I always wanted to go to Crater Lake National Park, I’m not sure why. I think I saw a picture once and the blue water intrigued me. We were so close to it driving down the Oregon coast that I just had to squeeze it in.
And so in Reedsport we left the now beloved coast and headed east. We took the breathtaking Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway getting there. Also known as the Highway of Waterfalls, it climbs through the Cascades along a couple stunning rivers towards Diamond Lake and Crater Lake. We hit three of the waterfalls each involving less than a 2 mile hike. The quiet of national forest, mountains all around, and waterfalls all made for a phenomenal day. It was warm and sunny, the hikes short but steep.
There weren’t any rooms available at Crater Lake by the time we decided to take this trip, so I found lodging at Diamond Lake Resort 10 miles north. The resort was built in the ’20’s and reminded me a little of the resort in Dirty Dancing, but with no Patrick Swayze in sight. A summer like resort on a stunning clear lake in the mountains. Families were picnicking on the lawn, fishing, vacationing. But the accommodations were, well, a bit dated. Our tiny motel room was circa 1940’s with dark brown paneling, a tiny brown formica table and an ancient window unit. The reviews on TripAdvisor frequented the phrase “blast from the past” with good reason. But, it was a cheap room in a beautiful valley just miles from Crater Lake. So…
The next day dawned sunny and clear, and our only agenda was to enjoy Crater Lake. Crater Lake was formed ~7500 years ago when a volcano collapsed and left this caldera lake. It is the deepest lake in the US at nearly 2000 feet deep. It has no rivers flowing into or out of it and so the crystal clear water is an incredible, almost unrealistic blue color. It’s stunning really, as the brilliant blue is surrounded by sheer cliffs 2000 feet high all around.
We drove most of the 33 mile Crater Lake Rim drive, which circles the lake from high above the rim. With stunning views, plenty of pull outs, and dozens of chipmunks we spent the day enjoying the national park. Not a bad way to spend a day. We drove out to Medford that evening leaving one of America’s natural wonders behind.