Sample Itinerary: Crater Lake

What is Crater Lake?

Take in the breathtaking view of Crater Lake from one of the many overlooks and hikes!

A visit to Crater Lake is a trip through ancient natural history, where you can enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. 7,700 years ago, a violent eruption created what we know of today as Crater Lake. After the collapse of Mount Mazama, the crater filled with rainfall and snowmelt to create a crystal-clear lake. At Crater Lake National Park, visitors can go hiking, take boat tours of the lake, and explore Wizard Island, a small cone in the center of the lake.

If you’re ready for some outdoor adventure, check out this itinerary to inspire your vacation plans.

Day 1: Arrival to Crater Lake

Crater Lake Lodge is the perfect getaway to escape the real world and immerse yourself into the beautiful nature of Cater Lake National Park.

Your first day in Crater Lake should be all about getting settled in and taking in the magnificent scenery that the locale has to offer.

Check-In to Crater Lake Lodge – Crater Lake Lodge is located in Rim Village, overlooking Crater Lake, so you’ll get your first views of the lake while you get checked in. Once you’ve arrived at the hotel and gotten your keys, take a little time to get settled in your room and explore the grounds.

Get a Casual Dinner – If you get hungry for a meal, you don’t even have to leave the property. Head over to the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room where you can get a hearty meal and enjoy lake views.

Day 2: Get to Know Crater Lake

Wizard Island Tours are the perfect way to get out on the water and explore more of Crater Lake.

After getting settled in and having a quiet evening on your first day, it’s time to embark on an adventure and enjoy what Crater Lake has to offer.

Take a Boat Tour – While you can see Crater Lake from the lodge, the best way to get to know the lake and see it up close is on a boat tour. To get to the boat dock, you’ll enjoy a 30- to 45-minute hike down, with a 700 foot elevation drop. For your boat tour, you can choose what most interests you from the multiple tours:

  • Standard Lake Cruise: This leisurely, 2-hour tour takes you around Crater Lake so you can see Wizard Island, Phantom Ship, and other natural formations.
  • Wizard Island Tours: This tour will take you around the perimeter of the lake and then drop you on Wizard Island, where you can spend a few hours hiking, swimming, and enjoying the views.
  • Wizard Island Shuttle: If you just want to spend some time on Wizard Island, you can skip the tour and take the shuttle over to enjoy time on the island.

Make sure to take advantage of the boat tours at Crater Lake on a sunny day!

Enjoy Rim Drive – After a morning touring the lake by boat, you can spend some time seeing the lake from every viewpoint. Around the rim of the lake you’ll find Rim Drive. This 33-mile road is perfect for cars or bikes. You can hop in your own vehicle and take a tour around or bring your bike to take in the scenery while moving your body. You can stop and get different perspectives on the lake at the 30 overlooks and pull outs along the road.

Enjoy a Meal at the Rim Village Cafe – After a morning tour, you’re likely looking for a meal. Head to the Rim Village Cafe, which is located near Crater Lake Lodge. The cafe offers grab-and-go items such as sandwiches, salads, and snacks perfect to take on a hike or bike ride. You can also get your food and enjoy it on the patio, which overlooks the lake.

Day 3: Enjoy Crater Lake by Foot

Escape for some alone time in nature on one of the many trails, such as Lady of the Woods, at Crater Lake.

Bike, car, boat — there are so many different ways to enjoy Crater Lake. You can also enjoy the lake on foot. There are dozens of hiking trails around Crater Lake National Park and even a few on the island in the middle of the lake.

Discover the Perfect Hiking Trail – Hiking is a fantastic way to explore all the Crater Lake National Park has to offer. There are trails of varying lengths, so you can find the one that’s just right for the amount of time you have and the level of difficulty you want.

  • Lady of the Woods: This easy trail is a little less than a mile and should take you about 30 minutes. The trail starts at park headquarters and then winds around, following interpretive signs about the early park architects.
  • Discovery Point: This moderate hike is about 2 miles long and takes most hikers about an hour. The trail runs along the rim of Crater Lake and offers great views of Wizard Island.
  • Mount Scott: This trail is considered strenuous, with 4.4 miles of hiking which takes about 3 hours of time. This gradual ascent takes you to the park’s highest peak and is best in the morning.

Take a Tour of Wizard Island – You can also find hiking on Wizard Island. You can start with either the Wizard Island Tour or take the Wizard Island shuttle over to the island. Once there, you’ll find a few different hikes that all have spectacular views.

  • Fumarole Bay: This 1.7-mile hike takes most people around 60 minutes to complete. The rocky trail leads to a shallow cove where you can swim or fish.
  • Wizard Summit: If you want to get to the top of Wizard Island, you’ll embark on this 2.2-mile hike, which should take around 90 minutes. Once at the top, you can walk around the 0.3-mile path around the summit crater.

Do a Little Souvenir Shopping – After a day of hiking, you’ll be ready for a quiet evening. Take some time to explore the different gift shops throughout Rim Village and see if you can find the perfect souvenir to take home to friends and family or to remember your trip for yourself. At the gift shops, you can also find supplies for hiking or camping.

After a long day of exploration, make sure to grab a souvenir from Rim Village before you hit the road.

Day 4: Day of Departure

After multiple days of exploring Crater Lake National Park, your day of departure can be a restful one. Have an easy morning, get a hearty breakfast at Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, and enjoy your last views of the lake before you depart.

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