Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park

We planned to spend a day or two at Crater Lake National Park on the way South to California and entered the Park at the North end. It was a cloudy day but we were not prepared for the weather we encountered as we drove the West Rim to the top. Temperatures dropped below 40 (snow forecast), visibility 10 yards, and we couldn’t see much further than the precipice edge. At the top we encountered road resurfacing / rebuilding, and hardly saw the flagman enforcing one way traffic. Lake views were not likely so we carried on to Mazama village and were happy to get a ‘first come first served’ campsite there.

Crater Lake is an amazing geological formation. Like Yellowstone, it was formed as a ‘Caldera’ after a volcanic eruption emptied a huge void underground and the earth’s surface collapsed into it. It is a much smaller Caldera (6 miles in diameter compared with 40 miles) than Yellowstone. The Yellowstone Caldera was formed from three ‘super volcano’ eruptions, the most recent 630,000 years ago. However, the Crater Lake Caldera was formed only about 7,000 years ago when Mount Mazama erupted over several days and the earth collapsed into the void over only several hours. It’s very possible that the Klamath Native American tribe witnessed this phenomenon as there are tales of a cataclysmic event in their cultural history.

The crater cooled and has filled with rain and snowfall over several hundred years to the current depth of about 2,000 feet, containing some of the purest natural water in the world. This explains the amazing deep blue color of the lake with its aquamarine edges. There is no water outfall from the Lake. The lake bottom is still active volcanically and future eruptions are very possible.

We ended up spending 4 nights, waiting for the storm to pass and eventually experienced a beautiful day when we drove the East Rim in two sections as the middle was closed for avalanche damage repair. Colin took one of the trails down from the rim to the lake shore and back and we visited Vidae Falls in the early evening.
Click on any thumbnail below to see larger image gallery.

  • Crater Lake

    Click on map below to see larger version

    Click to open a larger map

    Mazama Village, Crater Lake National Park, OR

  • 3 Comments on “Crater Lake

    1. Hi guys. We’ve just come back from a trip to Cape Cod, where a friend asked me if I was “tired of all that scenicity.” (too much scenery … no such word) … Not a problem for me. And I can tell from your writings and your Ansel Adams-eque photography, not a problem for you either! Loved the owl and hawk photos, and the otters at Bend. And those images of Crater Lake are spectacular. A good thing that you waited for the weather to clear, so you could share the beauty with us. I really appreciate the hiking you had to do, camera in tow, to get the perspective. Bravo!
      From Cheryl: I was ‘busy’ reading, and so happy that Colin came back in one piece from his trip up the glacier. Much too rough for me, it was a straight up climb to the glacier, and a straight up trek back to the parking lot after the boat ride. So Colin did this one by himself!

    2. Quel bleu merveilleux! Vous irez à San Francisco? Grâce à vous, je voyage aux Etats Unis.
      From Cheryl: We will be going near San Francisco in about another week, visiting another set of friends from Colin’s past. It is a gorgeous area, this Crater Lake, and such an interesting geological formation. We love that you are with us on this voyage! No sea sickness though, I’m so happy to report!

    3. A blizzard in July!? This Maryland girl can’t even imagine. I hope you were able to keep warm. Love you both.
      From Cheryl: We can’t even recall the cold weather, all because we are in 102 degrees in the San Fernando Valley, where Richard lives. Oh, it’s so hot our tennis shoes are melting to the blacktop. Not enough green, everything is brown and burning up. But would I rather be in humid Maryland. Hmmm, tough decision! Love to you and the family.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *