Crater Lake is a hidden gem in Southern Oregon. It is about 70 miles north of Klamath Falls, centered in Crater Lake National Park. It was formed over 7000 years ago after a volcanic eruption caused Mount Mazama to explode. It’s 12,000 foot summit was reduced to 6,178 feet after it’s eruption leaving a giant hole called a caldera. That caldera filled with water over the next 700 years forming the lake we see today. Although it has been known to the Native American Indians for thousands of years, the first sighting by a white man was in 1853. John W. Hillman was a gold miner who happened to stumble upon the lake when him and his party were lost. Here are 10 facts about Crater Lake:
- The lake has no outside tributaries or estuaries, meaning there is no sources of water leading in or out the lake other than rain and snow melt.
- It is the deepest lake in the United States and the 9th deepest in the world. At it’s deepest point it reaches 1943 feet deep.
- It is actually a very dangerous place. Several deaths have occurred there over the years. You can read more about them here.
- The mysterious “Old Man Of The Lake” (picture below) is a 30 foot tree stump that has been bobbing upright in the water for over 120 years. No one knows how it’s happening.
- The lake has 4.6 trillion gallons or 4.486 cubic miles of water. If you put the World Trade Center at the deepest point of the lake it would still be 167 feet under water.
- The lake level has only varied 16 feet over the last 100 years. The amount of snow/rainfall is equal to the evaporation and seepage rate keeping the water lever fairly constant.
- The water is some of the most pristine water on earth. Because of it’s lack out outside water sources, it does not contain pollutants, pesticides, sediments or algae. This is what gives it the bright blue color.
- There are two islands in the lake. Wizard Island (pictured above) and Phantom Ship.
- The Klamath Indians may have witnessed the eruption of the mountain 700 years ago. According to the Legend, Crater Lake was created from a battle between the Earth and Sky God and the God of the Underworld.
- No boating is allowed in the lake other than the electric powered tour boat that takes you to Wizard Island. Swimming not allowed anywhere other than the end of the Cleetwood Cove Trail.
Pictures don’t do this lake any justice. It truly is an amazing sight to see in person. Get away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life and experience this amazing natural phenomenon. Summer time is the best time to go if you enjoy hiking or want to boat to the island . Winter travel can be very treacherous and roads close often due to snow. You can stay in the lodge and there is plenty of parking. Watch the chipmunks they can be a little aggressive and steal your food if you’re not watching it.