15 Minutes in Crater Lake National Park

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I recently made a trip to Bend, OR to take care of some business. One of the 4 glorious days there, I decided to take a drive to Crater Lake National Park, roughly 2.0 hours away. It was a beautiful, crisp fall day, the skies were dark blue, sun was blazing – PERFECTION.

Crater Lake was formed 7,700 years ago when a volcano erupted and collapsed. It is also the deepest lake in the US, 9th in the world. Because the only source of water for the lake is snow and rain, it is also one of the most clear lakes in the world. The dark blue color of the water is outrageous.

I made it to the park entrance and started the 33-miles (53-km) mile loop around the crater. As I started to ascend the narrow, winding road, the wind picked up. So much so, my gigantic rental SUV was literally ALL over the road, including the other lane. There are no shoulders, so steep drop-offs were within inches. Terror sank in.

At times, the curve of the road felt so tight with oncoming traffic, I just stopped the car to catch my breath. Thankfully, the attendance in the park was low that day.

I INCHED my way up to the visitor center, hoping the wind would die down and a hike would be in order. NOPE, didn’t happen. It was so windy, I thought my phone was going to blow out of my hands. However, I did manage to get this iconic snap of the lake. After 15 minutes and a hotdog, I turned around and headed back to Bend. Shortest National Park visit in history! (Thank goodness for yearly passes)

Crater Lake is a STUNNER. I do plan on going back to visit – for camping and some pretty amazing hiking opportunities. At this point, not sure how I will get around that lake – Sean’s driving terrifies me too!

Maybe I will just do the Ride the Rim (on a bike) event they have every year. Better get my butt in shape.

…i choose this…

Pam

66 comments

    1. I had to look that trail up – wowza – super gorgeous. Can’t wait to see the pics from that adventure!!! Yeah, the wind was NUTS. It would be miserable to be backpacking in it. Hope ya had a good Thanksgiving :-).

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  1. Wow, I can’t imagine driving an SUV on some of those mountainous national park roads, especially in a high wind. We had Crater Lake on our itinerary for our autumn trip in October, but the wildfires were nearby. We opted to save that visit for another day.

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    1. Right?? My car is a subie, so Iโ€™m used to a much smaller ride. Probably a good choice for yโ€™all to go back another time. I think youโ€™ll really enjoy it. Just be careful on the road. Iโ€™ll be curious to know what you think!

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  2. Crater Lake is indeed a Stunner! We were there 4 years ago. It was supposed to be a clear, sunny day but instead we were engulfed in mist & 20′ walls of plowed snow. Puts a whole different take on Stunner. The next week we viewed it from our plane on the way to to the airport. It is not to be missed!

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          1. Well I’d love to have you here! I’ll be posting my very unpopular posts about the demonstrating in London. Surprise, surprise none of us are sick and we’ve been marching in our thousands without any masks. Nobody sick and all of us happy. Well except of course the police brutality has been unprecedented

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  3. The photo seems to be worth the terror! I would have freaked also; driving high profile vehicles in heavy winds is something I specialize in (accidentally!), and I’m terrified every time. Add in the elevation and the lack of guardrails, and I might have been whining like a big baby the whole time.

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  4. One of our greatest regrets about a trip to Oregon was that we didn’t have time to drive down to Crater Lake. Every picture of that bright blue water makes me sad that we didn’t cancel work or whatever we were doing at the time to see this. Thanks for this photo and post.

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  5. Ride the Rim sounds perfect for you! and you wouldn’t have to worry about driving in the wind of trusting Sean’s skills… ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Splendid shot !
    Can’t wait for you to go back and take more drooling pictures of this stunning place !
    xoxoxo

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  6. Guess what my long-standing least favorite weather feature is? WInd! Sorry it shortened your trip, but at least Crater Lake’ll be on your doorstep soon!

    Ooh, Ride the Rim. Never heard of it but I just looked it up. I’m doing that someday!

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  7. I’m clenching my jaw (and perhaps other things) just reading this. Even without the wind, I can attest to the sheer terror of that drive and will NEVER do it again. But dang, it really is one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. I think they do snowshoeing trips up there, too! (Side note: none of the “real” trails allow dogs; another bummer that I didn’t realize until I got there.)

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    1. Oh yeah, good to know on the dog thing. Glad (and sad) you can attest to the situation!! I felt like a lunatic every time I stopped the car in the middle of the road. My hands hurt the next day, thanks to the death grip. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

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  8. Crater Lake looks stunning. I would NOT like a windy day! We drove through the Nantahala Forest once with wind and fog so thick you could barely see in front of you. Not so much fun. Eek.

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    1. I tense up at the thought of not being able to see in front of you while driving!!!! I haven’t heard of that Forest, I’ll have to look it up! That happened to me once in New Zealand on a logging road. Big trucks passing me by (alone, driving on the opposite side of the road) The next day, I realized a GIANT Lake was to the left of the car…Eek a mundo.

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