Want to take in views of the deepest lake in the country while challenging yourself to an exhilarating, high-elevation cycle trip? Then sign up for Crater Lake National Park‘s annual Ride the Rim event, which gives experienced cyclists the opportunity to zip along the caldera’s rim – without worrying about cars. It’s among Oregon’s most popular cycling events, and past rides have attracted registrants from over 35 states and 10 countries. This year’s event will take place over two Saturdays, September 10 and 17. Registration opens April 1, so make plans early.
The motorized-vehicle-free route covers approximately 25 miles between the North Junction parking area and the Steel Visitor Center, and takes most cyclists anywhere from three to five hours to complete. Feeling ambitious? Continue the additional 8 miles of Rim Drive – just be prepared to share the road with vehicular traffic, and note that this last stretch has plenty of switchbacks.
How to Participate
While anyone can sign up for Ride the Rim, it’s most suited to experienced riders. The route is at an elevation of around 8,000 feet, after all, and involves elevation gains of around 3,500 feet, making it a fantastic challenge for intermediate or advanced riders with a good level of fitness, but not appropriate for kids or cyclists without a lot of experience.
Although there will be five rest stops along the way where riders can fill up water bottles or make basic repairs, it’s wise to come prepared to be able to fix flat tires and tubes, in case you encounter an issue along the way. Note that SAG wagon services will not be provided.
While most of the bikes you’ll see out on the rim are of the high-end road bike variety, participants are welcome to use electric bikes with bike assist, provided at least some pedaling is required to get them going. Bikes that are entirely self-propelled aren’t allowed.
Participation is free, but a suggested $10 donation is appreciated. You’ll also need to pay park fees if you don’t already have an America the Beautiful Pass.
Want to get involved but not much of a cyclist? For people who come to support friends and family members at the start/finish lines, a great way to get more deeply involved in the event is to volunteer. Or, of course, just explore Crater Lake’s many trails and scenic viewpoints. (A full list of Crater Lake’s ADA-accessible facilities might be helpful for those of all abilities.)
Where to Stay
Ride the Rim is a popular event, and accommodation options in and around the park book up early. If you aren’t able to secure a room at Crater Lake Lodge or a campsite at the park’s Mazama or Lost Creek campgrounds, fear not; there are plenty of options in the nearby area. You’ll find some options in nearby communities such as Shady Grove and Chiloquin, but the best lodging selection is in Klamath Falls, just under an hour’s drive away. Wine lovers should consider extending their trip for a stay in the Rogue Valley, where you’ll find all sorts of lodging options in the heart of Southern Oregon’s wine country.
While You’re in the Area
While Crater Lake offers plenty to see and do within its own boundaries, from hiking to ranger-led talks, the surrounding area offers plenty of fun experiences, often with fewer crowds. Nearby Chiloquin is a great place to start. Here you can see old train cars at the Train Mountain Railroad Museum or check out Victorian-era logging equipment at Collier Memorial State Park. In the mood for more thrills? Crater Lake ZipLine near Klamath Falls offers zip lining and rappelling courses, along with single and tandem kayak rentals.
Story by Margot Bigg / Photos courtesy of Discover Klamath