Hiking in Crater Lake National Park
Castle Crest Wildflower Trail. This 1-mi loop that passes through a spring-fed meadow is one of the park's flatter hikes. Wildflowers burst into full bloom here in July. Easy. Across the street from Steel Visitor Center parking lot, Rim Dr., Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
Godfrey Glen Trail. This 1-mi loop trail is an easy stroll through an old-growth forest with canyon views. Its dirt path is accessible to wheelchairs with assistance. Easy. 2.4 mi south of Steel Visitor Center, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
Annie Creek Canyon Trail. This somewhat strenuous 1.7-mi hike loops through a deep stream-cut canyon, providing views of the narrow cleft scarred by volcanic activity. This is a good area to look for flowers and deer. Moderate. Mazama Campground, Mazama Village Rd., near Annie Spring entrance station, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
Boundary Springs Trail. If you feel like sleuthing, take this moderate 5-mi round-trip hike to the headwaters of the Rogue River. The trail isn't always well marked, so a detailed trail guide is necessary. You'll see streams, forests, and wildflowers along the way before discovering Boundary Springs pouring out of the side of a low ridge. Moderate. Pullout on Hwy. 230, near milepost 19, about 5 mi west of the junction with Hwy. 138, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
The Watchman Trail. This is one of the best hikes in the park. Though it's less than a mile each way, the trail climbs more than 400 feet—not counting the steps up to the actual lookout, which has great views of Wizard Island and the lake. Moderate. Watchman Overlook, 3.8 mi northwest of Rim Village on Rim Dr., west side of the lake, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
Cleetwood Cove Trail. This strenuous 2.2-mi round-trip hike descends 700 feet down nearly vertical cliffs along the lake to the boat dock. Be in top shape before you take this one. Difficult. Cleetwood Cove trailhead, Rim Dr., 11 mi north of Rim Village, north side of the lake, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
Mt. Scott Trail. This strenuous 5-mi round-trip trail takes you to the park's highest point—the top of Mt. Scott, the oldest volcanic cone of Mt. Mazama, at 8,929 feet. The average hiker needs 90 minutes to make the steep uphill trek—and nearly 60 minutes to get down. The trail starts at an elevation of about 7,450 feet, so the climb is not extreme but does get steep in spots. Views of the lake and the broad Klamath Basin are spectacular. Difficult. 14 mi east of Steel Visitor Center on Rim Dr., east side of the lake, across from the road to Cloudcap Overlook, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604.
Pacific Crest Trail. You can hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada and winds through the park for 33 mi. For this prime backcountry experience, catch the trail off Highway 138 about a mile east of the north entrance, where it heads south and then toward the west rim of the lake and circles it for about 6 mi, then descends down Dutton Creek to the Mazama Village area. You'll need a detailed map for this hike; check online or with the PCT association. Difficult. Pacific Crest Trail parking lot, north access road off Hwy. 138, 2 mi east of the Hwy. 138-north entrance road junction, Crater Lake National Park, OR, 97604. www.nps.gov/crla/brochures/pct.htm.
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