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



In addition to the great lake and the caldera in which it is located, Crater Lake features about 90 miles of trails, including some in the rim area and others through the backcountry in the park.

Cleetwood Trail Perhaps the most famous of the Crater Lake trails is the Cleetwood Trail. This trail represents the only route visitors can use to gain access to the lake.

Sections of the trail are shown below and above.

The Cleetwood Trail is used to reach the dock where the boat which cruises the lake can be boarded. The lower portion of the trail, and the boat dock itself, can be seen below. Although at one time visitors could rent rowboats and move about the lake on their own, now only rides on a boat service run the park concessionaire are available.

The Cleetwood Trail wends its way down the rim's cliffs through forests of mountain hemlock and Shasta red fir. This trail, which is about 1.1 mile long, leads from the Rim Road down to the lake itself. The trail gains 720 feet from the lake to Rim Drive and is one of the steepest trails in the park. The trail was named for the boat which was used to survey the lake in 1886.

The Cleetwood Cove Trail ranges in altitude from 6176 feet to 6820 feet. Especially given the high altitude of the lake and the trailhead, the trip back up rim from the dock to the trailhead can be physically challenging The average slope of the trail is around difficult 11%.

Another picture of the lower portion of the trail is shown below. One of the last switchbacks on the way to the dock can be clearly seen.

Sun Notch Trail One of the most interesting trails in the park is the short one which leads from side of Drive through the valley which makes up Sun Notch to the rim of the caldera. The Sun Notch Viewpoint Trail leads from this parking area for about a 1/4 mile to the rim, and some of the most beautiful views of the lake and northern rim.

In the first shot below is the trail from the Rim Road through Sun Notch to the lake rim. The area pictured below would have been the floor of the ancient glacial valley which formed the notch.

In the picture below the trail leads across the meadow in the notch up hill toward the rim.

Below is a view of the valley in Sun Notch from the trail, with Dutton Ridge shown in the background.

Castle Crest Trail One of the loveliest spots in the park is the Castle Crest Wildflower Trail, near Mazama Village, shown below. In the summer after the snow has melted from the area it is covered with many varieties of colorful wildflowers.

The Castle Crest Trail is a .3 to .4 mile route which leads through a wet, lush meadow in the valley, as can be seen below. The trail is relatively easy to negotiate, ranging in altitude from 6400 to 6480 feet.

A self-guiding informational leaflet is available for folks who want to follow the trail and learn about the features which can be found along the trail.

In the spring, the Castle Crest area is full of many beautiful wildflowers.

The Castle Crest Wildflower Trail can also be reached via a 1/4 mile trail from the Park Headquarters.

The upper portion of the trail leads across a meadow on a slope.

The trail crosses the upper reaches of Munson Creek.

Other Trails A paved trail runs along the rim in the Rim Village area. This trail passes behind Crater Lake Lodge, as can be seen in the picture below. This trail connects with the Garfield Peak Trail, which leads to the top of Garfield Peak.

One popular trail is the 0.8 mile trail which leads to the observation platform at the top of The Watchman. It is easily accessed from a turnout along the Rim Drive. Due to the amount of snow which accumulates in this area during the winter, this is usually the last trail to be opened in the summer, and snow may linger on the trail quite late in the summer season.

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

  • Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

  • Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to parkvision@shannontech.com