Crater Lake National Park in southwest Oregon is the ultimate destination to celebrate winter. It sees an average snowfall of 44 feet and the pristine silence that falls over America’s deepest lake is something unique and beautiful to behold. See the snow capped rim of a 2,148-foot-deep crater created by a collapsed volcano and just try not to be moved by the awesome power of nature. Limited access shouldn’t deter you and your family from visiting, as the areas of the park that are available are both beautiful and all but deserted. Many declare that winter is the time to experience the lake.
Crater lake will be very cold and very snowy, so much so that the north entrance and the drive around the rim will be closed until the summer. However the season is prime for backpacking, and rangers lead snowshoe walks on weekends through the month of April. The Rim Drive may be closed to vehicles but it is open to cross country skiing and presents a truly unique take on this beloved vista. There are a number of cross country trails as well, and plenty to see as long as conditions permit. Enjoy the deep, piercing blue of the lake juxtaposed against the pure white surrounding it for an unbelievable experience, and a set of family photos you’re guaranteed to be revisiting for the rest of your lives. Just note that gasoline is not available in the park during the winter and must be purchased on your way in or out. Also, do not expect cell phone service in the area and plan accordingly. Be sure to work out an emergency contingency plan as a family that does not depend on cell phones.
Be sure to check the park’s guide to planning your visit for all sorts of details and information to help you plot out the logistics. You’ll find guides to Ranger Programs as well as a Backcountry Guide for Winter.
If you’d like to learn more, visit Crater Lake National Park’s Official Site.
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