Snowshoeing at Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is by far one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited. Located in Southern Oregon, the park is home to the famous Crater Lake. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the area several times, during all four seasons. However, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken was snowshoeing at Crater Lake in the winter.
The drive from Seattle to Crater Lake National Park is about six and a half hours long. This may not be a quick weekend getaway from town, but it’s well worth the trip. If you’d rather fly, you have a few different options. There are airports in Medford, Eugene, and Bend. Crater Lake is located pretty much in-between all three Oregon cities. The drive from Medford and Bend to Crater Lake is a little more than 90 minutes. From Eugene, it is a little more than two hours.
Measuring 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest lake in the entire world. The water is some of the clearest you’ll ever see. It’s so clear that it sparkles and is a beautiful, deep blue color. Crater Lake is also one of the snowiest places in America. According to the National Park Service, Crater Lake sees an average of 533 inches of snow fall each winter. That equals about 44 feet of snow! The snow will sometimes start falling as early as September and many years won’t completely melt until August. I’ve never seen so much snow in my life, but that’s what makes snowshoeing at Crater Lake perfect!
Each winter, the National Park service at Crater Lake offers free snowshoeing tours around part of the lake. The park provides the snowshoes for free, the guide for free…everything is FREE!
The tours take about two hours and are guided by National Park Forest Rangers. I had only gone snowshoeing one time before this trip, so I didn’t have a lot of experience. That didn’t matter though. If you have never tried snowshoeing, it’s not something to be apprehensive about. If you can walk, you can go snowshoeing at Crater Lake! It’s as easy as that! It’s not scary and it doesn’t take much technical skill. It just feels like you are wearing really, really big moon boots. Plus, the park ranger is with you the whole time and is there to help if you get stuck in the snow or have questions.
The rangers not only guide you through the winter wonderland, but they also tell you all about the animals that live in the park and how they survive during the cold winter months. Besides being educational, snowshoeing at Crater Lake National Park is also a ton of fun! I went with a group of friends and had a blast. There were also a few families in our group and some couples. The group ranged from little kids to folks in their 60’s. That means snowshoeing at Crater Lake is an experience anyone at any age can enjoy. Just be sure to wear the right clothes– snow pants, a coat, lots of layers, gloves and a hat. I also wore sunglasses because the sun reflecting on the white snow made it very bright outside. Other people wore snow goggles.
The views are also spectacular when you’re snowshoeing at Crater Lake. Away from cities and big highways, you really get to experience nature at its finest. The trees are covered in beautiful, fluffy white snow. And then there is Crater Lake! That wonderful, blue, deep, clear lake in the middle of the snowy wonderland is beautiful — or — I’m pretty sure it’s beautiful in the winter. The day we went snowshoeing at Crater Lake we couldn’t see it, because fog had settled in right on top making the lake disappear. Our guide explained sometimes that happens and you just need to roll with the punches. We rolled with them that day and still had a fantastic experience. It’s something you should try, too!
Have you ever visited Crater Lake? Have you ever gone snowshoeing at Crater Lake National Park? We would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more fun Seattle getaways!