By Bonnie Glidewell

Each year, America’s deepest lake brings in hundreds of thousands of tourists from around the world to be in absolute awe when faced with this mesmerizing blue natural wonder. Cliffs almost 2,000 feet high surround Crater Lake. Two inner islands with volcanic pasts provide a handful of activities from boat tours, hiking, bicycling, wildlife viewing, swimming, camping, fishing and more to all nature lovers.

On July 29-30, the Britt Music & Arts Festival will celebrate the unique majesty of Crater Lake when members of the Britt Orchestra and Music Director Teddy Abrams perform at the national park, and they will even do this for free to all park goers!

Abrams will lead approximately 40 Britt Orchestra musicians in the performances, along with members of Steiger Butte Drum, brass and percussion students from Southern Oregon University, and a 50-voice choir. The lake's dramatic panorama will serve as the setting. The musicians will perform Natural History, a world premiere composition by composer Michael Gordon, commissioned by Britt and inspired by Crater Lake. Parking will be limited, so plan to carpool with friends and family or find out more about transportation on the event website.

Event Schedule:

World Premiere Performance:
Friday, July 29, 10 a.m. at Watchman Overlook Corral. This performance is by invitation only, with vehicular transportation coordinated by Britt. In addition, walkers or cyclists are welcome to attend.

Performances at Picnic Hill, near the Rim Village:
Friday, July 29, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m.

“I've been fortunate to have had some fantastic experiences as a composer, but never one like this," Gordon told Southern Oregon Magazine. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm treating it that way."

I believe he was spot on. Britt Festival itself, held in the “quaint and antiquey” town of Jacksonville has an exceptional outdoor venue itself, but the backdrop of Crater Lake and those fantastically bright stars will top the charts in so many ways.

Stay the night at one of the three options to choose from! Crater Lake Lodge is located in Rim Village and overlooks the sparkling Crater Lake. The Cabins at Mazama Village are located south of Rim Village in a peaceful forest setting and the Mazama Village Campgrounds are perfect for guests looking for a more down-to-earth Crater Lake experience. 

Looking to drive a bit further down the road? Check out Union Creek Resort where you could escape some of the Britt hustle and bustle for a more rustic and affordable stay. Whatever you do, make sure to stop at the best place in the state for homemade fresh berry pies, Beckie's Cafe. They will not disappoint! Heck, have more than a piece of pie and get out for an easy hike along the wild and scenic Rogue River. Other options are Union Creek Spur Trail and Union Creek Trail lead directly from the Resort and meander along Union Creek, the Rogue River Gorge, Natural Bridge, and even meet up with the Pacific Crest Trail. Along the way you’ll find a variety of types and sizes of beautiful waterfalls, swimming holes, wild birds and other wildlife, and quiet spots for picnics. Heck, now that I have given you all of the details and reasons why you should go, I advise you to hurry up and book your trip now! 

Another option is the Prospect Historic Hotel just 28 miles from Crater Lake. It's a Bed and Breakfast Inn. It was built in the late 1880s and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Still not convinced? The Hotel's Dinner House restaurant has been written up in Sunset magazine as "the best Dinner House between Medford and Crater Lake " 


Some fun facts to know about Crater Lake National Park:

  • Park established: 1902
  • Size: 183,000 acres (74,060 hectares)
  • Visitors per year: About 500,000
  • Lake depth: 1,943 feet (592 meters)
  • Lake width: 4.5 to 6 miles (7 to 10 km)
  • Annual snowfall: 43 feet (13 meters)
  • Last time the lake froze over: 1949
  • Crater Lake National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day.
  • Fed by rain and snow (but no rivers or streams), the lake is considered to be the cleanest large body of water in the world.
  • The lake rests inside a caldera formed approximately 7,700 years ago when a 12,000-foot-tall (3,600-meter) volcano collapsed following a major eruption. The eruption may have been the largest in North America in the past 640,000 years. Later eruptions formed Wizard Island, a cinder cone near the southwest shore.
  • Today, old-growth forests and open meadows blanket the volcano’s outer slopes, harboring a variety of plants and animals, including several rare species. The area is central to the cultural traditions of local American Indian tribes, and the park provides unique opportunities for scientific study and public enjoyment.

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