7 THINGS TO DO AT CRATER LAKE
Crater Lake has many activities to take advantage of, other than just observing the lake. If you want to immerse yourself in the full experience, you will want to know some of the best things to see. So let’s cover what we consider 10 of the best things to do at Crater Lake.
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #1: Boat Tour
The boat tour is one of the top things to do at Crater Lake, mainly for people who are in peak physical condition. We say this because of the hike down to the lake. But while on this boat tour, you will see sights that are truly spectacular. There are a few different types of boat tours you can go on. The first is a standard lake cruise that lasts about 2 hours as it sails around the lake. There is an option that goes to Wizard Island which allows for a 45 minute tour while shuttling you over to the island. It allows you anywhere from 3 to 6 hours on the island to explore. The last option is a 75 minute tour that goes counter-clockwise around the perimeter of the lake. Prices range from $37 to $52 per adult, depending on if you choose to go to Wizard Island. While this price may seem a little steep, it is worth every penny. This is something that you definitely want to take advantage of, if you’re in good physical condition.
You will be guided by a Crater Lake National Park Ranger who can answer any questions you have about Crater Lake. There is a lot of things you can learn from the boat tours that you wouldn’t learn otherwise. You can learn about The Old Man of the Lake, for instance, a pictured phenomena that is a strange stump that floats vertically in the water. Be sure to take advantage of this fun thing to do at Crater Lake, as it is an adventure that you won’t quickly forget!
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #2: Drive Rim Drive
Rim Drive is one of the most beautiful drives you can take at Crater Lake. This drive goes around the perimeter of the lake and is 30 miles long. We recommend that you stop at every viewpoint while taking this drive. If you choose not to stop at all, you can complete the drive in an hour. You can make a whole day of this if you choose to stop and enjoy the scenery at each viewpoint. Which is well worth it if you have the time.
For example: some of the viewpoints have higher peaks and places you can hike for excellent views, or others have informational signs that give you ton of geological, ecological, scientific, and historical facts to learn about.
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #3: Visit Wizard Island
As previously mentioned, when you take a boat tour, you have the option to stop at Wizard Island. This is a great thing to do at Crater Lake, as you will get plenty of time to enjoy the island. You will get the choice of spending either 3 or 6 hours on the island. But even these may not be enough to fully enjoy it. You will find that the beauty of this island is pure and untainted by any sort of industrialization. We would recommend taking one of two hikes while on the island. You can either hike to the summit of the island, or you can hike along the edge of the island to Fumarole Bay.
But if you would rather choose to just absorb the beauty of the island, this is a fine choice as well. You will get an up-close view of the lake and its highly reflective water as you soak in the vista. This is a great thing to do as you eat lunch along the water’s edge.
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #4: Swim In Crater Lake’s Water
Wondering what to do at Crater Lake in summer months? For those who want to take in a cool and refreshing experience while on their visit to Crater Lake, we recommend taking a swim in the water. This is something that we recommend doing only in the summer. Why? Well, the water is a cool 55 degrees year round. Which may make you wonder why you should swim in this water in the first place. The simple answer being: because it’s some of the clearest water in the world.
The lake is 1,943 feet at its deepest point. It gets deep very quickly as you enter it, but don’t let that deter you.
There are two locations you can swim out of. The first is out of Cleetwood Cove, the location that the boat tours dock at. The second option would be at Wizard Island. From there, you can swim anywhere around the island. For the truly brave and adventurous, you can dive off of a 15 foot cliff at Cleetwood Cove.
Don’t let the temperature freak you out, as this is a memorable experience that everyone who takes part in ends up loving.
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #5: Camping
This one is perfect for the avid campers and outdoors-person. There are a few options to make note of with this. All of the options are fairly cost effective as well. One of the best things about Crater Lake camping is the activities you will find around you. You can find access to waterfalls or lakes both within the campsites in the park, and the ones outside of the park. There are two main campgrounds you can stay at within Crater Lake National Park. Mazama Campground is a great option for those who want to make a reservation, and it accommodates both RV’s and tents. Lost Creek Campground is the other option and is solely for tent camping and is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Costs for Mazama Campground is between $20-$35 based on tent and RV sizes. Lost Creek Campground keeps prices around $10.
You will also get the opportunity to be completely immersed in the surrounding beauty. Enjoy the sunrise over the mountains in the morning, watch the sunset back over the mountains in the evening, and sleep under the stars.
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #6: Crater Lake Lodge
Whether you’re choosing to stop at Crater Lake Lodge for the historical value or the good eats, this is another top thing to do at Crater Lake. Crater Lake Lodge has origins tracing back to the early 20th century and remains one of the best permanent structures you will find at Crater Lake’s visitor centers. It features some of the most beautiful views of the lake, as well, overlooking the lake at Rim Village. Even though the building was originally opened in 1915, in underwent extensive renovation in 1995, but maintains it’s 1920’s charm and atmosphere. Stopping by, or staying here will give you a great step back in time to the first days of Crater Lake National Park.
There are 71 rooms you can choose to stay in, with prices starting at $205 per night and increasing based on the views you get in each room and the size of the room.
Whether you are planning to stay or just tour the lodge, this is a stop that is well worth it, as you will also find a fantastic place to stop and grab a bite at the dining area in Crater Lake Lodge. There is also access to the Crater Lake patio.
Be sure to stop by and see this historic gem. You won’t regret it.
Thing To Do At Crater Lake #7: Ranger Guided Snowshoe Walks
Looking for things to do at Crater Lake in winter? Well, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These Ranger guided walks are a safe and fun way to explore Crater Lake in the winter. They are only offered on the weekends. This is a great way to get a first-hand look at how Crater Lake handles winter, and your Ranger guide will educate you along the way about Crater Lake. Of things to do at Crater Lake, this is one that very few people can boast having done. Those who have taken part consider it a great way to enjoy the cold months.
Reservations are required in advance, and each walk has limited space of 30 people. The walk takes about 2 hours and covers about a mile of ground.
No previous snowshoe experience is required and snowshoes are provided. So be sure to get yourself signed up for this special winter activity.
Fun Stops And Fun Thrills
While these are only a few of Crater Lake’s wonderful adventures, you will find other great things to do at Crater Lake for all ages and seasons (there’s even a Crater Lake Zipline not far away and a Crater Lake Trolley). Even if you are only able to do one of these amazing adventures, be sure to take advantage of some of the fun to be had at Crater Lake.