About the Site
Crater Lake National Park (10)  


Park History

The Lake

The Boat

Wizard Island

The Phantom Ship

North Rim

East Rim

South Rim

West Rim

Llao Rock

Sun Notch

Mt. Scott

Park Mountains

Mt. Thielsen

Peripheral Views

Pumice Desert

The Pinnacles

Godfrey Glen

Crater Lake Lodge

Visitor Facilities


Rim Drive



Birds & Animals

Evening & Sunset


Park Mountains

All of Crater Lake National Park is located at relatively high altitude. Elevations in the park range from 3977 feet at the lowest point to 8926 feet, which is of course the summit of Mt. Scott.

However, in addition to Mt. Scott there are many mountains in Crater Lake National Park which can compete with the lake for the visitor's attention. Most of the mountains are volcanic in origin and some are older than Mazama itself.

Hillman Peak Hillman Peak has been seen before in the pages on the rim of the caldera. However, it can also be seen from behind the rim, as in the photo below showing Hillman with Rim Drive running across its slopes.

This shot of Hillman Peak shows the mountain from near the north entrance road, just north of the junction with Rim Drive. For visitors entering on this road this area provides the first spectacular view of the lake.

Hillman Peak is representative of a number of small volcanoes which made up the summit region of Mt. Mazama prior to its catastrophic collapse.

The Watchman On the rim of the lake, close to Hillman Peak, is The Watchman. This peak reaches an altitude of 8013 feet. There is a dike which runs all the way to the summit, representing the source of the magma which fed the vent which became The Watchman.

On the top of the Watchman is a lookout facility reached by a trail from Rim Drive and popular with tourists. This facility was constructed in 1931 and 1932. The Watchman Lookout and the Trailside Museum were redesigned in 1972 and rehabilitated in 1999-2000.

The Watchman Overlook, at the foot of the mountain and at the location of the trailhead for the trail to the summit, is the most heavily used viewpoint on Rim Drive.

Garfield Peak Garfield Peak is an 8060 foot peak on the southwest corner of the rim, adjacent to Rim Village and Crater Lake Lodge. Its slopes are covered by mountain hemlock and Shasta red fir, while whitebark pine and subalpine fir can be found at the top.

Garfield Peak was originally known as Castle Mountain. It was renamed for James B. Garfield, son of President Garfield, and United States Secretary of the Interior in 1907.

Visitors can climb to the summit of Garfield Peak via a 1.7 mile trail which leads from near Crater Lake Lodge(shown below in front of Garfield Peak). The trail climbs about 1000 feet to the peak summit. It provides views of Rim Village, Munson Valley, Union Peak, the Klamath Basin, and Mt. Shasta. The trail may not be clear of slow until relatively late in the summer, perhaps in mid-July.

Union Peak Below is a picture of Union Peak, located in the southwestern portion of the park, with forested areas of the park visible in the foreground. This jagged volcanic peak, the remains of an extinct composite volcano, rises 7698 feet. It is located about 8 miles away from the caldera rim. It was named by Chauncey Ney and a group of 5 other prospectors in 1862 for the northern states in the then occurring Civil War.

There is a 2.6 mile Union Peak Trail which climbs to the summit of the mountain. It is accessed from the Pacific Crest Trail which leads in a north south direction through the park.

Union Peak is an older volcano than even Mt. Mazama, predating it by several million years. Union Peak was formed in the same manner as Mt. Thielsen, as a volcanic plug, where the central vent of a shield volcano filled with lava more resistant to erosion than the surrounding rock. Glaciers removed much of the flanks of the mountains. Like Mt. Thielsen, which was formed at about the same time and in the same way, Union Peak is a target for a great deal of lightning during summer months.

On a clear day many mountain peaks can be seen from higher places in the park. Below the nearest mountain is Union Peak (also pictured above), but to the left Mt. McLoughlin, 35 miles away and 9,493 feet in altitude, and Mt. Shasta, 14,162 feet and about 100 miles away to the south in California, are also visible. Mt. Shasta is about 105 miles away from the park. Mt. Shasta can also be seen from Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Mt. McLaughlin can be seen to the left of Union Peak. At 9945 feet, it is one of the noteworthy mountains in the southern part of Oregon, and is about 35 miles away from the lake.

Applegate Peak Applegate Peak is found next to Sun Notch, forming one of the "walls" of the notch. The ridge behind the peak is known as Vidae Ridge. The picture below shows Applegate Peak from within the notch, looking toward the lake's rim. Rim Drive can be seen on the other side of the notch in front of Applegate Peak.

Dutton Cliff The mountain which forms the west side of Sun Notch is Dutton Cliff. Good views of the cliff, and Dutton Ridge behind it, can be gotten from the interior of Sun Notch itself, as is shown below.

Red Cone When arriving in the park from the north entrance, a large mountain is encountered as the north rim of the lake is approached. This is Red Cone (seen below), so named for the distinctive red color of its summit. A basaltic cinder cone, this volcano is approximately 20-30,000 years old. This former volcanic vent reaches an altitude of 7363 feet.

Red Cone can also be seen from an overlook on the northwest section of Rim Drive. The Pumice Desert is evident to the right and beyond the mountain, and Mt. Thielsen is on the horizon.

Red Cone is a cinder cone, similar to Desert Cone. There are about 20 or more cinder cones in the park, composed of basalt and basaltic andesite. These cones are seldom more than a mile across a their base and usually are not more than 1000 feet high. Other cider cones in the park include Desert Cone (below), Reed Cone, Hill 6889, Timber Crater (below), Williams Crater, Cavern Creek Cone, Hill 6236, Union Peak Cone, Hill 6885, Crater Peak (below), Malarks Crater, Hill 6845, Scoria Cone, and, of course, Wizard Island.

Although the summit of Red Cone can be reached by foot, there is no established trail leading there.

Timber Crater This volcanic cone is located just to the east of the Pumice Desert and can be seen easily from that road, as below. Timber Crater is a cinder cone which caps a shield cone.

Timber Crater can be seen from the west side of the lake as it peaks above the rim, below on the far right side of the picture. It is the largest cinder cone in the park.

Gaywas Peak Several other volcanic mountains can be seen surrounding the Pumice Desert area. One of these is Gaywas Peak, seen below.

Desert Cone Just to the south of Gaywas Peak, and east of the Pumice Desert, is Desert Cone, seen in the photograph below.

Another view of the cone, with the Pumice Desert seen in the foreground, is seen here.

Bear Butte On the very west edge of the park, in the heavily forested backcountry area, can be found the mountain known as Bear Butte. This mountain races at altitude of 6376 feet.

A closer view of the mountain is shown here.

Crater Peak Another of the cinder cones which can be found in the park is Crater Peak. This can be seen beyond the lake's rim (in the foreground) in the southern area of the park. Many other mountains of the Cascade Range can be seen in this picture.

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  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

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