According to existingcountries, Crater Lake is the only national park located in the US state of Oregon. Located in the Cascade Range, its biggest attraction is undoubtedly the beautiful blue lake with crystal clear water, which lies at an altitude of more than 2000 meters above sea level.
The lake was formed in the crater of the original Mount Mazama volcano, which erupted more than 7,700 years ago, and after the magma was emptied, the mountain was completely destroyed. This eruption was very strong, even much stronger than the eruption of Mount St. Helena in 1980. Since this mountain crater has no natural drainage, its floor was filled with rain and melting snow over the next 5 thousand years. The level of the resulting lake thus depends on the amount of precipitation and also on evaporation.
The lake’s current depth is around 593 meters, making Crater Lake the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh in the world. Thanks to this incredible depth, but also thanks to the purity of the air and water, the lake also has a uniquely deep blue color. On sunny days, the light here creates a unique spectrum of colors and visitors can enjoy a beautiful spectacle.
People have lived in the area for more than 10 thousand years. The first inhabitants were the Indians of the Klamath tribe, who even became direct witnesses of the then massive volcanic eruption. The first white explorers who reached these places were 3 prospectors who searched for gold deposits in the local mountains around 1853. When they discovered the lake, they named it Deep Blue Lake, but as they did not find any precious metals there, they continued without much interest. The lake fell into oblivion again for many years.
Crater Lake National Park was established in 1902 as the sixth national park in America. WG Steel paid considerable attention to the location and tried to support it in the long term, thus contributing significantly to the creation of the park. In 1915, the Crater Lake Lodge Hotel was opened on the south side of the crater, which resulted in a significant development of tourism. Three years later, the 33-mile Rim Drive opened, circling the entire crater and providing countless views of the lake. In addition to several shops, the park also has two visitor centers. During the winter season, much of the park is closed due to snow, with the exception of the Rim Village. In several places, the snow is maintained year-round, so it is not unusual to encounter a two-meter melting snowdrift by the road here in mid-July.
In the summer season, you can go on an attractive cruise on the lake, which is regularly organized by the national park administration. If you are interested, you can be dropped off at Wizard Island, where after some time another passing ship will pick you up again – if it is not full. Otherwise, the castaway must wait on the island until one of the last free ships arrives for him.
In addition to the lake, there are many other attractions in the park, such as the Pumice Desert. It is an environment with preserved traces of volcanic activity. Also unmissable is Pinnacle Valley with its pointed tower rock formations, which are the remains of ancient sulfur chimneys.