We headed to Crater Lake National Park early Monday morning from Bend Oregon. To get there we took the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway which circles Mount Bachelor along alpine lakes and meadows. It took longer than necessary, but we’re out here for the scenery right? We saw great views of snow capped mountains, Deer (likely Blacktail, a sub-species of Mule Deer), old lava flows and beautiful lakes and meadows. If you’ve got the time it has to be the best way to get to Crater Lake.
Once we were through the byway, Crater was only about another hour or so. Knowing that we’d be facing hefty prices for food and drinks once in the park (which were certainly confirmed, $9 for a cold 6 inch ham & swiss sandwich!?), we stopped at a convenience store and grabbed some snakes and liquid.
Once you enter the park, the first view of the actual lake is about 9 miles in past a pumice desert and some beautiful scenes of snow capped mountains. I knew to expect beautiful blue water, but I was still shocked when we finally walked to the rim and looked in for the first time. The landscape in Crater Lake National Park is quite possibly the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. This is very cliche of scenic landscapes, but honestly pictures cannot do it justice, it’s just something you have to see to appreciate.
We drove the rim road stopping at several scenic overlooks, took a quick break at the visitors center, and took a short hike which we thought was going to lead us to a lookout tower. Unfortunately, we missed a turn due to some snow on the trail and ended up hiking along the rim trail for a ways until we reached a beautiful overlook and realized we were on the wrong trail. We spent about 4 hours in the park and then headed back to Portland. I could have spent all day there (all week!) but Tess and Roger had to fly out in the morning so we had to get back to Portland so they could catch their flight.
On the way back we took the Rogue Umqua Scenic Byway. Another absolutely gorgeous drive, although I was the only one awake to enjoy it. We took no fewer than 3 different Scenic Byways on our short trip to Crater Lake, and we could have taken more had we really tried. Oregon truly is a beautiful state everywhere you look.