A Lake of Perfect Blue in Southern Oregon

Adventures unearthed from a volcanic landscape
March 11, 2018

“I expected something remarkable but was not prepared for a scene of such wonder and beauty … How exquisite, rare, unreal.”—Zane Grey, 1919

Formed by the eruption of Mount Mazama more than 6,000 years ago, the view of the impossibly azure water of Crater Lake has inspired countless writers, photographers and visitors over the years.

It’s the final payoff to any trip to Southern Oregon, where a visit to historic gold rush towns and award-winning wineries can be paired with discovering one of the West’s largest cave systems and rafting iconic rivers, like the Umpqua and the Rogue. Here’s how to start exploring.

The Creation of Crater Lake

Thousands of years ago, the cataclysmic eruption of Mt. Mazama created what we now call Crater Lake —and accounts of the dramatic event live on in both the geologic record and in Native American legends.

Find Your Park: Crater Lake

Most of Crater Lake’s visitors come in the summer, but this National Park is worth exploring in all four seasons. Here are the wonders you can expect to find in winter, spring, summer and fall when you explore the country’s deepest lake.

Summer Weekend at Crater Lake

Countless generations have waxed rhapsodic over the sight of Crater Lake’s blue waters. It’s the view that compels people from all over the world to visit Oregon’s most popular national park site. Here’s what to expect if you plan a visit during the busy season.

Southern Oregon Lake Country

With warmer temperatures and beautiful byways, this region makes for a fun road trip with great hiking, bird watching and boating. Follow this itinerary to check out the state’s beautiful southern lake country.

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

The high points are many on this volcano-to-volcano 140-mile drive, where eons of eruptions and lava flows left a fiery heritage of cinder cones, pumice plains and unforgettable Crater Lake.

Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway

Two of Oregon’s nationally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers lead the way on this 172-mile route, an ever-changing feast of white water, waterfalls and deep gorges gouged in the deeply forested southern Cascade Mountains.


Yes, you can download this wallpaper (and others) for your digital device.

About The
Author

Scenic Drives

Oregon Outback Scenic Byway
Umpqua River Scenic Byway
Myrtle Creek-Canyonville Tour Route
Canyonville, Southern Oregon
Cow Creek Tour Route

Outdoor Adventures

Riding Vehicle-Free on the Crater Lake Rim Road
Oregon Caves National Monument
Cave Junction, Southern Oregon
3 Days in the Umpqua Valley
Table Rocks, Oregon’s Islands in the Sky
5 Must-See Waterfalls Along the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers
Pedal and Sip in the Applegate Valley
Grants Pass, Southern Oregon
Hiking the Rogue River
Grants Pass, Southern Oregon
5 Stress-Busting Hikes in Southern Oregon

Arts & Culture

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Southern Oregon Arts & Bounty Electric Byway
The Running Y Ranch Resort
Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon
Britt Music Festival
Jacksonville, Southern Oregon

Family Fun

Crater Lake Zipline
Klamath Falls, Southern Oregon
Summer Family Fun in Southern Oregon
Wildlife Images Heals the Animal World
The Oregon Vortex / House of Mystery
Family Road Trip to the North Umpqua River
Idleyld Park, Southern Oregon
Elkton’s Butterfly Playground
Explore the Wildlife Safari
Fall Family Must-Dos in Southern Oregon

Trip Ideas

  • How to Bring Oregon’s Magic to Life
    Shooting stars streak across the night sky as the sun sinks into the Pacific Ocean. Hot air balloons soar over wine country, grape vines unfurling beneath them. Wild horses stream through a desert canyon, and... More
    Alison Hallett, Guest Author

Ask Oregon

Can you swim in Crater Lake?

Good question! Short answer, yes, but there is actually only one place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lake shore and swim at Crater Lake National Park. It is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which usually opens mid to late June. The Cleetwood trail is just over one mile long (each…

More