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Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park silvery image

If you have an extra day in Ashland, one of the best uses of your time would be to take a trip to the amazing Crater Lake National Park – the only national park in Oregon. A two hour drive to the northeast, this destination’s scenic splendor is simply awe inspiring.

Crater Lake was created some 7,700 years ago when the volcano, Mt. Mazama, exploded. The top was blown off the mountain and a large, deep caldera was left, which is where the deep, blue lake now remains. The lake itself is 5 miles long and 6 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 1,949 – which makes it the deepest lake in the United States. The lake has two beautiful islands and is surrounded by cliffs.

Leave Ashland heading north on I-5 toward Medford, and take exit 30 in Medford. Turn right on OR-62/Crater Lake Highway and follow OR-62 all the way to the park’s entrance.

While on your way to Crater Lake National Park, we suggest taking a brief stop and walk at the Rogue Gorge and Natural Bridge.  This stop offers a chance to stretch the legs and see a unique part of the Rogue River where the river has carved out natural bridges from ancient lava flows. You can access this location by taking a left on Road 300, which is about 52 miles after turning right onto Crater Lake Highway.

As for what to do once you arrive at Crater Lake National Park, that is up to you. One could hike, fish, swim, camp, take a boat or trolley tour, participate in a ranger-guided activity, snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter, or take the scenic rim drive that offers a number of opportunities to get out, enjoy the views and snap photos.

To assist you with your trip, you can stop into one of the two visitor centers for advice from the park rangers, or visit the informative Crater Lake National Park website. The website also provides entrance fees and hours of operation.  We find the park’s visitor guide to be very helpful as well.

Crater Lake National Park image

Crater Lake photographed (silvery)

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Crater Lake National Park

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