When the mighty Mount Mazama blew some 7,700 years ago she forever changed the landscape and eco system of Eastern Oregon. This mountain loomed over 12,000 feet high and lost a mile off it height in the eruption. Ash clouds covered the sky and fell as far as Alberta, Canada. The eruption sent 12 cubic miles of debris spewing from its top. Lava flows and lahars streamed down the mountainside wiping away everything in its path for miles. The blast deforested much of the area around the mountain.
What was left of the mountain top caved in to form what is now known as Crater Lake. The deepest like in the United States with a depth of over 1,900 feet. Continued volcanic activity caused a cinder come to form on the lake’s floor. This cone is the island we see in Crater Lake. This is called Wizard Island. You can sign up for lake tours with the ranger station.
On our visit we took the 30 mile road that hugs the rim of the crater. This is one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever taken. You will pass numerous viewpoints that provide panoramic views of Crater Lake. You can also view Vidae Falls along the rim road and wildflower gardens are also just a quick stop.
We took a short side trip to Plaikni Falls. This is a two mile hike. It’s mostly wooded and shaded. Which makes it a nice trek on a hot day. The falls themselves are surrounded by wildflowers and butterflies. The scenery is very fairytale like. I’m pretty sure gnomes and fairies live here.
Crater Lake is often considered the jewel of Oregon and it is easy to see why. The deep blue water reflects the surrounding beauty like a mirror. This National Park is not one to miss. Dogs are allowed in some parts of the park, check the National Park site for further details.