6 Best Day Hikes in Crater Lake National Park


Located in Oregon, Crater Lake 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. There are only 90 miles of hiking trails in Crater Lake National Park including the 6 hikes below that you must do if visiting the area. Official Website.

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

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Crater Lake National Park

1. Garfield Peak Trail

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′ gain
  • Strenuous

2. Wizard Island Summit Trail

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′ gain
  • Moderate

3. Cleetwood Cove Trail

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′ gain
  • Moderate

4. Mount Scott Trail

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′ gain
  • Strenuous

5. Watchman Peak Trail

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′ gain
  • Moderate

6. Discovery Point Trail 

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 west side of Rim Village near the Visitor Center.

  • 2.0 miles – Out and back
  • 100′ gain
  • Easy

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