Crater Lake Hiking Trails

Hiking trails in Crater Lake are rather limited, since the lake is the main attraction. However, there are still some good dayhiking trails in the park. Most of those in the lake area are described below. Hiking distances given below are total, roundtrip distances unless otherwise stated. Difficulties are only a general guideline, for an adult in good condition, and do not take into account trail length.

Crater Lake National Park Trails Locator Map
(click map to open very large locator map of the hikes below)


Castle Crest Wildflower Nature Trail in Crater Lake National Park

Castle Crest Wildflower Nature Trail

Length
0.4 miles
Difficulty
Easy
Trailhead
#1 - Castle Crest parking area
This hike begins from the Castle Crest parking area located along Rim Drive only 0.3 miles from the South Entrance Road. Although there are no views of the lake, this hike is well worth taking, especially if you like wildflowers, which bloom all over the trail area in summer. A small stream also runs through the area, providing water for the very lush vegetation.
Cleetwood Cove in Crater Lake National Park

Cleetwood Cove

Length
2.2 miles
Difficulty
Moderately Difficult
Trailhead
#2 - Cleetwood Cove parking area
This hike begins from the Cleetwood Cove parking area located along Rim Drive 4.6 miles from the North Entrance Road. This trail provides the only safe (and legal) access to the lake shore. It descends nearly 700 feet from the rim to the lake and is difficult on the return, especially given the high elevation. This is the hike every person taking the boat ride must make.
Mount Scott Trail in Crater Lake National Park

Mount Scott

Length
5.0 miles
Difficulty
Difficult
Trailhead
#3 - Mount Scott parking area
This hike begins from the Mount Scott parking area located along Rim Drive 10.1 miles from the North Entrance Road. The trail climbs to the highest point in the park, the summit of Mount Scott. It starts at 7,450 feet and rises to 8,929 feet over its distance, resulting in a very steep hike. Given the high elevations, this hike can be very demanding for anyone not used to the elevation.
Sun Notch Viewpoint in Crater Lake National Park

Sun Notch Viewpoint

Length
0.5 miles
Difficulty
Moderately Easy
Trailhead
#4 - Sun Notch parking area
This hike begins from the Sun Notch parking area located along Rim Drive 4.4 miles from the South Entrance Road. This short trail climbs relatively steeply to a viewpoint over the lake named Sun Notch. It is an exceptional view, and is well worth the short climb.
Watchman Trail in Crater Lake National Park

Watchman Overlook

Length
1.4 miles
Difficulty
Difficult
Trailhead
#5 - Watchman parking area
This hike begins from the Watchman/Wizard Island Overlook parking area located along Rim Drive 2.1 miles from the North Entrance Road. The trail climbs the rocky slopes to a fire lookout and a panoramic view of the lake and the southern part of the park.


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