The views along the rim of Crater Lake are nothing short of breathtaking. The intense blue color of the pristine water offset by the steep walls of the caldera is truly something to behold. The caldera was formed approximately 7,700 year ago when Mount Mazama collapsed following a major volcanic erupution. The eruption was 42 times greater than that of Mount St. Helens in 1980. The summit of the mountain was approximately 12,000 ft before collapsing and creating what would become the deepest lake in the United States. The highest point along the rim now is Hillman Peak at a mere 8,159 ft. More information about the eruption can be found on the Mount Mazama USGS site.
Hiking trails in Crater Lake National Park are plentiful. Garfield Peak was one of our favorites. The trail head is by Crater Lake Lodge, and stopping by the lodge for a meal after is a great post hike treat. Discovery Point, Plaikni Falls, and Watchman Overlook are also great options. On our most recent trip we rode along Rim Drive, stopping at various hikes and overlooks. The main area around the lake can be done in a long day, but given the remoteness I recommend spending at least one night in the area. Hiking maps and trail descriptions can be found in the Visitor Guide.
We’ve only been in Summer, but would love to check out the area in late Winter or early Spring. The park receives an average of 43 feet of snow annually and stays partially open year round with plenty of snow recreation options. If you’ve been in Winter, any advice on the best snowshoeing trails?