About the Site
Crater Lake National Park (15)  


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


Crater Lake Lodge

The most well-known feature of the village is the historic Crater Lake Lodge, one of the truly classic hotels of America's national parks. Crater Lake Lodge finds a place among the great rustic lodges of the national park system. It can be classified among famous buildings such as El Tovar in Grand Canyon National Park, Awahnee Lodge in Yosemite, and Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. This great building is perched on the rim of the caldera.

The front of the stone and shingle lodge, with Garfield Peak looming above it, is shown in the picture below.

Even before construction began on the hotel and other amenities the Rim Village area was a destination for people visiting the park. Visitors would camp or, later, stay in "Camp Crater", a tent village near the current hotel site. W. G. Steel was the first to envision a hotel in the area, and in fact had plans for several hotels and an elevator to the lake! Happily, all of these plans were not realized.

The Rim Village area, and Crater Lake Lodge, are seen on the rim of the caldera in this picture from across the lake.

Sited on the southwest rim of the lake, construction of the hotel was begun in 1909. Stone for the structure was originally drawn from nearby Garfield Peak. Although it was not yet completed, the lodge was first opened on June 28, 1915. The short (perhaps 5 months or as short as July 1 to September 15) construction season, altitude, and weather provided considerable obstacles in building the lodge. At the beginning of each construction season, damage to already completed construction had to be repaired before new construction could proceed. When first opened, Crater Lake Lodge had 65 rooms and cost $3.50 a night for lodging and meals. In 1924 a "lodge annex" was opened, but a planned 80 room addition to the lodge was canceled because of cost overruns. In 1928 a north veranda was added. Today, the lodge features 71 rooms (and costs a lot more than $3.50 a night).

Construction problems persisted from the beginning, and after 4 years of construction the roof collapsed. In some sense the lodge was never really "finished", and complaints about its amenities and the quality of construction were frequent over the years. The building was plagued by poor plumbing, inadequate electrical power, and poor protection from fire. It was not built strong enough to withstand the fierce winter weather at the site. Nevertheless, it was a much loved building, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 as a prime example of national park-style architecture of the early 1900's. Crater Lake Lodge is quite representative of the great rustic architecture of national park buildings of the early 1900's.

During World War II, for three summers, Craster Lake Lodge stood empty all year round. The building, at this point rickety and vulnerable to fire, was considered for demolition. However, in 1957 and 1958 some cosmetic remodeling of the lodge was completed.

In 1948 the park superintendent made the first suggestion that the building be demolished. In 1967 the National Park Service acquired the building, but park officials had serious concerns about the potential for fire in the old building. By 1984 it was making repeated suggestions that the building be razed, which resulted in public protest. It very quickly became evident that the lodge was much loved by the public which wanted it to continue to exist. Finally, in 1989 the lodge was closed because of increasing structural instability and the danger of collapse.

After a lengthy period of indecision and controversy about whether to remove the hotel from the rim entirely, and considerable support for renovation from the public, a complete renovation was undertaken in 1991. Careful attention to detail was paid in reconstruction in an attempt to be faithful to the lodge's original 1920-1930's style. All parts of the lodge which had been added to the building were removed, and only 10% of the original lodge was reused. The new lodge was built on a steel reinforced foundation of native volcanic rock. Some parts of the lodge were actually reassembled. The Great Hall was rebuilt to look like it did in 1915. The hotel, as seen below facing the lake, was reopened in the summer of 1995. Almost the entire structure was reconstructed at a cost of about $30 million.

The 4 story wooden lodge currently features 71 rooms. It features a patio in back (seen above), a large lobby, dinging room, and two large fireplaces. Especially noteworthy is the "great hall."

The lodge is literally built on the edge of the rim, some 900 feet above the lake surface. In 1929 a terrace overlooking the lake was added to the rear of the building (shown below). This veranda provides spectacular views of the lake, as do many of the rooms on this side.

Crater Lake Lodge is perched on the rim of the lake on the east end of Rim Village, 15 miles from the north entrance to the parkland 7 miles from the south entrance.

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

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