One week before the Labor Day weekend we had nothing planned, and given that Crater Lake National Park had been on the list for a couple of years, we decided that this was the right time to head to South Oregon.
Over the years we have learned that long-distance driving makes us grumpy, so we decided to try the Amtrak Cascades train from Seattle’s King Station all the way to Eugene, the closest city to Crater Lake. I had never been on a train before, so that made the trip all the more exciting.
The train ride was actually better than we expected, with seats as wide as those on planes’ first-class, wide windows and high-quality food. The first batch of Ivar’s clam chowder was gone in less than 30 minutes. Fortunately they were able to prepare a second batch, which we enjoyed a lot.
Distances around Eugene are relatively short, so we took an inexpensive taxi to the hotel, Sleep Inn & Suites, which I cannot recommend enough. They have real hot continental breakfast with eggs, sausage and waffles.
In the morning we rented a car and it took us 2.5 hours to reach the park’s North entrance. We got there at 12, which probably is too late if you only have one day to visit.
We ended up circumnavigating the lake, stopping at all major view points and even hiking two trails in 6 hours. This is what we encountered:
One of the first pull outs. You start savoring the majestic views.
After a cloudy hour we got a glimpse of sun. This is halfway through the road that encircles the lake.
Personally my favorite view of the lake. We had a lot more sun. We took a the Cleetwood Cove trail down to the bottom of the lake, where boat tours start and end. The trail is described as strenuous, but at only 2 miles of roundtrip length and about 500ft of elevation, it is worth the effort.
The colors are as magical as they were described by friends.
Trees along the Cleetwood Cove Trail.