6 Best Hikes in Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park Overview

Located in Oregon, Crater Lake National Park was formed over 7,700 years ago when an eruption collapsed Mount Mazama creating the deepest lake in the United States. Fed by rain and snow, the lake is a beautiful and pristine sight to behold. With only 90 miles of trails to explore, the 6 best hikes in Crater Lake National Park below are considered a must for any visitor!

StateOregon
Nearest Metro AreaMedford, OR
Area Size183,224 acres
EstablishedMay 22, 1902
Hiking Trails90 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Crater Lake National Park

Garfield Peak Trail
Crater Lake view from Garfield Peak
Crater Lake view from Garfield Peak, Photo by David Fulmer

One of the most popular hikes in Crater Lake National Park, climbing steadily up to Garfield Peak. There are incredible panoramic views as you ascend the ridge and even more at the top. The trailhead is east of Rim Village, near the Visitor Center.

  • 3.6 miles out and back
  • 1000′ elevation gain
  • Strenuous
Wizard Island Summit Trail
Crater Lake, Wizard Island OR 2006
Crater Lake, Wizard Island, Photo by Don Graham

Only accessible via boat ride to the small island, this trail heads up the cinder cone that formed Wizard Island. The trail goes around the crater of the cinder cone before heading back the way you came. The trailhead is located at the Wizard Island dock via boat ride from Cleetwood Cove.

  • 2.2 miles out and back
  • 700′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Cleetwood Cove Trail
Cleetwood Cove
Cleetwood Cove, Photo by Wayne Hsieh

This is the only trail that gives you access to the waters of Crater Lake and one you’ll have to take in order to get to Wizard Island (above). The trail on the way back up is a bit steep but this is one of the must do hikes in Crater Lake National Park. The trailhead is on the north side of the lake off of Rim Drive.

  • 2.2 miles out and back
  • 700′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Mount Scott Trail
Crater Lake Mt Scott Trail, Photo by Mark Gorzynski

Climb this ridge to the park’s highest point (8,929′). The views at the top of this hike are never ending so don’t forget to bring your camera. Prepare for a workout as this is one of the more difficult hikes in Crater Lake National Park. The trailhead is on the east side of the lake off Rim Drive.

  • 4.4 miles out and back
  • 1250′ elevation gain
  • Strenuous
Watchman Peak Trail
Crater Lake Panorama
Taken at the fire station lookout at the top of Watchman Trail, Photo by Michael Whyte

Hike to the fire lookout on the top of Watchman Peak on the west side of the lake. The lookout was built in 1932 and offers some spectacular views of the park. The trailhead is located at a parking area along Rim Drive.

  • 1.6 miles out and back
  • 400′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Discovery Point Trail 
Discovery Point, Crater Lake National Park
Discovery Point, Crater Lake National Park, Photo by ray_explores

Quick trip through the forest along the rim of Crater Lake with several beautiful vantage points along the way. The trail’s namesake comes from John Wesley Hillman first spotting Crater Lake in 1853. The trailhead is on the west side of Rim Village near the Visitor Center.

  • 2.0 miles out and back
  • 100′ elevation gain
  • Easy

Featured Image: Wizard & Llao, Photo by Thomas

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