Driving around the rim
Driving around the rim
Visitors Info Center
Visitors Info Center
Headed to Wizard Island
Headed to Wizard Island
Phantom Ship, an island in Crater Lake
Phantom Ship, an island in Crater Lake
Our supportive crew
Our supportive crew

By Bonnie Glidewell

December 16, 2012

What is better than visiting Crater Lake National Park, also known as one of the country’s crown jewel? Having the opportunity to stay on Wizard Island inside of the caldera walls! A little under educated when it comes to this amazing natural attraction? Give me the pleasure of telling you more about it.

Founded May 22, 1902, Crater Lake National Park seeks to preserve these natural and cultural resources. This area of 249 square miles is dedicated to the preservation of its natural and cultural resources, and has a focus on preservation for our enjoyment of human visitors, but also has another goal they put forth more effort. The comprehensive view of the ecosystems and interactions within the environment at Crater Lake is what park personnel lean towards. No place else on earth combines a deep pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost 2,000 feet high; a picturesque island and a violent volcanic past.


How about some fun facts?

  1. Seven different trees live on Phantom Ship, an island in Crater Lake.  There are also colonies of violet green swallows, and several varieties of wildflowers and lichens living there.
  2. What kinds of birds and animals might I see during my visit? The FAQ page will tell you, find out!
  3. Wizard Island is a cinder cone that erupted after Crater Lake began to fill with water.  It is one of two islands in Crater Lake.  Do you know the name of the other island? (Hint: Answer is above).
  4. Crater Lake is 1,943 feet deep. That makes it the deepest lake in the United States, and the ninth deepest lake in the world! The depth of Crater Lake was first measured in 1886 with a simple sounding machine that consisted of a crank and a spool of piano wire.  Those first measurements showed the lake to be 1,996 feet deep – not far off from the depth of 1,943 feet that was measured with high tech equipment in 2000!
  5. There is only one place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lake shore. It is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which usually opens mid to late June. The trail is 1.1 miles long and drops nearly 700 feet down to the lake shore. Visitors are welcome to swim in the lake from the shoreline at the end of this trail.
  6. Are there fish in the lake, and can I catch them? I dare you to find out by research!
  7. Crater Lake National Park gets an average of 533 inches of snow per year – that is more than 44 feet of snow!
  8. The average temperature of the water (below 300 feet deep) is 38°. In the summer, the surface can warm up to 55° or 60°.
  9. Want to know how many people visit the park each year? Again, go and do some research. Dare you!
  10. Crater Lake was formed when a massive eruption of Mount Mazama 7700 years ago caused the mountain to collapse, leaving a steaming caldera. Centuries of rain and snow filled the caldera creating Crater Lake.


Although the island is closed to the public for camping, there are still handfuls of things you can do at the lake in order to enjoy your time well spent. Simplydriving around the 33-mile lake can keep you busy as it offers more than 30 viewpoints where you can pull off to the side and gaze at one of the deepest lakes in the United States. Hiking is another option, one which I love! There are a variety of hikes from mild walks to strenuous ones. You can explore meadows full of flowers, rocky peaks, or pristine forests. If you choose to visit the Sinnott Memorial Overlook, you will get the pleasure of having panoramic views, exciting exhibits, and an experience to learn more about the park’s geologic story and history of scientific investigation. Attending a ranger program is a great way to ask the real experts themselves. This is done by talks, walks, trolley tours, boat tours, and kids programs which are offered daily. You can take 18 minutes and watch the park film at the Steel Visitor Center. The Pinnacles can be an option to visit, if you have a little time to visit the southeast corner of the park. Since these are the same ones that formed during the eruption that “gave birth to the lake”, I suggest doing so. Touring Crater Lake Lodge gives you a glimpse into an earlier era by the use of their history exhibits. Lastly, if you are feeling a little on the lazy side, you can always just relax and watch the sky while enjoying your home made picnic. If you can, make sure you are there are night because the star gazing up here is absolutely incredible. If you do plan a visit, make sure and check out their web site before you do. With webcams, event schedules and more, planning ahead always makes a difference (especially when it comes to weather). Their site can be easily navigated and found at http://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm


So what does the park have to do with my blog and stay out on the island?

Several months ago, Travel Southern Oregon and the Crater Lake National Park Trust announced a new partnership effort. Members of each organization’s board of directors took an amazing excursion to Wizard Island at Crater Lake National Park, where (by special arrangement of park officials) the two group’s had strategic planning retreat.  Lucky for me I was able to attend this once in a lifetime experience.


“As Southern Oregon’s key attraction, and one of Oregon’s most-visited destinations, Crater Lake National Park has long been a cornerstone of our marketing efforts,” said Carolyn Hill, who serves as both CEO of Travel Southern Oregon and will now also serve as Executive Director for the Crater Lake National Park Trust. “This terrific partnership between the two organizations is a natural fit for both.”

The Crater Lake National Park Trust was formed during planning for the Park’s 100th anniversary in 2002. The Trust works to ensure a future in which the Park is widely recognized as an Oregon icon and national treasure, and in which the Park serves as a thriving laboratory and classroom. The Trust works to encourage gifts, grants, and other contributions. The Trust became an independent 501c3 in 2006.

Travel Southern Oregon is a 501c6 regional marketing association formed in 1984. Its mission is to increase and lengthen visitor stays in the region by encouraging regional marketing efforts across a seven-county area:  Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Coos and Curry Counties. Furthermore, Travel Southern Oregon holds a respected position in the state’s tourism efforts as the official regional coordinator for Travel Oregon programs.

Via this new partnership, SOVA CEO Carolyn S. Hill will serve as the Executive Director for the Trust. “We are extremely pleased to welcome the contributions that Travel Southern Oregon and Carolyn will bring to the Trust’s endeavors,” states William A. Thorndike (Medford Fabrication) who is the President of the Trust Board.  “We look forward to working with Travel Southern Oregon on this important partnership.”

Crater Lake National Park Superintendent, Craig Ackerman, also notes that the partnership is a logical fit.  “Both organizations are committed to the National Park as an icon for visitors to the region and state, and as a critically important ‘living lab’ where students can learn about the preservation and protection of this amazing place,” said Ackerman.

In the coming year, Travel Southern Oregon and the Trust are focused together on a range of important goals, including:  strengthening the Park as a vital resource for education, inspiration, and discovery; helping people develop meaningful connections with the Park; increasing positive media coverage of the Park’s resources and programs; and developing local and regional support for funding capital improvement and visitor services programs. Hats off to both Carolyn and Craig for making this all happen!  – Carolyn Hill, CEO, Travel Southern Oregon & Executive Director, Crater Lake National Park Trust. 


As you can see, these two massive collaborative efforts have a lot of work going on behind the scenes to contribute to the beatification and preservation of the park. Not sure if you want to make the trip and still not convinced? Take some time and ask around to see if anyone you know has visited Crater Lake. Also make sure you go to their Facebook page and browse the pictures being posted every day by tourists who are still excited about their visit, years later. Lastly, please do yourself a favor and go! Make sure to go to our album on Facebook to view the rest of the photos dedicated to this adventure! If you are lucky, you might be able to meet the old man of the lake, displayed below...


Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.