Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park celebrates and preserves a VERY large lake that sits in the caldera of a volcano. The water is an amazing blue color. The lake is the deepest lake in the USA.
When you first see Crater Lake, you will say "WOW." Then you will begin to notice other features on and near the lake. There is a rim drive that goes around the rim of the crater, and lets you see the lake from many different perspectives and heights. We have visited it several times, and the first view, each time, is WOW.
The picture above is probably the most famous view as you see Wizard Island from the rim. The lake is about 1000 feet below you at Rim Visitor Center. Wizard Island's peak is about 800 feet above the lake, or 200 feet below you. The island is really small compared to the entire lake, which you can appreciate if you view it from across the lake at somewhere like Cloudcap Overlook.
As you drive around the rim, you can stop at many view points. One we like is just down the road from the Rim Visitor Center, Discovery Point. There is a lot of wildlife activity there, such as birds and of course, chipmunks who would love you to feed them, but we don't as it really isn't good for them. The jays perch in the trees just off the point, but the side of the lake is so steep that there is no way for you to get very close to them.
If you have the time and can walk down 1000 feet on a steep trail to the boat launch, you can take a boat ride to Wizard Island or just a ride around the lake. But remember that you must walk back up that trail to get back to your car. Fun but challenging. On this trip, in mid July, we tried to do that but they were just starting the boat rides as the rim drive had just opened, as the weather keeps them from opening the rim drive until they can clear the snow and repair the road for the rather short summer season.
There are other things to see around the rim drive. In addition to the many varied views of the lake, you can see Vidae Falls right by the road, and it is a mile or so hike to Plaikni Falls, which is on the road to the Pinnacles, which are columns of rock left after the ground around them had eroded away.
There are only a few places to stay in Crater Lake. On this trip, we booked a room in the Crater Lake Lodge with a lake view. The lodge is right on the crater rim. The porch has rocking chairs so you can enjoy the view while you enjoy some food or drinks. The restaurant in the lodge is quite good, although not as good as it was the last time we stayed in the lodge 10 years ago.
You can also stay in the campground or in one of the cottages in Mazama Village, but those locations don't have the fabulous lake view.
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Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.