"Winter Panoramic" by National Park Service , public domain
Winter/Spring Visitor Guide to Crater Lake National Park (NP) in Oregon. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Crater Lake Crater Lake National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Refections Visitor Guide Winter/Spring 2021-2022 Rotary Plow at Rim Village A Winter Wonderland Caution! Heavy Snowfall Creates Deadly Hazards But for How Much Longer? Keeping the Park Open is “Snow” Easy Task What were you doing at 4 am this morning? If you were a member of the Crater Lake roads crew, you might have been reporting for duty! Trying to keep Highway 62 and the road to Rim Village open year-round is no easy task. Each day, the park’s heavy equipment operators work from 4 am to 8 pm, in two shifts, clearing snow and sanding roads. During heavy storms, snow removal can become a 24-hour operation, with crews working 12 hours at a time. “It can be a hazardous job,” reports one operator, “especially when it’s dark and white-out conditions are occurring. On a winding mountain road, you never know what’s around the next corner. It could be a tree across the road at windshield level, a car stuck in the snow, or an avalanche.” Snow plows were frst used at Crater Lake in 1930. Prior to that, crews used dynamite and shovels to clear the roads each spring. Today, the park employs 6 operators and 2 mechanics who maintain an assortment of push plows and rotary plows. The rotary plows are equipped with a fan that can shoot snow 75 feet into the air. To control where the snow lands, the operator can vary the angle of output. The amount of snow moved each winter by the park’s roads crew is astounding. With it, you could create a ski trail 3 feet wide, 6 inches deep, and long enough to circle the Earth at the equator! The most challenging part of the job is “Spring Opening,” when the crew turns its attention to digging out the 30-mile Rim Drive and 9-mile North Entrance Road. They begin on the West Rim, departing Rim Village in midApril. Typically, the snow they encounter is 20 to 30 feet deep. Near Watchman Peak, they meet drifts up to 50 feet thick. Progress is slow, averaging a quarter-mile of road cleared per day. In a light snow year, they’ll reach the park’s North Entrance by mid-May. After a severe winter, it will take until mid-June. The East Rim Drive is their fnal leg. “If we can get all the way around the lake by the 4th of July,” says one operator, “we’re happy.” For your safety, when you encounter a snow plow in the park, give it a wide berth. Passing one on the park’s narrow roads can be hazardous. Wait until an intersection or until the plow stops and the operator waves you by. Until then, assume that the operator can’t see you; visibility inside the plows can be poor. Also, skiers and pedestrians should be careful to keep away from the dangerous cascade of snow thrown by the rotary plows. Thanks to the hard work, long hours, and dedication of the park’s heavy equipment operators and mechanics, we can access and enjoy Crater Lake National Park every month of the year. Straddling the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range, Crater Lake National Park is one of the snowiest inhabited places in America. Storms from the Pacifc Ocean dump an annual average of 42 feet of snow at Park Headquarters and more than 50 feet at Rim Village. Since 1931, however, when rangers began keeping track, totals have been trending downward. Snowfall at Park Headquarters has been below average for 9 of the past 10 years. At frst glance, milder winters might seem to be good news, since deep snow tends to make life difcult. Snow forces many animals, including deer and elk, to leave the park in order to survive. Snow makes it hard for park staf to keep roads plowed and facilities functioning. And, for park visitors, storms often lead to disappointment, hiding Crater Lake from view. But consider the benefts that blizzards bring. A thick blanket of snow provides protection and warmth for “subnivean” mammals such as shrews, voles, and pikas. It serves as a water reservoir for the park’s old-growth forests, insulating trees from drought and fre. It provides us with opportunities to ski, sled, snowshoe, and marvel at winter’s beauty. And, since it eventually melts to feed the Rogue, Umpqua, and Klamath rivers, snow at Crater Lake is good news for downstream farmers, ranchers, cities, and wildlife. Unfortunately, declining snowfall in the winter is having negative consequences in the summer. It’s leading to longer and more severe fre seasons, a rise in insect epidemics and invasive species, and hardship for native plants and animals, as they struggle to survive in a climate to which they’re not adapted. So, despite the challenges that long and snowy winters impose on the park, they are ultimately a cause for gratitude, delight, and celebration. Let it snow—please! Rangers use a giant ruler—21 feet tall—to measure snow depth at Park Headquarters. They have measured snow depth, snowfall, and precipitation at this location since 1931. While the amount of precipitation the park receives hasn’t changed much over time, the type of precipitation has. Warmer weather is causing a larger proportion of it to fall as rain. Snowfall has declined. Roofalanche at Park Headquarters For your safety, keep away from snow-covered buildings. A “roofalanche” (roof avalanche) can happen without warning, sending heavy blocks of snow and ice across a wide area. Keep Away Keep Away Danger Zone Cornice Stay back from the edge of the caldera! Unstable ledges of snow, called cornices, extend beyond the rim. Traveling onto a cornice can cause it to collapse, triggering a deadly avalanche. Average Annual Snowfall, by Decade, at Park Headquarters: 1930s – 614 inches 1940s – 623 inches 1950s – 572 inches 1960s – 507 inches 1970s – 495 inches 1980s – 475 inches 1990s – 493 inches 2000s – 455 inches 2010s – 395 inches Cornices Near Rim Village Grouse Hill Bend NATIO NAL FO RESTS North 97 138 Annie Spring Spur Trail s on Crater Peak Trail Su U n Cree k int m r Va A limited supply of rental snowshoes are available at the Rim Café & Gift Shop. The cost is $22.50 per pair. Snowshoes for young children are $20 per pair. Hiking poles are provided at no additional charge. Overnight rentals are not allowed, and reservations are not taken. For more information, call the rental desk at 541-594-2255 ext. 3309. The closest place to rent cross-country skis is Union Creek Resort (866-560-3565), 9.4 miles west of the park on Highway 62. For a list of other nearby outftters, visit go.nps.gov/rent. West Rim Drive On a clear day, this is the most scenic route in the park for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. It follows the West Rim Drive, which is unplowed from November to mid-April. To fnd it, ascend the “snow ramp” across from the Rim Village restrooms, then head west. The route is not marked, but the path of the underlying road should be apparent. The West Rim Drive features gently rolling terrain and is suitable for people of all abilities (unless conditions are icy, in which case it can be treacherous for skiers, especially just west of Rim Village). The route is mostly forested with occasional lake views, including spectacular views at Discovery Point (1.2 miles from Rim Village) and Wizard Island Overlook (2.3 miles from Rim Village). Neither viewpoint is signed, but both are fairly obvious. Circling the Lake Each year, about 200 people ski or snowshoe all the way around Crater Lake. The trip can be exceptionally rewarding, with unforgettable views. It can also be physically and mentally demanding—a test of endurance and outdoor skills. When the weather is clear and snow conditions are good, the 31-mile loop takes an average of 3 days to complete. Storms, however, force many parties to turn back or spend extra nights. The route is unmarked, hard to follow in places, and crossed by several avalanche paths. Those attempting the trip should be experienced in winter camping, off-trail travel, and avalanche safety. AFood service o le backcountry permit ar is required. trailhead), which offers a dramatic view of Crater Lake and the rocky island known as the Phantom Ship. The viewpoint lies a quarter-mile north of the road. To fnd it, leave the road at the apex of the sweeping righthand curve; the turnoff is not marked. Caution: On the way to Sun Notch, the East Rim Drive crosses two slopes that are prone to avalanching. If conditions warrant, you can bypass them by taking the Vidae Ridge Avalanche Bypass Trail (marked with blue diamonds) and the Applegate Avalanche Bypass Route (unmarked, but which follows the foor of the valley). Another lake-viewing option for energetic snowshoers and advanced skiers is to attain the rim of the caldera east of Garfeld Peak. This is an unmarked but straightforward ascent through open meadows and groves of trees. To get there, leave the East Rim Drive near the summit of the frst hill, 1.8 miles from Park Headquarters. The rim lies 1.4 miles (and 950 feet of elevation gain) due north. Hiking Trail March and April are the most popular months to circle the EAST RIM DRIVE lake. They provide more hours (open summer only) of daylight and longer periods EAST than RIM DRIVE Annie of clear weather Decem(open summer only) Spring ber, January, and February. Pumice Castle Overlook Mazama Loop This fat trail makes a loop of 1.3 miles through the park’s campground and provides views into Annie Creek Canyon. It’s a good choice for beginning cross-country skiers and on days when the road to Rim Village is closed. The trail is typically open from mid-December to late March, when plowing operations S U N in PA S S 4400ft the1341m campground begin. It’s marked with blue diamonds attached to the trees and orange snow poles in the clearings. Note: During periods of heavy snow accumulation, the access road to the trailhead may be closed. ek Warning: Do not try to locate the summer hiking trails shown on the ofcial park brochure. When Goose Nest TH E 7249ft NA virtually buried by snow,2210m theyPINare CLES impossible to follow. Some, like the Garfeld Peak Trail, are also far too dangerous to attempt Wdue I N to EMA NATIONAL in the winter and spring The avalanche-prone slopes, unstableF O R E real S T highlight of the route comes at Sun Notch (4.5 miles from the snow cornices, and icy clifs. Goose Egg 7124ft 2172m A popular activity in May (and June) is to walk along plowed sections of the Rim Drive that have not yet opened to automobiles. Snow removal typically starts in mid-April, with plows heading west from Rim Village. Hikers, bicycles, and pets on leash are allowed past the gate. Please keep clear of snow removal equipment, and be alert for fallen rocks and patches of snow and ice. C re Most people begin their ride at Diamond Lake Resort, where snowmobiles are available for rent. For rates and reservations, and to inquire about snow conditions, call 541-793-3333 or visit www. diamondlake.net. Diamond Lake Resort to North Junction is a 36mile roundtrip. A shorter, 18-mile roundtrip is available for people with their own snowmobiles (and a Sno-Park permit) who start by the park boundary on Highway 138. This route is much less traveled than An the West Rim Drive. It crosses n several avalanche paths and requires a 9-mile C roundtrip for a view of the lake. It reek starts at a plowed pullout 100 yards south of Park Headquarters. It is not marked, but the path of the underlying road is obvious. (The East Rim Drive is unplowed from November to June.) Vidae Falls (3.1 miles from the trailhead) is a spring-fed cascade that drops 100 feet over a series of ledges. Unfortunately, in the winter there is usually not much to see: the falls barely fow and are mostly hidden by snow. k GE Snow camping is required; there are no public huts or shelters. Campsites must be at least 1 mile from the nearest plowed road, out of sight of any trail or route, and at Snowmobiling The park’s North Entrance Road is groomed for snowmobile travel. At North Junction, if weather permits, riders can enjoy a spectacular view of Crater Lake. Snowmobiles must stay on the groomed route; they are not allowed to continue onto the Rim Drive, and of-route travel is prohibited. The route is open as conditions permit, typically from December through March. East Rim Drive ee Snowboarding & Downhill Skiing RID somewhere between Discovery Point and Watchman Peak. The most popular multi-night trip is the 31-mile loop around Crater Lake, which typically takes 3 to 4 days (see box, above right). Raven Trail Cr Backpacking is allowed in the park year-round. Winter ofers wellSKY LAKES EAST RIM DRIVE 6091ft An prepared skiers and snowshoers 1857m W(open ILD E R Nonly) ESS n summer opportunities to experience (ROGUE RIVER and WINEMA NATIONAL FORESTS) Cr ek occasions ofeunique beauty and These activities are allowed in the Mountain solitude.Peak All campersTom must obtain 6876ft Cinnamon park, but extreme caution should 2096m Jerry Mountain 6367ft a free permit before setting out. 1941m be used. There are no chairlifts Permits are available 8 am– 4 pm or groomed runs. Venturing daily from the Ranger Station at below the rim of the caldera is Park Headquarters (100 yards strictly prohibited. The most south of the Visitor Center). frequently skied slopes are on the southwest side of Garfeld Vehicles must be left overnight Peak, east of Park Headquarters. at Park Headquarters—not at This area is avalanche-prone, Rim Village. The most popular however, so participants should one-night trip is to travel up be experienced in avalanche safety the Raven Trail then out along and winter backcountry travel. the West Rim Drive, camping Visiting in May? S un Stuart Falls least 100 feet back from the edge of the caldera. For trip-planning advice and a complete list of Food service regulations, stop by the Ranger Station Hiking or callTrail 541-594-3060. walking on top of ski tracks. Oftrail exploration is also allowed, but, as with other winter sports, snowshoeing and cross-country Scoria Cone skiing are PUMICE prohibited inside the FLAT 6648ft 2027m caldera. They are also prohibited Sa the road to on Highway 62, on nd Rim Village, and in parking lots. O k t ca Backpacking 2 Miles 1 ND There are no designated sled hills or snow-play areas in the park, but many opportunities for sledding can be found. For your safety, sledding and other winter sports are prohibited on Highway 62, on the road to Rim Village, below the rim C r e ek either in the parking lot or atop the snowbank beside the parking lot. 6200ft 1890m SA Enjoying the Park With Your Pet k et C re e il d Lake Viewing la n Baldtop 0 Pothole W Activities of the caldera, and in parking lots. B Please select areas that have gentle d Re slopes, are away from trees and other obstructions, and provide a safe, fat runout area. Several such locations exist near Rim Village; When skies are clear, spectacular one popular spot is the open meadviews of Crater Lake can be PUMICE ow southScoria of Crater Lake Lodge. Cone F L AT 6648ft enjoyed at Rim Village. During 2027m storms, however, the lake is usually Bessie Rock hidden by clouds. The lake is 5900ft 1799m completely “invisible” about 50% of the time in the winter and early Pets on a leash (or otherwise physspring! To avoid disappointment, ically restrained) are welcome in check the weather forecast (www. the park, provided they stay within weather.gov) and the Rim Village 50 feet of plowed roads and parkwebcam (go.nps.gov/cams) before ing lots. Solid waste must be picked you leave home. up immediately and disposed of properly, in a trash can or toilet. When the Rim Café & Gift Shop is open, a partial view of the lake Dogs on a leash are also allowed can usually be obtained through on one snow-covered trail: the the windows on the top foor, Pacifc Crest Trail, which passes accessible by elevator. For a better through a pretty forest but does view of the lake (and when deep not ofer any lake views. This trail snow blocks the view through the can be accessed from a pullout on windows), you’ll need to walk Highway 62, 1 mile west of the fee across the snow toward the edge booth, where it crosses the road. of the caldera. The shortest route is via the “snow ramp” across Pets are not allowed on other trails from the Rim Village restrooms. this time of year, nor are they perBe careful—conditions at Rim mitted of-trail, on unplowed roads, Village can be icy and slippery! or in buildings. The most popular place to walk a dog is Rim Village, On days when the road to Rim Village is closed, viewing the lake requires snowshoeing or skiing up the Raven Trail. Walking or otherwise traveling on the closed road is prohibited. Sledding Crater Peak 7263ft in winter) ie to Klamath Falls and 97 Ea s t B BL Pinnacles Road F or k 6253ft 1906m T T Union Peak 7709ft Grayback Road Avalanche Bypass 2350m ek 62 Rocktop Butte C re 6000ft Mazama Loop 62 n Fee Booth 97 6400ft 1951m Vidae Ridge Avalanche Bypass ge If continuing past Wizard Island Overlook, exercise caution: the route crosses steep slopes (where a fall could be fatal) and the north face of Watchman Peak, which is prone Snowshoeing and cross-country to avalanching. Possible destinations include Watchman Overlook (3.9 skiing are the most popular ways Lake miles from Rim Village), Diamond to explore the park in the winterViewing Lake Overlook (4.6 miles), and and spring. A variety of marked North Junction (6.0 miles). Another trails and unmarked routes are option, popular with snowshoers, available (see below). None are is to leave the road at Union Peak groomed, so breaking trail is Overlook (3.1 miles from Rim Village, necessary after storms, and a unmarked) and hike to the summit wide range of conditions are of Watchman Peak via its western possible, from deep powder to ridge. Use extreme caution near the peak’s historic fre lookout, which is hard ice. As a courtesy to skiers, fanked by cliffs on three sides. snowshoers should refrain from Ca v e r to Medford and 5 Vidae Falls ed Crater Lake Lodge (closed Ski/Snowshoe Trail& Snowshoeing Off-Trail Option Cross-Country Snowmobile Route Skiing ek Visit the Ranger Station at Park Headquarters (8 am– 4 pm) or call 541-594-3060. East Rim Drive rom Avalanche Bypass Trail or Route to Klamath Falls and Cre Lost & Found nd There are no accommodations in the park in the winter or early spring. Crater Lake Lodge opens in mid-May. Mazama Campground is projected to open sometime in June. For a list of options outside the park, visit go.nps.gov/sleep. Camping in the park’s pullouts and parking lots is prohibited. Overnight parking is allowed only at Park Headquarters, and only for skiers and snowshoers who are out backpacking in the park. The closest places for overnight parking and camping are the Annie Creek Sno-Park (0.5 miles south of the park) and the Thousand Springs Sno-Park (2.4 miles west of the park). A Sno-Park permit is required November through April; the closest place to buy one is Union Creek Resort (9.4 miles west of the park, 866-560-3565). 6370ft 1942m 62 Pacific Crest Trail Sa Lodging & Camping Huckleberry Mountain ie A US Post Ofce trailer is open 10 am– 2 pm (except Sundays and holidays) at Park Headquarters. 6450ft Dutton Cliffs Avalanche Bypass k Post Offce Applegate Avalanche Bypass ee Even when plowed, park roads can be snow-packed and icy. Drive with caution and be alert for plows. When road conditions are poor, vehicles may be required to use chains to enter the park (except for 4-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles that are equipped with winter tires). For your safety, do not stop or park in the roadway. Parking is allowed only in plowed pullouts and parking lots. Gasoline The park’s gas station is closed for the winter. It is projected to reopen in late May. A charging station for electric vehicles can be found 100 yards south of the fee booth, but it may not be accessible during periods of heavy snow accumulation. West of the park, the closest gas is at the Prospect Service Station, 29 miles from the park’s fee booth on Mill Creek Drive. Gas and diesel are available 8 am–8 pm daily. South of the park, the closest gas is at the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center, 30 miles from the park’s fee booth on Highway 97. Gas and diesel are available there 24 hours. Both park visitor centers are currently closed. The Rim Visitor Center is closed for the winter (it usually reopens in late May). The Visitor Center at Park HeadquarUnion Peak ters, normally open year-round, 7709ft is 2350m closed for construction. Souvenir passport stamps are available at the Post Ofce and the Rim Café & Gift Shop. Junior Ranger activity books are available from a dispenser on the top foor of the Rim Café & Gift Shop and on request from the ranger at the fee booth. Ranger-guided snowshoe walks are not being ofered this year. Raven Park F O RTrail EST Headquarters Cr Highway 62 and the road to Park Headquarters are plowed daily and are open year-round. The 3-mile road from Park Headquarters to Rim Village is also kept open as much as possible (typically 60% to 70% of the time in the winter), but it is sometimes closed for days or weeks at a time during periods of heavy snow accumulation. Before visiting, check the park’s website (www.nps.gov/crla) to fnd out if the road to Rim Village is open. Food & Gifts The Rim Café & Gift Shop serves light meals, snacks, and beverages. A large gift shop ofers a wide selection of souvenirs, as well as snowshoe rentals (see next page). An observation room on the top foor provides partial views of Crater Lake (weather permitting), along with several exhibits and an information desk stafed by volunteers most weekends. At the time of publication, the Café & Gift Shop is open 10 am– 4 pm daily except on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and when the road to Rim Village is closed. For the latest operating hours, visit www.travelcraterlake.com or call 541-594-2255 ext. 3309. Visitor Centers Sun Notch NATIONAL e ni The park is open year-round, 24 hours a day. Some roads, trails, and facilities, however, are closed seasonally due to snow. The North Entrance Road, Rim Drive, and Pinnacles Road close to automobiles each year on November 1 (or earlier if there is signifcant snowfall). Crews begin removing snow in April, but opening dates vary. The North Entrance Road and West Rim Drive tend to open in early June. The East Rim Drive and Pinnacles Road typically open in early July. Cell service in the park is spotty. You may have luck at Rim Village. There’s an emergency phone at Park Headquarters, outside the “snow tunnel” entrance to the Administration Building. WiFi is available at the Rim Café & Gift Shop. to Medford and 5 Phantom Ship R O G U E R IGarfield VER Peak Cr e ek Mount Scott 8929ft 62 7100ft C a st le (closed in winter) yb ack f Unplowed Road Open to Road Open Year-Round Snowshoeing & Skiing Ski/Snowshoe Trail toRoad ParkOpen Year-Round Except During Periods of Heavy Snow Headquarters and Unplowed Road Open to Footpath Across the 62 Snowshoeing and Skiing Snow (Unmaintained) ski Bay 7865ft Rim Village 8054ft Dutton Creek Trail Cloudcap Overlook An Roads & Travel Phone & Internet West Rim Drive Restrooms & Drinking Water When the road is open, restrooms at Rim CVillage are open 24 hours. h a sk i Ba y Drive past the Rim Café & Gift Shop and look for the small building with “snow tunnel” entrances. Water from the restroom sinks is safe to drink. Bottled water can be purchased at the Rim Café & Gift Shop. When the road to Rim Village is closed, drinking water is not available; inquire at the fee booth about the location of toilets. Cha Dutton Creek Trail Thousand Springs Discovery Point Pacific Crest Trail Lake Surface 6173ft Rim Visitor Center Restrooms ek Dial 911 to report any emergency, 24 hours a day. First aid is available at the Ranger Station at Park Headquarters (8 am– 4 pm). Wildlife - Feeding wildlife, including birds, is prohibited. ay Services & Facilities Guns - Firearms are allowed in the park accordance with Oregon state laws, but they are prohibited in all park buildings. Fires - Self-contained stoves are allowed; open fres are not. Klamath Falls Ashland Lightning Springs Trail Avalanche Zone L i tt l e C re 199 97 k Medford Wizard Island Overlook NAL bNATIO ee FO RESTS sta Off-Trail Option Crater Lake n 62 Fort Klamath By Union Peak Overlook West Rim Drive Snowshoe/Ski Trail 4850ft 1479m io 234 Chiloquin Wizard Island 6940ft Un 62 62 Watchman Overlook Lake Viewing Avalanche Bypass k Grants Pass Shady Cove Rim Village Emergencies Marijuana - Possession and use are prohibited. State drug laws do not apply in the park, an area of federal jurisdiction. North Entrance & Rim Drive are CLOSED in winter to automobiles Union Creek Prospect Watchman Peak 8013ft 62 6376ft 1944m Snowmobile Route ek Rim Café & Gift Shop Scout Hill Snowshoeing & Skiing Deepest Point in Lake 1943ft Below Surface ee 230 Drones - The use of remotecontrolled aircraft is prohibited. Lake Access - The trail to the lake shore is closed for the winter. Venturing below the rim of the caldera is forbidden. Crater Lake National Park 138 To Medford and Cr Diamond Lake un Roseburg North hisk Junction ey Diamond Lake Overlook Chemult ee Please take a moment to become familiar with these important regulations. For a full list of the park’s policies, visit go.nps.gov/regs. W Cr Rules to Know 5 Cre Cr Park Phone: 541-594-3000 Website: www.nps.gov/crla Email: email@example.com Mailing Address: PO Box 7, Crater Lake, OR 97604 Cast le M This is the offcial visitor guide to Crater Lake National Park. It is published twice a year and funded by the Crater Lake Natural History Association. After Heavy Snowfall Discovery Unplowed Road Open to Point ay Crater Lake Road Open Year-Round e Lightning Road Closed During & Springs Trail East Rim Drive Cleetwood Cove Llao Rock 8049ft be k 58 Rim Village Union Peak Overlook ee North Entrance Road 20 By Cr e e k B Eugene r Cr Refections Visitor Guide Winter/Spring 2021-2022 Winter Recreation Map Dee m Regional Map SC Fu Fragile wetlands, no camping k Cree k e C re 8013ft 2442m 7412ft 2260m Sphagnum Bog Raven Trail On days when the road to Rim Village is closed, the Raven Trail provides a way for skiers and snowshoers to access the rim of the lake. (Traveling on the closed road is prohibited.) The trail starts at Park Headquarters, by the closed gate. It is 2.0 miles roundtrip, gains 610 feet in elevation, and is marked with blue diamonds nailed to the tree trunks. The trail crosses the runout (the lower end) of several avalanche chutes. When crossing these chutes, do not stop or linger. You’ll reach the rim of the lake (and, weather permitting, enjoy a spectacular view) several hundred yards east of Crater Lake Lodge. If you enter Rim Village, be alert for plows. Do not venture east toward Garfeld Peak and its steep, avalanche-prone slopes. Other Trails The Pacifc Crest Trail explores the park’s snow-covered forests. It can be accessed from a pullout on Highway 62, 1 mile west of the fee booth. It is the park’s only winter trail that is open to pets. The Crater Peak, Lightning Springs, Annie Spring Spur, and Dutton Creek trails offer challenging backcountry experiences for people with advanced winter skills. Visit the Ranger Station at Park Headquarters or call 541-594-3060 for details, advice, and route-fnding information. S © WILLIAM FLAXINGTON Blue Pool and Bacteria Mat Deep Rover Moss Rough-Skinned Newt Does the water level vary? Ask the Ranger How deep is Crater Lake? Crater Lake is 1,943 feet deep. It’s the deepest lake in the USA (300 feet deeper than Lake Tahoe, which ranks 2nd). It’s the 9th deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the world formed by volcanic activity. Where does the water come from? About 83% of the water comes from rain and snow falling directly on the surface. The rest is runof from precipitation landing on the slopes above the lake. How clean & clear is the lake? Since there are no inlets carrying sediment or pollution into Crater Lake, its water is very clean: cleaner than the water that comes out of your faucet at home! When an 8-inch-wide instrument called a Secchi disk is lowered into the lake, the average depth at which it disappears is 103 feet. Some days, clarity readings surpass 130 feet. The level of Crater Lake fuctuates just a few feet each year. Winter storms make it rise a little; dry summers cause it to fall. The lake experiences about twice as much precipitation as evaporation, but the surface remains far below the rim because water continuously seeps out through a porous layer of rock along the north shore. Crater Lake is just like your bathtub—halfway up the side, there’s a drain! Water leaks from the lake at a rate of 2 million gallons every hour. It goes deep underground and is not believed to feed any nearby rivers or springs. Does the surface freeze? Crater Lake has not frozen over completely since 1949. Except during the coldest of winters, ice thick enough to support the accumulation of snow rarely develops. The lake contains a tremendous volume of water (5 trillion gallons) relative to its surface area (21 square miles). A translucent layer of skim ice sometimes forms on calm, clear nights in the late winter and early spring, but it typically dissipates the next morning when hit by the sun, wind, and waves. How did Crater Lake form? Crater Lake occupies the shell of Mount Mazama, a collapsed volcano. The volcano once stood 12,000 feet tall, but its summit imploded after a major eruption 7,700 years ago. The eruption was about 100 times the magnitude of the 1980 eruption at Mount St. Helens. How do we know the eruption happened 7,700 years ago? Mount Mazama’s caldera-forming eruption produced pyroclastic fows of ash and pumice that fattened the forests growing on the mountain. The age of the eruption has been determined by carbon-dating tree remains buried in the ash deposits. Is Wizard Island the former summit of Mount Mazama? Wizard Island is not the top of the old mountain. It’s a newer volcano—a cinder cone—that erupted out of the lake around 7,300 years ago. Three other eruptions have occurred in the lake since its formation, all underwater. The most recent was a lava dome that grew to within 95 feet of the surface 4,800 years ago. Could Mt. Mazama erupt again? According to geologists, future eruptions here are almost guaranteed. This is one of 18 volcanic areas in the USA that the US Geological Survey considers to pose a “very high threat” to human life and property. A major eruption, though, is not likely to happen again for thousands of years; the magma reservoir beneath Crater Lake has not had sufcient time to recharge itself. Does anything live in the lake? Crater Lake is home to a variety of insects, worms, snails, crustaceans, and amphibians, including a type of salamander found Support Your Park— Volunteer Ski Patrollers Volunteer Your Time Looking for a hands-on way to help the park? Consider sharing your time and talents as a Crater Lake VIP (Volunteer-In-Parks). Full-time volunteers are needed to help staf visitor centers and present interpretive programs. Opportunities are advertised several times each year at www.volunteer.gov. Volunteers are provided free housing in exchange for 3 months of service. To volunteer periodically, join The Friends of Crater Lake, a nonproft whose members help with special events and operate a winter information desk at Rim Village. Learn more at www.friendsofcraterlake.org. Or join the Crater Lake Ski Patrol, whose members assist winter visitors and maintain the park’s ski and snowshoe trails. For more information, visit www.craterlakeskipatrol.com. Report Your Wildlife Sightings Scientists need