Simply Nahala

Writer. Photographer. Soul Traveler.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Crater Lake National Park

For Memorial Day weekend, my family and I decided to head up to Crater Lake and enjoy the breathtaking view. Crater Lake National Park is located in the crest of the Oregon Cascade Volcanic Mountain Range and is the deepest lake in America at 1,943 feet deep. The lake was formed when the volcano, Mount Mazama had a major eruption and collapsed approximately 7,700 years ago. The deep caldera filled with rain and snowfall. There are no rivers or streams that run into the lake and is considered to be the cleanest body of water in the world. Precipitation, evaporation, and seepage help the lake maintain a consistent level.

Wizard Island

The land mass situated in the lake, shown in the photo above is called Wizard Island. It was named in 1885 by William G. Steel who thought the island resembled a sorcerer's hat. It is a volcanic cinder cone that erupted after the lake began to fill. Access to the island is available only during the summer months when the boat tours are operating. Overnight camping on the island is not permitted. Interestingly enough, Mazama is not an extinct volcano and may violently erupt again in the future once again altering the landscape.

Spiritual Place

Crater Lake is a special place to the local American Indian tribes. The lake is known as giiwas in the Klamath language, which means Spiritual Place. A place that should be treated with the utmost respect; also considered a place of power to the Klamath Tribe since tribal ancestors witnessed the eruption. Ancient rites still take place today at Crater Lake such as sacred ceremonies, spiritual teachings, and vision quests.

Sacred Waters

Archeologists uncovered 75 sagebrush sandals that were covered in Mount Mazama's ash from a cave near Fort Rock, Oregon. This finding supports Native American oral tradition that people were around to witness the great eruption. To read about my visit to Fort Rock, click HERE.

Brilliant Blue Waters

The national park is home to a diverse wildlife population such as black bears, foxes, burrowing owls, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, elk, bobcats, mountain lions, marmots, porcupines, grouse, and bald eagles. Dawn and dusk are the best time for wildlife viewing. We saw Clark's Nutcrackers everywhere! These birds crack open white bark pine cones to eat the fresh seeds. In the process of foraging, the seeds scatter about and germinate new trees. The white bark pine trees live at high elevations and are able to survive extreme conditions. These trees rely almost entirely on Clark's Nutcracker for regeneration.

Clark's Nutcracker

There are two campgrounds in the forests south of the lake, neither have a view of the water. Mazama Campground is located 7 miles south of Rim Village and has coin-operated showers with laundry machines. Lost Creek Campground lies 3 miles south of east Rim Drive on Pinnacles Road and is for tent-camping only, no reservations required. The park has two motels, Crater Lake Lodge and The Cabins at Mazama. For more information about lodging, visit

Wizard Island

Bicycling, hiking, fishing, and swimming are allowed at Crater Lake, although the water is cold! There are Trolley Tours that circle the lake daily. The trolleys emit 30%-40% less pollution than gasoline-powered vehicles. The Standard Boat Tour takes 2 hours long to circle the entire lake, while The Wizard Island Tour includes a standard tour with a 3 hour stop on Wizard Island to hike, fish, swim, or just relax.

Lucy Lu Taking It All In

I personally enjoyed just sitting on the crater rim and taking it all in. The fresh earthy smells, the reflections on the lake, observing wildlife, and the brilliant blue water is mesmerizing. There are three places to eat at Crater Lake, Annie Creek Restaurant, Crater Lake Lodge, and Rim Village Cafe. I would recommend bringing plenty of water, snacks, and some food because having a meal on the rim of the lake is a worthwhile experience to behold.


There are two Visitor Centers in the park full of all sorts of interesting information and items to purchase. One is located at the Park Headquarters and the other is located in Rim Village. Perched on a rock behind the visitor's center in Rim Village is the Sinnott Memorial Overlook that is an enclosed exhibit room with spectacular views of the lake. The Rim Village Gift Shop and the Annie Creek Gift Shop in Mazama Village have some cool things as well.

The Sinnott Memorial Overlook

The East Rim Drive was closed the day we visited this spectacular site. Such a bummer because I wanted to take some photos of Phantom Ship, which is the oldest exposed rock within the caldera. This smaller island or tip of a large rock formation derives its name from its resemblance to a ghost ship. Hauntingly, the island tends to disappear from visibility in certain lighting conditions.

Chillin at the Crater Lake Lodge

Life's an Adventure,

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior 


  1. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing :)

    Rhea xx