It only took me eight years and A LOT of effort to get there however it was totally worth it. Therefore, I highly recommend it to you.
It is a very popular spot. Camping spots are taken up months in advance. There are two campgrounds they provide information for on their website. They are very good about keeping the website updated with open spots for reservations.
- Mazama Campground is the closest to the Lake. This site reserves 10% of the spots for walk-ins. Walk-ins are on a first come first serve basis. Whether you have a reservation or are just walking up, Check-in time starts at 12:00 p.m.
- Lost Creek Campground is the second closest, doesn’t take reservations, and is a tent only site.
I lucked out and a spot opened up at Mazama’s two days before my trip. I kept checking back every 30 minutes or so to see the status of open sites.
When we arrived around 11:15 a.m. there were people already making a line for the walk-in spots.
I recommend bringing your own firewood. They sell firewood at the store near the entrance to the campground. It cost $10 a bundle. Since there was a burn ban in effect, I felt so lucky each camping site had a fire ring which allowed us to build a fire. My favorite part about camping!!!
Technically Crater Lake is a caldera not a crater. You can drive 33 miles around the entire thing on the Scenic Rim Drive (since you are there- why not?!) It doesn’t take that long to do…
Elevation of Crater Lake ranges from 7000 to 8000 feet. Portland’s elevation is only 50 feet above sea level. Be mentally prepared for this. I underestimated the effects of this on my body. I figured since I grew up in Colorado that it wasn’t going to be a big deal. I forgot that it has been 20 years since I have been to Colorado and it became apparent real fast. There is less oxygen the higher in elevation you go. My heart was beating so hard after a few steps hiking around.
I would only get to spend 1 day and 1 night at Crater Lake so I wanted to make the most of it. I signed up to take their 2 hour boat tour. It cost $44.
There’s only one place to access the water. It’s the same place you will have to go if you decide to take the boat tour.
We arrived to the check-in spot for the boat tour, only to learn it had been cancelled 💩
They only have 3 boats. One of them had just broken down. They are required to keep one of those boats designated as the rescue boat aka: “the just in case” boat. If for any reason something happens to the boat people are on, they need the just in case boat to rescue everyone.
I wanted to touch the water so I convinced my friend to hike down to dip our feet in it. It is not a recreational lake so activities are limited. You can fish. There is a small area to jump in. No flotation devices, no swimming and no private boats.
The hike is moderately difficult because of the (overall) elevation change. The hike itself only changes by 780 feet. If you already live in a place that is is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, you will be fine. For the rest of us, I again want to mention how it took my by surprise. It took hours to get back up the hike. (Still worth it). I just want you to be prepared ❤
If you have the chance to visit this place- you must go!!!!!