Outdoor Adventures in Crater Lake National Park

Located approximately 75 miles north of Medford, Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is the ideal outdoor adventure destination for families, couples and solo travelers. The vibrant blue coloring of Crater Lake is recognized worldwide as a scenic wonder; neither words nor photographs can compare to actually being there and witnessing its striking cerulean waters. With spectacular panorama views of white bark pine forests and Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park is the perfect tranquil wilderness for casual hiking, sightseeing and photography.

Crater Lake Rock Formations


Gnarled tree above Crater Lake

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States—and one of the clearest. The 249-square mile lake was formed by a colossal eruption 7,700 years ago that left 12,000-foot high Mount Mazama a scorching volcano basin. After decades of natural weathering and harsh winter conditions, a lake with a depth of 1,943 feet was formed almost entirely by snowmelt. Although trappers and pioneers discovered the lake in 1853, it was not protected until 1902 when it received national park designation.

A white coat of snow layers the caldera rim each winter, yet warm summer months provide ideal temperatures for flora to bloom. It is also a great time to enjoy the numerous hiking options available along 90 miles of designated trail systems. Colorful wildflowers such as pink bell heather, monkey flower and yellow Indian paintbrush flourish. There are also seven different tree species on Phantom Ship Island alone—the tiniest island in the middle of the lake. Colonies of violet green swallows and several varieties of lichens are also found there.


Other recreational activities include boat tours, swimming, bird watching and fishing. Although fish are non-native to the lake, humans introduced Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout to its waters in 1888. Shortly after, the fish began spawning independently with other species of trout from nearby side streams. There is also a diverse population of bird life that inhabits this volcanic habitat: Clark’s nutcracker, red-tailed hawk, mountain bluebird, spotted owls and the majestic bald eagle. Other wild animals that may be spotted throughout the park include Roosevelt elk, coyote, golden mantle, porcupine, ground squirrel and black tail deer with periodic sightings of black bear and pine marten.

Crater Lake Landscape


A couple hikes along the Rogue River, OR

Nearby, the Class III Wild & Scenic Rogue River offers an opportunity to experience world-class whitewater along one of most beautiful river corridors in the country. The Rogue River is an ideal rafting trip for families or for avid hikers O.A.R.S. offers a 7-day Crater Lake & Rogue River Trail Hiking trip which combines a day of exploring at Crater Lake and a night at the historic Crater Lake Lodge with 6 days of leisurely hiking on the Rogue River Trail and catered riverside camping along the way. Whichever Oregon adventure suits you, visitors to Crater Lake National Park and surrounding areas should expect to be constantly amazed by its various sightings and hiking opportunities.

O.A.R.S. West, Inc.is a licensed commercial permit holder in Crater Lake National Park.

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