Crater Lake in Shoulder Season: An Epic Amount of Blue
Last week on our drive back up from California, we decided to make a detour through Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, which also happens to be Oregon's only national park. June can sometimes be a tricky time to visit Crater Lake, since the park is pretty high up in elevation (7,000 to 8,000 feet).
While it probably won't actually be snowing in June, there is a good chance there will still be snow on the ground in some areas, and half of the trails and roads might still be closed due to snow like they were when we visited. But don't let that stop you if you happen to be there in late May or early June, because it is still worth a visit, and in my opinion, even prettier with a little snow on the ground!
The Gem of the Cascades
Crater Lake is often called the "Gem of the Cascades", not only because it's beautiful, but because of its intense sapphire blue colour. So don't adjust your monitor, it truly is that blue. And just a warning, this article will contain A LOT of blue, so if the colour blue offends you for some reason, I suggest you not continue scrolling.
The reason it is so blue is because Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US, and the 9th deepest in the world. So lets take a look at some photos already!
A Note On Altitude Sickness
Since I am a little sensitive to altitude changes, I was a bit nervous as we kept driving up and up and up. I don't think I've ever been that high up before, and I've heard some horror stories of people getting altitude sickness at places like Machu Picchu and Mexico City, which are both technically a little lower than some points at Crater Lake.
I felt a little lightheaded and started to get a mild headache when we were almost at the top, but as soon as I stepped out into the fresh, clean air and caught sight of that majestic lake, I felt perfectly fine. When we did do the little bit of hiking we did, I did notice that it was a lot easier to get winded than at lower elevations, so if you aren't in very good shape, I would advise to take it easy at first.
Easy Steps To Help Avoid Altitude Sickness:
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Take it slow - acclimatise at a slightly lower elevation first and gradually go higher - it may have helped that we spent the night in Ashland, Oregon the night before, which is around 2,000 feet, so really we only went up 6,000 feet.
- Take it easy - wait until you are used to the elevation before you do any strenuous exercise.
- Altitude sickness is generally a concern anywhere above 8,000 feet, and Crater Lake is right on the edge of that, but some people are more susceptible than others. If you are genuinely concerned or have had issues with it before, there are medications your doctor can prescribe.
Crater Lake National Park Facts
Cars - $10 in the winter (November 1-May 12), $25 in the summer (May 13-October 31)
Admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15-passenger capacity or less) and all occupants. Good for 7 days.
Aside from camping, there are two lodging options inside the park: Crater Lake Lodge and The Cabins at Mazama Village. They book up really fast, so plan ahead.
If you can't stay in the park, your closest options will be around Ashland, Oregon (west side of the mountains) or Bend, Oregon (east side of the mountains).
There are a couple of different restaurants in the park at the various visitor centres, but we didn't experience any of them.
We really enjoyed our time at Crater Lake National Park, and I can't stop ogling the photos! This is quite possibly the prettiest place we've seen yet. What is the most beautiful place you've been to? Let us know in the comments!
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