One of the very first places I got to visit, among the most beautiful and striking ones, is Crater Lake.
On the road back from a trip to California, after driving through Klamath Falls, we followed the US-97 N, running along Klamath Lake, taking the OR-62 W until we reached this lake, which is considered one of the wonders of Oregon.
About 6600 years ago, a volcano called Mount Mazama erupted, spewing lava and collapsing inward. The event created a giant caldera that, over the next three centuries, filled with water, reaching a depth of 1932 feet.
This place is known as Crater Lake, a jewel stretching over 20 square miles and draws thousands of tourists every year.
It attracted us too, with its stunning crystal blue color that covers a great expanse and is surrounded by a thriving vegetation.
The view from the top is breathtaking.
We chose to stop by Eagle Cove, where you can also find a residence for tourists, the Crater Lake Lodge, which of course sells every type of souvenirs. We enjoyed a spectacular view!
The outside temperature was very low; I recall wearing a sweatshirt because it wasn’t nearly as cold in the rest of Oregon, but when I got to Crater Lake I basically turned into an igloo. I had to wear a scarf to cover my nose and mouth because the cold was eating me alive, and the result was that I took taliban-like pictures with that freaking scarf on. It was October, so the temperature would be higher in summer. Just in case you’ll end up visiting Crater Lake, I suggest you bring a coat!
It’s certainly worth spending a few hours outdoors in this beautiful place, maybe walking around the National Park. It is, without a doubt, the best that Oregon has to offer!
There are different ways to get there. I’ll give you three options:
1) Entering Oregon from California (Sacramento) along the I-5 through Redding, you can take the US-97 N/S from Central Weed, proceed until Klamath Falls and follow the directions I mentioned on top (travel time: about 6 hours)
2) Or you can pass Ashland and Medford and follow OR-62 E to Crater Lake (travel time: about 6 hours and 30 minutes)
3) If you come from Portland, the trip takes more time, but it’s just as easy: take the I-5 S to Salem, carry on until exit 188 Oakridge/Klamath Falls; enter OR-58, at the interchange take the US-97 S, proceed and turn right (OR-138 W); follow the directions to Crater Lake (travel time: about 4 hours and 30 minutes)
This is an unmissable stop-over!