Crater Lake, South Entrance

#4 of 30 trails in Crater Lake National Park
Spectacular Volcanic Lake at Crater Lake National Park with multiple rim hikes, Rim Drive, can hike to lake level at Cleetwood Cove, see millions of stars on clear nights.

15.3 miles 650 feet
camping hiking scenic driving forest lake views
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"Like No Place Else On Earth
Crater Lake has inspired people for thousands of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom."

Daniel Riley

151 Completed144 Reviews

Visiting Crater Lake on Labor Day weekend was not my smartest move. The crowds were intense. But like most National Parks, once you leave the "village" and head out on a trail, you can leave the crowds behind.

Steve Benoit

242 Completed16 Reviews

I hiked from Ashland to the Columbia River on the PCT in July 2015 and the hike in to Crater Lake was spectacular. I walked in during a lighting/rain storm and feel so lucky to experience the lake during a storm. I felt a little culture shock with all the people at Crater Lake but the view is worth the walk.

Aemie Woolen

39 Completed35 Reviews

Suzie P

18 Completed14 Reviews

I absolutely cannot wait to come back! When researching the website, I was ignorant to weather conditions. I assumed it would be sunny and bright! Upon arriving, in my tank top, shorts, and sandals mind you, I was in shock. There was up to 8 feet of snow, and the trails required snow shoes to enter. My mistake completely. Don't go in February unless you are aware of weather conditions...

Julia Myers

65 Completed4 Reviews

Beautiful! Also be sure to seek out the Pinnacles.

Try to avoid days when there are bike events. I'm not sure how often they're held at Crater Lake, but there is no shoulder and it's slightly stressful trying to drive around the cyclists because there are blind curves. Nothing against them, but when there are several cyclists and several tourists in cars, it was difficult to drive.

Bill Watson

704 Completed214 Reviews

Entering from the South Entrance, Crater Lake treated us to a fantastic time over two days - here are some of our activities: Steele Information Center has a nice 18 min video open 9-5, the Rim VC open 9:30-4:30, note there is a 2 hr trolley ride around entire rim drive w/4 stops (we had a rental and stopped where we wanted to).

1. Sun Notch Viewpoint - 20 minutes, steep 0.25 miles one way to views watch cliffs! Moderate - TH: 4 miles east of Park HQ on the East Rim Dr. View of CL and Phantom Ship
2. Pinnacles Trail - 30 minutes, 1 mile out to OL and back, Easy - TH: End of Pinnacles Spur Road, 7 miles south of Phantom Ship Overlook/7 miles from Steele Info Ctr, Views of volcanic spires in canyon walls. Not a must see, best probably in early morning as sun hits the spires.
3. Garfield Peak - best hike in the park... Time: 2-3 hours; 1.7 miles one way, Moderate - TH: Follow sidewalk on lakeside of Crater Lake Lodge going east to start dirt trail, Panoramic epic views of Lake. May be closed due to snow.
4. Watchman Peak Sunset Hike with ranger for sunsets; starts 1 hr before sunset to historic fire lookout, check with VC for times. 1.6 mi. RT, 1 hr - TH at Watchman Overlook, 3.7 mi. north of Rim Village on West Rim Drive. we did this on a brilliant sun-drenched Tuesday afternoon.
5. MUST DO: Cleetwood Cove (only lake shore access), 1.5 hours, 1.1 miles one way, Moderate to strenuous, 11% grade, TH: 4.5 miles east of junction of East Rim Road and North Entrance Road, Lake shore and boat dock. Jump from 18-ft rock ledge into 55 degree lake.

Other hikes - we did not do, but if we had extra time:
6. Wizard Island hike (take boat over from Cleetwood Cove 1.75 hrs and hike 2 miles to summit. Boats $19-39, see - - note you can take 3 hrs to a half day for this).
7. Mt. Scott - 3 hrs, 5 miles RT (90 mins up an 60 mins down steep in spots), Strenuous - TH: 14 miles east of Park HQ on East Rim Dr. Highest point in park with views of historic fire lookout and CL.

Overlooks: Cloudcap @ 8,000, Watchman Trail and Overlook (turquoise pools), Pumice Pt. (u-shaped glaciers), Phantom Ship (best is to drive rim road clockwise). Other overlooks Discovery Point (2.2 mi. RT), Pinnacle Overlook, Sun Notch (.25 mile hike to Overlook),

Crater Lake Lodge Dinner reservations - call 541-594-2255 x3217
Drive around lake is 33 miles, and don't miss watching the stars at night, you see 'em all - the Milky Way is clearly visible...
We had a great time, with great weather (in July) and excellent hiking. Highly recommend this park!

Jeff Jorgensen

17 Completed10 Reviews

Crater Lake is breathtaking and a must see if you are in Oregon!

We went during late summer and didn't experience insane crowds, and brought our dog with no problems!

Nick Moore

49 Completed8 Reviews

It's beautiful and like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. The waterfalls and surrounding areas are just as beautiful as the lake itself.

Nicole Atkins

69 Completed60 Reviews

Crater Lake, one of the leading natural features in the state of Oregon, beholds a breathtaking view that no photograph can possibly accurately portray. The colors are deep hues of blue and green, which is beautiful while set against either the summer fauna or winter snow. A must see!!

Eric Vaughn

4 Completed15 Reviews

Crater lake is stunning. Whether you go in the spring, summer, or winter months, be prepared to take alot of beautiful pictures. If you camp in the fall, around late August-September, it can be nearly 90 degree outside during the day, but in the moringing there can be a carpet of snow on the ground (I know this first hand!). There are many trails and wilderness areas to explore, however, during the spring and summer months don't expect to be the only one visiting. IT CAN BE VERY CROWDED!