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Grand Canyon NP
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Crater Lake is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
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.
Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption.
The lake is 1,943 feet (592 m) deep at its deepest point, which makes it the Deepest Lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the ninth deepest in the world.
Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper.
Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park is the fifth oldest national park in the United States and the only one in the state of Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of Crater Lake, a remnant of a destroyed volcano, Mount Mazama, and the surrounding hills and forests.
Discover Crater Lake's natural wonders when you explore to a scenic backdrop of amazing urban, wilderness, mountain, islands and coastal terrain.
Find many exciting high wilderness adventures opportunities for rock climbing, mountaineering, boating, camping, hiking, weekend retreats and more.
Noteworthy Park Features:
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: a 2,650-mile long distance hiking and equestrian trail that stretches from the Mexican to Canadian borders, passes through the park.
- The Pumice Desert: A very thick layer of pumice and ash leading away from Mazama in a northerly direction. Even after thousands of years, this area is largely devoid of plants due to excessive porosity (meaning water drains through quickly) and poor soil composed primarily of regolith.
- The Pinnacles: When the very hot ash and pumice came to rest near the volcano, it formed 200-to-300-foot (60 to 90 m) thick gas-charged deposits. For perhaps years afterward, hot gas moved to the surface and slowly cemented ash and pumice together in channels and escaped through fumaroles. Erosion later removed most of the surrounding loose ash and pumice, leaving tall pinnacles and spires.
- Mount Scott: Highest point in the park (8982 Ft). This steep andesitic cone whose lava came from magma from Mazama's magma chamber; geologists call such volcano a parasitic or satellite cone. Volcanic eruptions apparently ceased on Scott sometime before the end of the Pleistocene; one remaining large cirque on Scott's northwest side was left unmodified by post-ice age volcanism.
- Union Peak: In the southwest corner of the park stands Union Peak, an extinct volcano whose primary remains consist of a large volcanic plug, which is lava that solidified in the volcano's neck.
- Crater Peak: This shield volcano primarily made of andesite and basalt lava flows topped by andesitic and dacite tephra.
- Timber Crater: This shield volcano located in the northeast corner of the park. Like Crater Peak, it is made of basaltic and andesitic lava flows, but, unlike Crater, it is topped by two cinder cones.
- Rim Drive: The most popular road in the park; it follows a scenic route around the caldera rim.
- Llao Rock: Located on the north side rising 1,800 feet above the lake, with a 1.3-mile trail from Rim Drive leading to the summit.
- Old-Growth Forests: Vast stretches of woodlands covering nearly 50,000 acres.
Popular Park Activities:
- Hiking Trails: There are many hiking trails inside the park, and several campgrounds. All lake access for people is from Cleetwood Trail, a steep walking trail, and there are no roads for cars, trucks, or wagons that lead to the waterfront.
- Mount Scott Trail: Fairly steep 2.5 mile trail to the highest point in the park. On a clear day visibility from the summit exceeds 100 miles, and one can, in a single view, take in the entire caldera. Also visible from this point are the white-peaked Cascade Range volcanoes to the north, the Columbia River Plateau to the east, and also the Western Cascades and the more-distant Klamath Mountains to the west.
- Fishing: Unlicensed fishing is allowed without any limitation of size, species, or number. The lake is believed to have no indigenous fish, but several species of fish were introduced beginning in 1888 until all fish stocking ended in 1941. Kokanee Salmon and Rainbow Trout now thrive and reproduce here naturally.
- Swimming: Swimming is allowed in the lake.
- Boat Tours: With stops at Wizard Island, a cinder cone inside the lake, operate daily during the summer. All of the boats in the lake were delivered by helicopter.
- Rim Drive Vehicle Tour: Numerous observation points along the caldera rim for the lake are readily accessible by automobile via the "Rim Drive", which is 33 miles long and has an elevation gain of 3,800 feet. This route is normally open only from June to October.
Park Winter Conditions:
Rim Drive and North Entrance Road are CLOSED for the season. Highway 62 through the park and the road to Rim Village are usually open.
Please use caution as snowy and icy road conditions may occur at anytime, and be aware that temporary road closures are sometimes necessary.
Science and Learning Center:
Millions of Americans have gazed on the sublime beauty of Crater Lake. But few realize that under this beautiful veneer lies an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom; a place that draws scientists, teachers and students to investigate, instruct and learn from and about our natural world. From scenery to science and education, the Park's value to society is expanding.
Crater Lake Science and Learning Center is for the scientist, teacher, student and artist. We welcome them here to lend their talents, share their discoveries, and teach the lessons that will inspire the next generation to explore deeper, learn more and enrich us all.
U.S. National Park Service
P.O. Box 7, Crater Lake, Oregon 97604; 541-594-3000
Detail Park Map
Outdoor Trek Guide
Based on experiences of millions of Scouts and leaders, this book holds essential information for every outdoor enthusiast. A comprehensive reference, this handbook includes sections on trek, preparation and adventures, appreciating our environment, and more.