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


Wizard Island

Wizard Island is one of the most interesting features on the lake itself. This classic volcanic cinder cone was formed some time after the cataclysmic eruption which formed the caldera. It was formed by the buildup of hot cinders which were ejected from the floor of the caldera some time after Mt. Mazama collapsed. The oldest trees on the island are about 800 years old, so it probably did not rise above the surface of the lake before that time.

Wizard Island has been considered to be the most spectacular cinder cone in the world (Cranson, 2005). Formed after the collapse of Mt. Mazama, it is likely that it was born some 7,000 years ago.

Wizard Island is built on a platform of andesite lava. It features a large cone of andesite cinder which formed on the top.

Some parts of the cone which forms Wizard Island were formed from eruptions underwater, while other sections apparently were part of eruptions above water which were later submerged. The parts of the cone which rise above the surface of the lake continued to grow above the water.

The island assumed its familiar conical shape was formed largely in the final part of the 300 year period it took for the lake to form. It was created as airborne material, ejected by the erupting vent, fell back onto the cone in a symmetrical pattern. The cone rests on a platform of andesite.

The island looks relatively small within the large lake and the high rim walls. Actually it rises some 767 feet above the surface of the lake, and about 2400-2500 feet above the floor of the caldera under the surface of the lake. The island is about 1 mile across. The area at the base of the cone is approximately 3.02 square miles. The volume of the cone is 0.6 cubic miles. Wizard Island covers about 1 square mile of the lake's surface.

The lower part of the island is covered by hemlock and Shasta red fir, while the upper portions feature whitebark pine along with manzanita and wildflowers. There are about 100 plant species on the island. In this shot the crater at the summit of the island, which is about 300-400 feet wide and 90 feet deep, is highlighted by a ray of sunlight shining through the clouds and fog.

Tourists taking the boat which plies the waters of the lake from Cleetwood Cove may also stop on Wizard Island for a hike on the 0.9 mile trail to the summit of the island. There is a dock on Wizard Island for tourists to disembark at Governor's Bay

In addition to a landing and dock where the tour boats allow passengers to disembark, there are boat sheds located on the island.

The island was named by William Gladstone Steel, who felt that it resembled a sorcerer's hat. As the sun drops below the west rim of the lake in the evening, eventually only the summit of the island is illuminated. This picture was taken later in the season than the one above, and it can be seen that all of the snow has finally disappeared.

As can be easily seen, the island is closest to the western rim of the mountain. The arm of the lake which separates the island from the shore is known as Skell Channel, seen below.

The steep slopes of Wizard Island are somewhat unstable. It is possible, at some point in the future, that an avalanche resulting from this instability may fill the Skell Channel between the island and the north rim of the caldera.

The narrow area between Wizard Island--Skell Channel--is the shallowest park of Crater Lake.

In the vicinity of Wizard Island moss can be found on the lake bottom as 60 to 200 feet deep. This is possible because of the extraordinarily deep penetration of light in Crater Lake.

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

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