Crater Lake National Park

A beautiful high mountain lake with a violent history.

Trip Report:  20060801

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The Trip

We spent way too much time at Oregon Caves and therefore had to hurry on our way. We intended to visit Crater Lake since it was generally on our designated path, but we had to make our stop short. We arrived late in the day, so the lighting was pretty good since we were on the west side. The plan was to go to the visitor center, shoot a few photos and then traverse the west ring road and exit the park at the north and proceed to Bend, OR for the night. The photos below are what we saw.

I had to smile at the odd tourist artifacts that we saw in this parking lot. The large seals were very amusing.

Across the street from the restaurant was this all-purpose store: music, clothes, tools, guns, jewely and of course the ever needed pawn shop for when you have overspent.

We had a pretty long trip to get from Crescent City to Crater Lake. Along the way, we stopped at Oregon Caves, which is described in a separate page. The trip had some great roads with lots of twists and turns to keep the BMWs happy. We made pretty good time, but spent too long at the caves resulting in us arriving at Crater Lake at 5pm. This made for long shadows and high-contrast photos, but the light was sufficient. Here was our first view of Crater Lake. The water is dramatically blue since there is very little algae. Crater Lake was the result of the collapse of Mt. Mazama and subsequent filling of the crater with rain and snow melt.

There is an island in the center which has its own cinder cone. Note the top of the cone has a depression. The island hosts boat tours, but getting down into the crater is non-trivial. Note the snow on the left and the boat.

The shadows were deepening, but we still had a great view. This is a very beautiful place.

The sides of the crater walls are steep and unstable. One step over the edge and it is a one-way, no return trip to the bottom. There were signs all over to that effect and I do not think that they were scare tactics, but rather the result of a number of folks going over the edge.

One last view of the lake from the visitor center area and we had to head out to Bend, OR.

As we were on our way out of the park, we passed this fire in progress. The claim was that this was a "natural, controlled burn". Seems that the National Park Service (NPS) learned a lesson about fires after the big Yellowstone fire years ago. Man's fire supression efforts are not as useful as once believed. Fire plays a role in the natural ecology of the forest, and sometimes it is better to just let it burn. The resulting areas support grasses and meadows that would not be there without the fire.

We stopped at Discovery Point for this late afternoon shot of the lake. Note the snow on the right. This is the same island that was in earlier shots, but viewed from north.

Thanks to the AAA tour book, we knew where to stay in Bend. We called ahead and got the last room at a place called the Riverhouse Inn. The hotel is right on the Deschutes river and we had a 2nd story room with a private patio overlooking the water. This is the view from the balcony. The room was very nice; it had a fireplace and spa in the room in addition to the patio. The food at the resturant was good and they had a reasonable wine list.

Very cool fireplace in the hotel room.

Overall, the Riverhouse Inn was one of the nicest places we stayed on the whole trip. The bed had nice ironwork between the posts.


This was one of our longer driving days. We overstayed our welcome at the cave and therefore had to hustle to the next destination. But, all told, this was a good day.

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