparative and exhilarating.
I arrived late to Rim Village located inside the south entrance, having just enough time to jog up to the lookout point. I watched the sun disappear behind the edges of the crater, cloaking Wizard Island in shadows. It made me consider… I was watching almost the exact same thing that people have witnessed since Mount Mazama erupted ~7,700 years ago.
Crater Lake is within a 2,148-foot (655 m) deep caldera formed when the 12,000 foot Mount Mazama volcano erupted and then collapsed in on itself. At 1,943 feet deep, it’s the deepest lake in America and ninth globally! The depth and purity of it’s water is where the crystal clear blue waters come from.
Winter activities are far more limited, though depending on snowfall and other conditions, camping is available. Most of the route around the rim of the crater is closed after October or November, and tours to Wizard Island are limited if there are any at all. Even according to the National Park Service website, “the lake is completely invisible about 50% of the time” because it gets obscured by clouds.
During summer however, visitors can enjoy everything from hiking, camping (tent and cabins), boat tours, bird watching, fishing… and you don’t need a fishing license! Especially awesome if you’re camping–head out for a day hike with a little tackle box and pole, come home happily exhausted with experiences and maybe even a delicious dinner of kokanee salmon or rainbow trout.
Altitude: 7,100 feet
Weather: 39°F (clear skies, heavy cold wind)
Date visited: October 3, 2017