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


The Phantom Ship

Excepting Wizard Island, the most noteworthy feature on the surface of the lake is probably The Phantom Ship, seen below, which be found at the foot of Dutton Cliff. The "ship" part of the name, of course, is derived from the appearance of the formation, which very much resembles a sailing ship.

The Phantom Ship is named for the fact that, from different perspectives, and in different weather and lighting conditions, it tend to emerge and disappear from visibility. There are two good vantage points for observing the Phantom Ship, one from the Phantom Ship Overlook at Kerr Notch, seen later on the page, and from the rim at Sun Notch, as below.

The formation of The Phantom Ship is made up of volcanic ejecta and 400,000 year old andesite lava. The hull of the "ship" is formed of volcanic ejecta, while the masts are part of a giant dike.The Phantom Ship was part of a 400,000 year old formation known as "The Phantom Cone", a precursor to the great Mt. Mazama. It was the first major volcano which erupted in the general vicinity of Mt. Mazama.

The Phantom Ship is just the tip of a sizeable, jagged ridge below the surface which sticks up into the caldera. The rocks which form the Phantom Ship, volcanic in nature, are 1 1/2 million years old and are the oldest rocks on the lake. The "sails" on the Phantom Ship are not actually part of the dike from which it formed, but are composed of breccia.

This formation was uncovered where it is presently found at the base of Dutton Cliff by the collapse of Mt. Mazama. The foot of Dutton Cliff, near The Phantom Ship, can clearly be seen in this photograph.

Although the Phantom Ship looks diminutive from the edge of the rim, but in reality the feature is quite large and appears so when viewed from the surface, such as from the lake tour boat. The island rises 163 feet above the surface of the lake, as high as a 16 story building. The island is about 300 feet long.

One of the two best places to view The Phantom Ship is from the Phantom Ship Overlook in Kerr Notch. As seen below, this vantage point provides a good view of the east side of the formation and the base of Dutton Cliff.

This picture provides another view of the formation from The Phantom Ship Overlook in Kerr Notch. The green growth on the barks of the mountain hemlock trees framing the view is staghorn lichen. This filamentous, bright yellow organism grows on the trunks of trees above the level of the winter snows and thus provides a visual indication of just how deep the snows are on the rim during the winder.

The other best view of The Phantom Ship is from Sun Notch. The Sun Notch Trail leads from a parking area along Rim Drive up hill to the edge of the rim, providing the perspective shown below.

In addition to the views from The Phantom Ship Overlook in Kerr Notch and from the Sun Notch Trail along the Rim, the formation can be seen from various points around the rim. In particular, this island can also be seen from several of the overlooks along the southeast corner of the caldera, such as Skell Head and Cloudcap.

There are a number of trees on the island, as can be easily seen from the rim or on the lake. 7 species of trees are represented there, including lodgepole and sugar pine.

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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