We had an awesome day at Crater Lake National Park, enjoyed the amazing views, a great hike down to the water and a relaxing evening back at camp.
What a nice day. The weather was great, and warmer than the other days, so I just had a T-shirt on. Everyone woke up by 8am. We had breakfast, did our things, changed and were all ready to leave by 9am, and left just after that. Carol had some fruit cut in containers and some sandwiches for the day. We headed out to Crater Lake National Park.
The drive is about one and a half hours, very easy drive. The first part of the drive is going through a lot of Forests, Parks, and small towns, with the scenery being similar. Mountains in the back, lots of pine trees, and the drive is mainly flat. When we get close to Crater Lake, the trees get bigger and packed closer together, and the last stretch of road is like someone took an electric shaver through the forest and opened the road there. Very thick forest, lots of big pine trees and more hills and mountains.
We used our National Parks Annual pass to get in, so we didn’t have to pay again. I’ll say this again, best $80 I ever spent was this pass. You get to see some amazing parks as many times as you want, and in the entire country. In comparison, I spent $18 bucks at the Idaho Potato Museum and we were there for just about an hour. Do the math 🙂
Once you are in, you take the rim road, and just need to decide if you go left or right. We went right, just because, and it worked well for one reason and not so well for another. It worked not so well because sometimes Carol wants to record from her window, and because we went right, the Lake was on my side, so not a good spot for her to take pictures or make movies. So, if you’ll be doing videos a lot while in the car, go left. It worked well for us though because the only trail we wanted to do was very close to the entrance we took, but to the left, so we would have gotten there right away when we arrived, and doing the trail right away would have gotten the girls tired and moody for the rest of the day. It worked best for us to go right, drive along and see all the stops, then at the tail end do the trail, and leave.
Anyway, just as we turned right within like 2 minutes you get to a lookout and baaammm!! Wow… Wow is the reaction from everyone in the car. What a magnificent view. As expected, you see this bowl formed by the Volcano, and a lake right inside it. The size is what makes it so impressive. At its longest distance from one side to the other, it’s 6 miles long (the lake). This is the deepest lake in the US, and the 9th deepest lake in the world. It was formed when a huge volcano collapsed, and snow melted inside it to form the lake. The volcano would have been the tallest one around, and the depth of the lake shows how large it would have been. At its deepest spot, the lake is about 1950 feet deep.
We drove around the rim, stopping for pictures here and there. Enjoying the amazing views. Lots of different rocks around, Pomis, etc. Lots of trees, some areas with huge trees, some smaller. There is an island in the lake, in one of the sides, and a smaller rock formation on the other that they call the ghost ship.
We stopped at the Village to see if they had anything to eat, so we could get food there, and save what we brought for later. They did have some stuff, so we got soups for the ladies, pulled pork for me, and two beers for Carol and I. The girls had flavored waters. We got the food, and found a place to sit near the rim wall, so we could eat, relax and enjoy the beautiful view. That was really nice.
As we continued the rim road ride from there, it felt like the road went back down the side of the mountain, and we had to re-enter the rim road east, and then go up again. That side was very nice and different, we could see more mountains way back, and another lake. The side of the mountain we were in had some pomis rock, and we stopped at one point as Carol wanted to check it out closer. The whole rim road ride is pretty much the same, beautiful views of Crater Lake, from different points, which expose different details. Since the day was beautiful, sunny, no clouds, you also get different reflections of light in the water, and trees.
It took us around 3 hours to make the entire loop around, and that’s when we got to the trail we wanted. The trail is called Cleetwood Cove Trail, and it is the only trail that gets to the water, it is 2.2 miles round trip, with a 700ft elevation gain on the way back.
So, going down is not bad, but coming back was quite a workout. This is a beautiful trail, right on the side of the mountain (or volcano), lots of huge trees, rocks, open areas, tree covered areas, just amazing.
And with each turn, you get lower and the views are different and amazing.
It took us about 30 minutes to make our way down. The girls and I were I front, and Carol was a minute or so behind. As we were really close to the water, the terrain was very steep and with lots of small stones, Bia was going a bit too fast and slipped and fell on her butt. Ouch. Fell on a rock too. She cried a little, I brushed her off, held her hand and we got to the water in another minute.
Once there, there is no easy access to the water, like sand or anything, it is big rocks you need to climb or walk over to get closer to the water. And since the girls love climbing over rocks, they picked a spot that required some climbing and was not that close, but it was super fun to get there. We found and got to our spot, no accidents reported :).
Everyone touched the water, which was super cold, and then decided to put our feet in the water. Shoes off, feet in water… lasted like a few seconds each time, the water was super cold.
We just hung out there for a while, enjoying the sun and the views. Really, Carol and Bella even found a rock to lay down.
There were other people just laying down and enjoying the sun as well, it was warmer down there.
We had a good time by the water and enjoyed ourselves, I think we stayed down there for maybe 45 minutes. Then, we all put our shoes back and started heading back up.
Views were stunning. And it was not easy to go 1.1 miles uphill with a gain of 700ft of elevation, but we made it with no major complaints from anyone, it felt great actually.
Girls are doing awesome with hikes now as long as we keep them busy talking about stuff so they don’t have time to complain about anything :). I asked them how they liked this trail and park and they both said they loved it.
And that was the last of our visit to Crater Lake National Park, super enjoyable day, awesome scenery and good times.
We drove back, and Carol and I made pizza in the grill (she still needs to post the how to video), while I grilled outside Carol did some laundry, and the girls were playing. They had their masks on and were playing with the girl next door, who also had her mask on. I’m proud of our girls for really being so conscious about wearing their masks and being safe. They don’t even leave the camp site for anything without their masks, always ride their bikes with their masks along and same for the playground, and as soon as anyone is near, they put them on.
They hit it off with Gia (Georgia) from next door, and were playing for a while. The girls parents put a very large camping mat on the floor and the girls were sitting on opposite ends. They talked, they played, they ate dinner, and were there for a good 3-4 hours. When it was shower time the girls came in, we cleaned up, watched many episodes of Schitts Creek together and went to bed. Long day, and super cool.