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Crater Lake — Photo Collection

Crater lake is a beautiful caldera lake (a basin formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama volcano’s rim around 7,700 years ago) in south-central Oregon state.

Crater Lake’s maximum depth of 1,949 feet makes it the deepest lake in the United States. One of the least polluted lakes in the U.S., Crater Lake was filled to its current average depth of 1,148 feet with precipitation, mostly snow, over perhaps 250 or more years. Current average annual snowfall is 533 inches, about 44 feet. There is no inlet or outlet to the lake.
Crater Lake National Park was established in 1902, the 5th National Park in the U.S. and the only one in Oregon. A rim road circles the lake with numerous opportunities to stop for sightseeing. The highest elevation on the rim drive is 7,865 feet above sea level.
The most prominent feature in the lake is an island — formed by a cinder cone — known as Wizard Island. Numerous rock formations around the rim and a much smaller island add additional interest. A large lodge and a few supporting buildings at the south end comprise Rim Village.

Crater Lake

A panoramic view of Crater Lake.

Visibility of up to 143 feet has been measured at the lake. Water purity gives it a deep blue color.


Clear blue water of Crater Lake

Sinnott Memorial Observation Station and Museum, 900 feet above the lake was completed in 1931.


Wizard Island in Crater Lake

Sinnott Memorial was designed to be virtually invisible from the lake.


A trail beginning near Rim Village leads to the observatory.


From the observatory Llao Rock, a great mass of dacite from a lava flow preceding the collapse of the rim, can be seen behind Wizard Island. The top of Llao Rock is the highest point on the rim.


View of Wizard Island having traveled clockwise from Rim Village on Rim Drive.


The cone at the top of Wizard Island, about 300 feet deep, fills with snow in the winter.


Wizard Island cone

Looking left toward Llao Rock from here you see several interesting volcanic rock formations.


A second smaller island rising 163 feet above the lake’s surface is known as the Phantom Ship.


Certain weather conditions make the island, which resembles a sailing ship, difficult to see.


Located at the base of Dutton Cliff, each side of the Phantom Ship is visible from different view points.


Another Geological feature on the rim is known as Pumice Castle. It reminds me of the Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon NP.


The Pumice Castle formation is about 1,300 feet above the lake and 400 feet below the rim.


Crater Lake Lodge, built to encourage tourism to Crater Lake, opened in 1915. Completely rebuilt, it re-opened in 1995.


Trolley service is available from Rim Village with a National Park interpreter/guide.


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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2016 Lee W. Nelson