Visiting Crater Lake National Park

Seasons, Fees and Reservations

Crater Lake National Park is open all year, but winter weather affects access and services. The park gets more than 500 inches of snow per year, and road closures are common even as late as June or early July. It’s a good idea to check road conditions before visiting. ¬†Winter provides a lot of opportunity for snow-related recreation, while summer brings a plethora of activity, including scenic boat tours, trolley rides around the rim, and scenic day hikes.

Standard entry to the park costs $10 per car, or $5 per person arriving on foot, bike or motorcycle. Recommendations are strongly recommended for guests who wish to stay at the Crater Lake Lodge or Mazama Village cabins.

Rim Drive Highlights

Crater Lake's Pumice Castle zoomed

Visitors that choose to drive (or bike) the Rim Drive should be on the lookout for several neat natural features that grace its circumference and turnouts. Take a short detour from the trail to check out the the Pinnacles, 100-foot spires of rock that are being eroded from the crater wall. Each spire is a “fossil fumarole” that marks a spot where volcanic gasses once escaped from the caldera. Stop at a pullout about a mile west of the Cloudcap Overlook to catch a glimpse of the Pumice Castle, an oft-missed orange rock formation that looks like a medieval castle. Keep your eyes peeled for nearby waterfalls in the spring and summer.

Old Man of the Lake

The Old Man of the Lake is a 30-foot tall hemlock stump that has been floating upright in Crater Lake for at least 100 years. What’s more, this peculiar phenomenon moves around the lake with the wind and the waves. Look for it on a boat tour — it could be anywhere!

Ranger Programs and Educational Exhibits

Crater Lake National Park offers a variety of fun, educational ranger-led programs that provide visitors with expert perspective on the park’s natural and cultural history. Winter is a great time for ranger-led snowshoe walks, which focus on winter ecology. Summertime programs include boat tours on Crater Lake and trolley tours around the rim — both guided. Reservations are recommended for all programs.

Folks looking for further enrichment are welcome to check out historic exhibits at Crater Lake Lodge, which itself is on the National Register of Historic Places. Educational films and exhibits on geology and lake research can be found at the lake’s visitor centers and adjoining sites.