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    Crater Lake National Park

    Road Trip Destination: Crater Lake

    Crate Lake National Park north entrance sign located at entrance to the park

    “Crater Lake is one of the great natural wonders of this continent.”

    Gifford Pinched, Advisor to President Theodore Roosevelt on matters of conservation and public lands, 1902 Tweet
    Where Deep Waters Meet Mountain Tops

    Crater Lake National Park is nothing short of awe-inspiring to those lucky enough to behold its grandeur. Its startlingly blue waters and pristine backdrop among the Cascade Mountain Range make this one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and travelers from all corners of the globe come to experience its astounding views. Being only two hours (102 miles) south of Bend, Crater Lake is the ideal destination for any Oregon road-tripper.

    Happy Campers is here to help inspire your next National Park adventure by highlighting this incredible location and all that it has to offer! Discover a little about the history of Crater Lake, nearby places to camp, some of the top activities in the area, and so much more!

    Five Facts About Crater Lake National Park

    Table of Contents

    Klamath County Covid-19 Travel Restrictions

    Although living through the current pandemic is no longer necessarily new, it can still be extremely challenging to plan a road trip when Covid-19 regulations vary widely from county to county. Are restaurants allowing indoor dining? Are there specific gathering restrictions? 

    We at Happy Campers RV Rentals want to help prepare you and your loved ones to be as safe as possible on your Crater Lake adventure. We’ve gone ahead and researched all applicable travel restrictions, so you can feel secure in your travels and have a successful vacation while cruising through Klamath County!  

    The state of Oregon is currently (4/13/21) following a framework that assesses Covid restrictions depending on the number of Covid-19 cases in each county. As it now stands, Klamath County is rated “High Risk.” 

      

    Travelers should anticipate:

    • Indoor dining is allowed and limited to 25% capacity 
    • Outdoor dining is allowed and limited to no more than 75 people maximum
    • Both indoor and outdoor dining are limited to no more than 6 people per party
    • Hiking and camping are open and allowed
      • It is recommended to check trails and campsites ahead of time for potential individual closures  
    • Indoor and outdoor shopping malls are operating at 50% occupancy 
    • Gyms and indoor entertainment establishments are open and limited to 25% occupancy 
    • Outdoor entertainment establishments are open and limited to 15% occupancy 
    • Social indoor gathering sizes limited to 6 people 
    • Social outdoor gathering sizes limited to 8 people  

    All travelers should note that it is still greatly encouraged to wear a mask or face-covering when entering any indoor establishment or in crowded outdoor areas. Businesses reserve the right to withhold services if the proper face coverings are not utilized at the appropriate times.

    It is more important than ever to be a well-informed traveler and to be fully aware of any regulations regarding your destination. That being said, we can’t think of a better place to spend your vacation! With the vastness of the Cascade Mountain Range stretching before you, there will be no end to the safely distanced outdoor activities you can find.

    Top 5 RV Campgrounds Near Crater Lake

    Have you ever picked a dream vacation destination but can’t seem to find an Airbnb close enough to enjoy it to the fullest? One of the greatest advantages of renting an RV for your travels is being able to set up shop close to your natural destinations, making it easy to roll out of bed and start your adventures with minimal between travel! 

    While Crater Lake itself is circled by large swaths of mountain forestry, there are still plenty of RV parks and campgrounds to choose from in the surrounding area. We at Happy Campers have done the research and have compiled a list of the highest-rated parks and campgrounds so you can easily pick where to park your home away from home! 

    *This information was pulled from Google Reviews in April 2021.

    337 Google Reviews
    4.5/5
     
    • Phone: (541) 381-2349
    • Location: 50711 OR-62, Fort Klamath, OR 97626
      10mins (8.4 mi) away from Crater Lake
    • Price:
      $50/ night – Partial hookup
      $60/ night – Partial hookup
    • Amenities:
      • Grassed RV sites
      • 30 amp power 
      • Picnic tables available
      • Fire pits available 
      • Full restroom services 
      • Free internet connection
    198 Google Reviews
    4.5/5
     
    • Phone: (541) 560-3399
    • Location: 46611 OR-62, Prospect, OR 97536
      24 mins (20 mi) away from Crater Lake 
    • Price: 
      1 night – $40/ night
      2+ nights – $35/ night
      1 week – $30/ night
      2 weeks – $26/ night
      3 weeks – $21/ night 
    • Amenities:
      • Fire pits available
      • Pets Allowed
      • Park forest trail accessibility 
      • Internet access
      • Television access
      • Camp movie library
    192 Google Reviews
    4.4/5

     

    • Phone: (541) 783-2738
    • Location: 200 Williamson River Dr, Chiloquin, OR 97624
      25 mins (23 mi) away from Crater Lake
    • Price: 
      $25/ night – 30/50 amp and water site
      $42/ night – full hookup site
    • Amenities:
      • Dump station 
      • Picnic tables available
      • Fire pits available
      • Boat ramp and docks 
      • Newly remodeled restrooms and showers
      • Laundry facilities
      • Riverfront camping
    210 Google Reviews
    3.9/5
    • Phone: (541) 594-2255 
    • Location: Crater Lake National Park, 569 Mazama Village Dr, OR 97604
      16 mins (8.3 mi) away from Crater Lake 
    • Price:
      $31/night – No hookups
      $36/night – Electricity 
      $42/night – Full hookups
    • Amenities:
      • Full restrooms
      • Potable water 
      • Gas station
      • Food storage lockers
      • Dump station
      • First-come, first-served through June 
      • Reservations can be made for July, August, & September
    89 Google Reviews
    3.5/5
    • Phone: 541-416-6500
    • Location: 3500 Diamond Lake Loop, Diamond Lake, OR 97731
      1hr 37 mins (60 mi) away from Crater Lake due to North entrance closures
    • Price:
      $50/ night – 50 amp full hookup site
      $47/ night – 30 amp full hookup site
    • Amenities:
      • 110 full hookup sites 
      • 30 and 50 amp power 
      • Full restroom services 
      • Laundry facilities
      • Pets allowed 
      • Fire pits available
      • Picnic tables available
    Crater Lake National Park, view of Crater Lake at sunset

    5 Activities You Can't Miss at Crater Lake National Park

    Established in 1902, Crater Lake is the fifth oldest National Park in the United States as well as the only National Park in the state of Oregon, making it one of the most sought-after scenic destinations in the country. Every year over half a million nature enthusiasts are drawn to the majesty of Crater Lake’s crystal blue waters and rugged backcountry, as well as the variety of activities available to every walk of life. 

    Dive into the details of ways you can interact with this astonishing space! From family tours to endless hiking trails, Crater Lake promises experiences you won’t soon forget. Read on for our top 5 activities you won’t want to miss at Crater Lake National Park!

    Travelers Note: Following the guidance from the CDC and other public health authorities, there are currently no ranger programs being offered at Crater Lake at this time. To gain a full understanding of which services and park facilities are available, please visit the Crater Lake Current Conditions page on the National Park Service website.

    Crater Lake Rim Road drive

    This historic drive around the perimeter of the caldera is perhaps one of the best ways to absorb the full greatness of Crater Lake National Park. 33 miles (53km) of paved road lead you around the rim and boast 30 different scenic lookout points, where you can pull over and gaze upon Crater Lake from every angle. The care that went into the design of the road is apparent to any traveler, as the shape of the road itself was purposefully crafted to complement the natural landscape.

     

    Not only does the Scenic Rim Drive carry you along a course of breathtaking lookout points (none of which should be missed) but you will also find yourself passing five picnic areas, hikes of various difficulty, unique geological formations, and several waterfalls! It is recommended to allow at least two hours (longer if you have a tow vehicle) to complete the Scenic Rim Drive, including time for lookout points and picnicking. However, this can easily become a day-long exploration!

    You can access the Rim Drive from the north at North Junction, and from Rim Village or Steel Visitor Center.

    Travelers Note: The best time of year to gain access to the Scenic Rim Drive is between July and October. Snowfall, rockfall, and other natural occurrences can subjugate this road to partial closures.
    The North Entrance and most of the Scenic Rim Drive are currently inaccessible due to winter road closures. To check on the status of road closures, please click here.

    Hiking is undoubtedly one of the top experiences offered by Crater Lake. Here, visitors can find over 20 different trails of varying degrees of difficulty as well as a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. We at Happy Campers have compiled a hiker’s quick guide with three highlighted trails, but invite travelers to access the entire list of hikes offered at Crater Lake via this comprehensive trail list!

    Crater Lake National Park charges a visitors fee for those wishing to access the park. Travelers should be prepared to pay Crater Lake’s entrance fee if desiring to access the following hiking trails.

    Easy Hike – Plaikni Falls

    This 2.0 mile (60 minutes) hike is a heavily trafficked out and back trail that features dazzling Plaikni Falls and is easily accessible to all skill levels. The best time of year to use this trail is between March and October.

    Moderate Hike – Annie Creek Canyon

    This 2.1 mile (90 minutes) hike is a lightly trafficked loop trail through a deep canyon, which features cascading wildflower fields and lots of water via rivers, streams, and small falls. This trail is rated as moderate and is best accessed from July through September.

    Annie Creek Canyon Trail
    View from Mount Scott at Crater Lake National Park Oregon

    Strenuous Hike – Mount Scott

    This 4.2 mile (3 hour) hike is a heavily trafficked out and back trail that carries you to the highest peak in all of Crater Lake, offering phenomenal views of the lake below. This trail is excellent for bird watching and wildlife viewing, and glimpses of thriving wildflowers. Mount Scott Trail has an elevation gain of 1,259 and is rated as strenuous.

    Crater Lake Lodge is one of six primary buildings located in the historically significant district of Rim Village. Crater Lake Lodge was built in 1909 along the edge of the caldera, approximately 1,000 feet above the lake’s surface, and offers spectacular views for lodge guests and visitors alike. The lodge is most commonly open between mid-May to early October and has 71 rooms that can be reserved in advance for anyone wishing for a more extended stay in Crater Lake National Park. The lodge also boasts a dining room offering three meals a day as well as a lounge area for relaxation, drinks, and games!

    Photo of Crater Lake Lodge by Matthew Staver
    Crater Lake Lodge: Photo by ©Matthew Staver

    Travelers Note: Happy Campers RV Rentals greatly encourages travelers who are interested in lodging or dining at the Crater Lake Lodge to make reservations well in advance, as it is a popular destination. Reservations for lodging can be made online or by calling (866) 292-6720. Reservations for dinner in the dining room can be made by calling (541) 594-2255.

    Fishing Crater Lake

    Have you ever imagined yourself fishing out of an ancient collapsed volcano? How does that sound for a bucket list item!? Crater Lake plays host to two species of artificially introduced fish: Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. Because these fish populations are not native to Crater Lake, visitors are encouraged to fish all they want, without the need of a permit or a limit to the number of fish you can bring home with you! Weather permitting, travelers can fish along the shoreline at any time. The shore is accessed at the end of the 2.1 mile Cleetwood trail.

     

    Travelers Note: While there are no permits or daily limits enforced for fishing Crater Lake, visitors are required to use artificial bait to avoid introducing foreign species to the lake’s ecosystem.

    Cleetwood Trail is currently closed due to weather conditions. Happy Campers encourages visitors to check trail status prior to their trip.

    Over 95% of Crater Lake National Park is managed as wilderness territory, meaning there are endless possibilities for travelers who are interested in backcountry camping! Experience the reward of exploring the park’s old-growth forests and volcanic landscapes that have been capturing the hearts of visitors for over 7,000 years. Some trails and locations are closed for backcountry camping (such as no summer camping close to the lake) however, there are several trails that promise an unforgettable camping experience. For a complete list of backcountry hiking/ camping trails, click here! 

    Please note that backcountry camping permits are required for all overnight trips to Crater Lake National Park. Camping permits must be obtained in person upon arrival to the park, and cannot be obtained over the phone or more than one day in advance. Please visit the Ranger Station at Park Headquarters for all overnight permit needs.

    Ranger Station Hours of Operation:
    • June–September: Open daily, 8:00 am–4:30 pm
    • October–May: Open daily, 8:00 am–4:00 pm

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