Camping in Crater Lake National Park
| February 2, 2017 |
On October 1st, I finally found someone who was willing to drive the 6-hour trek to Crater Lake National Park. The 6 hours actually turned into 8 hours due to lack of map-following and enthusiastic lyric-singing. Luckily, the detour led us down roads that may not have been discovered if we went the right way… and the music kept our spirits high. We drove through open plains, thick forests, and mountain-dotted landscapes before arriving at Crater Lake. As the sun began to set, we pulled up an incline, and finally saw the lake. My friend basically ran out of the car while it was in motion to run to the rim of the lake. With the sky glowing a pink/orange hue, the deep blue of the 1,934-deep lake was impressive to say the least.
Crater Lake also pulled a little disappearing act this weekend… Read on for more…
One of my absolute favorite sections of the drive to Crater Lake National Park was a few miles before the entrance. The road changed from deeply forested to an open plain, and I couldn’t help but pull over and admire the landscapes. The golden light shone upon our faces, and we soaked it all in…
As we drove into the park, we didn’t know when the lake would appear. Based on the maps, we’d keep climbing for a while before getting to the lake. We just wanted to reach its rim before the sun set.
Oh my were we lucky.
The sun was setting.
The sky was fiery.
The lake, the mountains, the clouds. They all danced for us.
Nothing could really compare to this sight. I thought Diablo Lake was impressive? I professed my “love” to Diablo Lake? Well… I started realizing all mountains and all of Mother Nature is simply alive. It’s all alive and emanating with a deeply vibrational energy. I felt similar energization to how I felt standing before Diablo Lake as I stood on the rim of Crater Lake.
Do you feel this energy?
To me, it started feeling unavoidably empowering.
ALL mountains are alive.
I am alive.
We ran around the lake, getting the last look before the sky turned to gray…
We did some planning ahead, I promise. I kind of looked at a map (fail). I reserved a campground (win). And we picked up some food (ceviche plans: fail). And tequila (win).
The best combination of aforementioned wins/fails? Fish cooked in tequila. Big win.
I guess, in some cases, spontaneity has its logistical drawbacks. Yet, something so profoundly beautiful comes out of the unplanned adventure. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyways? Wandering into the unknown? Embracing all there is to offer?
Well, here’s the logistics I did and didn’t pay attention to. In that order. Maybe you’ll be wiser when you go…
I reserved a campsite at Mazama Campground the morning of planned arrival. This is “planning ahead,” I’d say. We checked into the campground after absorbing the sunset over Crater Lake.
Well, I’ve certainly realized weather is not entirely predictable in the Pacific Northwest (more on that in a jiffy). We awoke on Sunday morning with droplets on the roof of the tent. It was calming and comforting, like watching raindrops on the window on an overcast day. I pictured the gentle drizzle outside, but when I zipped open the tent, my eyes were presented with a white precipitation. It had gently snowed on the tent, and was continuing to flurry as we awoke. Our Mazama campground was dusted with the magic of snowfall, and I guess you can say it was my official first snow camping adventure?
Basically… There are two options for camping in Crater Lake National Park. The following information was found on NPS’s website here:
Mazama Campground (214 sites) is located 7 miles south of Rim Village near Highway 62. In 2016, it will be open from June 3 through October 9. All sites in June are first-come, first-served. After June, 75% of the campsites are reservable in advance by calling 888-774-2728 or online. The remaining 25% are first-come, first-served. In July and August, the campground usually fills up, typically by late afternoon.
The campground offers tent sites ($22 per night) and RV sites ($31). A few of the RV sites have electric hookups ($35). A water hookup is available at the dump station. There are many pull-through sites; some can accommodate RVs as long as 50 feet. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and food locker. Black bears are rarely seen, but campers are advised to store all food in their locker or vehicle. The campground has drinking water, flush toilets, showers, and laundry facilities. A general store sells groceries, firewood, and gasoline.
You can call Mazama Campground directly during the summer at 541-594-2255 ext. 3610. It is operated by the park’s concessioner, Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
Lost Creek Campground (16 sites) is a small, tents-only campground on the road to Pinnacles Overlook. Sites are $10 per night. It usually opens in early July and closes in mid-October. Registration is self-service, and reservations are not taken. In July and August, it typically fills by mid-afternoon. It has drinking water, sinks, and flush toilets. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and food locker. Payment can be made by check or exact cash. Lost Creek Campground is operated by the National Park Service.
A good idea before traveling to Crater Lake is to check the current conditions here. Because of the *surprise* snow storm, Crater Lake was completely engulfed in fog and snow on the second day at the park. Due to these conditions, hiking was out of the question (no snowshoes or microspikes were brought on this trip), and we didn’t bother to drive the 33 miles around the rim. From mid-October to mid-June, the build up of snow and ice disable vehicles from entering the rim’s north entrance.
Where did you go, Crater Lake?
With the day being cut short, we opted to head into Bend, Oregon, and enjoy a beer at Deschutes Brewery. Not a bad weekend turnout, I’d say.
What would I do next time?
The same thing.
Everything happens as it should.
(Okay, maybe I’d check the weather. But that’s besides the point.)
Happy adventuring, Fellow Dreamers.