In early Spring I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. A fantastic memoir about her 1100 mile solo trek along the Pacific Coast Trail in a bid to escape her demons. I fell in love with her writing, her complete idiocy for attempting such a feat with no previous hiking experience, and her determination. But what intrigued me the most was the places she saw along the way. Her description of Crater Lake, in particular, had my travel bugs ferociously biting, and I just knew I had to see it for myself.
It only took three months for my itching to subside, ironically the same amount of time it took Cheryl to finish her trek along the Pacific Coast Trail. Somehow I managed to convince hubby to read the book too, and a road trip was planned – you didn’t think I was actually going to hike the trail did you?
During our own travels we happened to run across a few of the destination points that Cheryl mentions in the book, including the ‘Bridge of the Gods’, and several entry points along the Pacific Coast Trail, however the most remarkable was definitely Crater Lake.
Surrounded by picturesque cliffs almost two thousand feet high, and water so blue you’d think it was fake, Crater Lake truly took my breath away. Although it has a violent volcanic past, it is now a place of sheer beauty and tranquility.
We were there mid-June and sadly a few weeks too early. Many of the roads and trails surrounding the lake were still closed due to heavy snow, so our wish to traipse along the many hiking trails which lead to several points of interest along the lake, including ‘Wizard Island‘ and the ‘Phantom Ship‘ (two hikes the kids could have easily accomplished), were dashed.
Nevertheless, I was determined to enjoy as much of Crater Lake as I could.
One of the major advantages of camping in June is not having to fight the crowds, and being able to choose prime camping spots at will.
We stayed at the beautiful Mazama Village Campground for three nights. It is quiet, private, well treed, and has clean amenities. I was impressed that each site provides bear-proof lockers, and that you are allowed to collect dead wood for your campfire – and for some reason there is a TON of it lying around.
The local store is within easy walking distance from most campsites and has a good selection of groceries at a fairly reasonable price. There is also a restaurant (and gift shop) for those who are tired of camping fare.
The in-laws were camping with us this time around, so hubby and I took advantage of the fact we had babysitters, and enjoyed a nice meal on our own at the restaurant.
Although I don’t have many complaints about this particular campground, the one thing I will warn you about is the mosquitoes. They were brutal! And also the fact that it was ccccc-cold. On the morning we were leaving we woke up to snow. The elevation is around 6000 feet, so snow mid-June is probably not out of the ordinary.
If you aren’t inclined to camp, you will be happy to know there are cabins for rent in Mazama Village.
There is also the lovely Historic Crater Lake Lodge. I would have much preferred to stay at the lodge (I bet you there are no mosquitoes in there!), however it is really hard to convince hubby of such things when we have a 29′ trailer being pulled behind us (he’s such a spoil sport).
However, even the cold and mosquitoes didn’t dampen my excitement of being at Crater Lake.
If you haven’t been, you really need to see the beauty of it for yourself.
Getting to Crater Lake
From the South (Year Round):
From Medford – Take Route 62 north and east to the park’s west entrance.
From Klamath Falls – Take Route 97 north to Route 62 north and west to the park’s south entrance.
From the North (Summer only):
The park’s north entrance is closed in the winter and spring. Dates can vary, but typically the north entrance is closed from early November to mid-June.
Tell me, have you been? Is it on your travel bucket list?
Let me know in the comments below.
Pin this for future reference: