About the Site
Crater Lake National Park (7)  


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


West Rim

The west rim of the lake contains some of the most popular and frequently visited sections of the park as well as some of the highest points along the rim. The picture below shows the rim from Garfield Peak and Rim Village on the right to Hillman Peak on the right.

This view of the western rim shows The Watchman on the left to Merriam Point and Llao Rock on the right.

Discovery Point This part of the rim contains Discovery Point, so named because it was the point from which the first non-native men glimpsed Crater Lake for the first time. It is seen in the right center of the picture below.

The discovery of gold in southern Oregon led directly to the discovery of Crater Lake as a group of prospectors led by John Wesley Hillman stumbled upon the lake at Discovery Point.

A large section of the rim is shown below, including Discovery Point. The view stretches from Dutton Cliff and Sun Notch at the left all the way to Hillman Peak (named after John Wesley Hillman) on the right.

The Watchman The Watchman is located on the northeast section of the caldera's rim. This peak rises to an altitude of 8,025 feet. It is also noteworthy for the watch tower located on its summit, which can be reached by a 0.8 mile trail leaving from an overlook off of Rim Drive. The Watchman is the peak on the far left side of this picture.

The Watchman is a 1 1/4 mile long dacite lava flow which is 50,000 years old. The mountain as currently seen was cleaved in half during the catastrophic collapse of the caldera.

The Watchman derived from its name from its use during the mapping study of the lake which took place in 1886. It's altitude and position allowed it to be used as a signal point for the mapping crews.

Hillman Peak Among the most notable features on the north rim is Hillman Peak. Hillman Peak is a 70,000 year old volcano which was one of the overlapping cones which made up Mt. Mazama. It rises 1978 feet above the surface of Crater Lake, to 8151 feet, the highest point on the rim. Along with The Watchman, Hillman Peak is formed by flows of andesite lava. Hillman Peak was the central plug in a vent which the collapse of Mazama exposed.

Hillman Peak is a heavily eroded remnant, of the westernmost flank of the ancient Mt. Mazama. It last erupted about 70,000 years ago. The eastern half of Hillman Peak fell into the vast caldera left by the collapse of Mt. Mazama.

Skell Channel The body of water which is located between Wizard Island and the wall of the caldera, where the Hillman Slide, is called Skell Channel.

A different perspective of the Shell Channel is shown below.

Devil's Backbone Located on the northwest rim, between Hillman Peak and Llao Rock, this dark rib or blade is a 50 foot thick dike of resistant rock formed of solidified magma. A dike is formed when gaps in the rock are filled with lava which is more resistent to erosion than the surrounding rock. This dike formed in fractures in the sides of ancient Mt. Mazama. The Devil's Backbone is 50 feet wide and 1300 feet high.

The Devil's Backbone is a large dike, but it is not the only such formation on the rim of the crater. There are in fact 24 dikes on the wall of the caldera.

The Devil's backbone is, however, the largest of the dikes on the slopes of the caldera. It is also the only dike which reaches from the rim all the way to the water.

Merriam Point This point of land is located adjacent to the junction of the north approach road and Rim Drive, the so-called "North Junction", and thus is frequented by many visitors early in their visit to Crater Lake National Park. It is shown below in the left center of the picture and left of Llao Rock.

Merriam Point is an excellent place to first glimpse the lake, as the view from the overlook there is outstanding. Here , from Merriam Point, a number of features of the lake and rim can be seen, including Rim Village, Discovery Point, The Watchman, Hillman Peak, the Devil's Backbone, and Wizard Island.

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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