Visited: August 2019
Accommodations: Crater Lake Mazama Cabins
Duration: 2 nights, 1.5 days
Crater Lake National Park is a photographer’s dream! We pulled into the Cabins (Mazama Cabins) around sunset so we didn’t get to enjoy the park the first night. We unpacked in our cabin that is way outdated and not the cleanest, but that is what you expect when you stay in a National Park. After a horrible nights sleep had by all, we got up and ate some cereal on the front porch. We headed out for the day a little after sunrise, to beat the crowds and get some amazing pictures.
Crater Lake is an easy National Park to navigate, it has one road that goes around the lake with multiple pull-offs and overlooks with 3 roads that spur off. One leading north out of the park, one that leads to Mazama Village and the south entrance and one that leads to Pinnacles overlook. We did the main circle first and took hundreds of pictures, stopping at every stop and overlook.
Stopped at the Rim Village Visitor Center and grabbed our Junior Ranger books to start our tour. We opted to do this area later while eating lunch in case we have a wait.
Here are the sites we stopped at going around the lake:
We made it all the way around the lake and back to Rim Village in time for lunch and a Junior Ranger Program. We ate lunch at Rim Village, in the Rim Cafe. We looked around the gift shop and walked outside on the Rim for great pictures. There was a special Junior Ranger Program behind the Rim Visitor center where kids earned a really cool patch (see picture below), they made postcards of Crater Lake and really enjoyed doing this activity. You can also earn a badge by completing the Junior Ranger book. My kids opted for doing both.
Time to explore more of the park…
We headed to Pinnacles overlook via Vidae Falls. This part of the park is gorgeous. Beautiful tall pine trees and waterfalls. This is what I imagined all of Oregon looking like. WOW. We parked in the parking lot and walked down to see the pinnacles. These were icing on top of an already amazing cake. This park was worth the visit.
After having explored all corners of this park we headed back to Rim Village for our dinner at Crater Lake Lodge. I had booked a reservation months in advance here and I gave us some time to wander the Lodge and take in this gorgeous lodge atmosphere. We did have a few issues getting in at our reserved time and the wait staff wasn’t the friendliest but I have found that National Park restaurants and staff are not top notch, we need to remember we aren’t here for the service we are here for the history and atmosphere. Food was good, drinks ok and the atmosphere made it worth the stop.
All in all this Park was wonderful. We really enjoyed it here and met some great PCT hikers at the Mazama Village gift shop and gave a through hiker a ride through the park on our way out the next morning. Her story was amazing to listen to.
Passport stamps, Badges and Patches earned, we are off to the next park.
Have you been to Crater Lake? I loved the views, it is a photographers dream. I had a hard time stopping from taking a picture everywhere we went. Put it on your list if you are in the area. Well worth the stop.