On our latest climbing road trip, we took a rest day exploring Crater Lake National Park. We scheduled in one day, intending to do part of the scenic loop and hike one or two hikes.
From looking online, I was somehow under the impression that in order to get a great view of Crater Lake, we’d have to hike a few miles, but luckily I was wrong. The rim hikes do give you some unique views but there’s a scenic drive that traces them almost all the way around the lake.
Normally, I’d LOVE to hike the park, but our rest day turned out to be an uncharacteristically cold day. At 35 degrees and very windy, we were quite content jumping out of the car for quick views and doing a few very short hikes along the rim.
We started at the Rim Village Visitor Center at sunrise, then drove the Crater Lake Scenic Loop in about 3 hours, with stopping at almost every overlook. We also hiked a total of about two miles at a number of pullouts.
It was amazing. And that’s coming from someone who is use to viewing the world on foot with a pack on my back.
It was also a life goal. When I was in high school I learned about Crater Lake National Park. It always intrigued me because while most lakes are fueled by mountain run off (or run off from somewhere), this lake is on top of the mountain, with nothing to fuel it. At 15, I put Crater Lake on my bucketlist and 16 years later, I knocked it off.
So… even if you’re only option is to drive the scenic loop of a national park, it’s pretty much always worth it. And if you have your dog with you, still worth it. Going to be cold? You should probably still go. Just go. No really. Go.