I thought I knew blue. You know, the color of the sky, one of the colors of our flag, the color of those berries that are supposed to be good for memory. But, I didn’t know what a truly gorgeous color blue was until I went to Crater Lake in southern Oregon.
The deepest lake in the United States is certainly why the hashtag #nofilterneeded was invented for social media pictures. At first glance, it’s as if you’re staring at some kind of Hollywood fake backdrop set – it’s too beautiful to be real! But, it is, and I had a chance to spend a weekend hiking and driving around this national park.
I stayed at the Prospect Historic Hotel Bed and Breakfast. It’s a state and national historic landmark, built as an Inn in the 1890s and famous guests include Teddy Roosevelt and Jack London. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil. It’s about a 30 minute drive south of the park. (And much less expensive than staying at the lodge inside the park!)
Start at the Rim Village Visitor Center for an easy two-mile out and back hike on Discovery Point trail. It contours the rim of the lake and turns from a paved path to a dirt path which leads to Discovery Point. It was there in 1853 that settlers first discovered the enormous caldera and lake. (Hence the name.)
For a more strenuous hike, the two-mile out and back Cleetwood Cove Trail works its way down (700 ft.) the wall of the caldera through a series of switchbacks until in ends at the rocky shoreline of Crater Lake. The trailhead is located along East Rim Drive. A large parking lot sits directly across from the trailhead. Even in July though, the water is still cold. I just soaked my feet in it once I got down to the bottom, but there were some adventurous swimmers enjoying themselves. Although I didn’t do it, there are boat tours available during the summer months from here, taking visitors to Wizard Island, the 763-foot cinder cone created when Crater Lake first filled with water after the volcano collapsed.
Be sure to also make some time to enjoy the majesty of the entire lake by doing the 33-mile scenic rim drive. There are various viewpoints where you can park along the way and it’s not so long of a drive where you feel like you have to rush to get around the lake. You can drive at your own pace, relax, and enjoy.
I’m so glad that Mount Mazama, a 12,000-foot-tall volcano, erupted and collapsed approximately 7,700 years ago forming crater lake. This is certainly a treasure of the national parks system and if blue is your favorite color and you haven’t been yet, you’re in for a true blue treat!