About the Site
Crater Lake National Park  


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


Visitor Facilities

Rim Village The average visitor to Crater Lake National Park stays for only a few hours, presumably long enough to get a number of glimpses of one of the most spectacular scenes on the planet. For most visitors the focus of their visit is the Rim Village area, which provides spectacular views of the lake and the rim as well as a number of visitor services.

In early days access to Crater Lake was quite difficult for tourists . The visit involved a long journey, and required camping at the lake. Pasture for animals and water were quite difficult to find. Camping trips around the lake could take 4 to 5 days.

In 1907, William Gladstone Steel established established visitor facilities on the rim known as "Tent City" or "Camp Crater." He also established the Crater Lake Company which delivered services to tourist at the park for many years.

Development of the area continued over time. Construction of a hotel on the site, discussed above, was begun in 1909. In 1929, housekeeping cabins, a store, and a cafeteria were added to the Rim Village area. Over time, though, the most famous building in Rim Village has been Crater Lake Lodge, shown below.

Other buildings which provide additional services to visitors have also been found in Rim Village for some time. One of these buildings, which housed a cafeteria and gift shop, the building which housed the cafeteria and gift shop in the Rim Village was razed n 2006 and 2007 and new facilities were built. A photograph of the old building is shown in the "Winter" section later. The picture below shows construction of the new facility in the summer of 2006.

The completed building which houses the gift shop and cafeteria is shown below. In addition to the new building, the parking area which previously was located between the building and the rim has been removed and new landscaping has been added. Parking has been relocated behind the building. These changes have improved the aesthetic quality of the area and produced a less cluttered area along the rim.

One familiar building in the Rim Village area is the Kiser Studio, shown below. This small, distinctive building is located on the rim above the Sinnott Memorial. It is currently used as a visitor center in the summer season.

In 1905, a photographer by the name of Fred Kiser accompanied William Gladstone Steel to Crater Lake. Kiser was responsible for the production of a number of outstanding photographs of the park during the next few years. Later, in 1921, he was given permission to construct a stone building in which to market hand colored prints of his photographs. The building is shown on the left of the photograph below with Crater Lake Lodge and Garfield Peak in the background.

This building was constructed in 1921 by the Scenic America Corporation and was intended to serve as a location where photographs could be displayed and sold, along with postcards and paintings of various scenes in the park. In 1929 it was taken over by the National Park Service and called the Exhibit Building.

One of the most interesting vantage points for viewing the lake is the Sinnott Memorial Overlook. Also located in Rim Village, this stone building (visible below on the left side of the picture) is perched precariously about 900 feet above the lake and 50 feet below the rim.

The porch of the Sinnott Memorial provides spectacular views of the lake and the opposite side of the rim 6 miles away and also contains a small museum.

Named after Congressman Nicholas J. Sinnott, an early proponent of the national park, and located at Victor Rock, construction of the Sinnott Memorial was completed in 1929. It was patterned after the Yavapai Observation Station in Grand Canyon National Park and designed by Merel S. Sager, an NPS landscape architect. Sager attempted to minimize the differences between natural and built environments. For the memorial, it was intended that the structure, while providing outstanding views of the lake and the caldera, would be as invisible as possible from the lake and other locations on the rim. As such, design and building of the memorial provided significant construction and engineering challenges.

The view below looks out over the roof of the building toward the lake. The Palisades can be seen on the other side of the lake.

A steep, but fairly short, stairway leads from the walkway along the rim down to the Sinnott Memorial.

In the Rim Village area there is a paved path along the rim which provides outstanding views of the lake. The original pave path was created in 1927, known as the Rim Trail Promenade.

Currently, the only path from the rim to the lake surface is the Cleetwood Trail, across the lake from Rim Village. There was at one time, however, a path called the "Crater Wall Trail" in this vicinity which descended steeply to the lake. It was closed in 1909 because of loose rock and debris which created hazards for tourists.

Part of the goal of park management is to move commercially oriented visitor facilities away from the rim area to reduce crowding and negative affects of visitors on the environment there. Some facilities are being located in Mazama Village, located about 7 miles from Rim Village. This area features lodging, a store, gift shop, laundry facilities, gas, and other facilities. One of the newest buildings in the area, housing the Annie Creek Restaurant and gift shop, which was completed on June 2, 2006, is shown below. Its full service restaurant includes buffet style dining.

The administrative base for the park is located south of and below the rim in the Munson Valley. Construction of the park headquarters in the Munson Valley area was begun in 1927. The new Administration Building, still in operation, was constructed in 1934-5.

In recent years the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center has been established in the building which was the original residence of the Park Superintendent and the Chief Naturalist.

The Steel Information Center is pictured below. It is the only visitor contact office which is available all year around.

Another picture of administrative facilities in the Munson Valley is shown below.

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

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