Caroline Bonnet: Park Explorer – Parks Project

Caroline Bonnet

I discovered Crater Lake while flying to Sacramento for my Yosemite trip in June 2016. Did you know that Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA with a depth of 1,943 ft? 

What an amazing scenery! I told myself "I want to go there"! Well, I did this past summer. My boyfriend and I went for a road trip from Seattle, which was a 6h drive. We drove at night and arrived early morning on Saturday. I was very excited about this trip. We planned to stay for the weekend and do backpacking in the park. I was hoping we could find a spot around the lake and have a view of it but unfortunately there is no summer camping with a view of the lake. 

We stopped at some overlooks on the West Rim drive while heading to the Park Headquarters to get our free backcountry permit. I couldn't wait to see the lake with my own eyes. Then, we did two easy hikes (The Pinnacles and Plaikni Falls) before we started to find a camp spot for the night. We walked about 2 miles on Grayback Drive, left the dirt road and went down into the forest to set up our camp. We had a nice but far view of Union Peak. Although it was early September, it was very cold at night. 

The Pinnacles

 Plaikni Falls

 

We walked about 2 miles on Grayback Drive, left the dirt road and went down into the forest to set up our camp. We had a nice but far view of Union Peak. Although it was early September, it was very cold at night. 

Campsite

Union Peak

 

Day 2 we started early at Garfield Peak and avoided the crowd that we saw on our way down. It's a 3.6 mile hike with a panoramic view of the lake along the way to the top. We shared the top with about 5 people, took some pictures and had breakfast.

Garfield Peak 

Then, we stopped at Watchman overlook, which is my favorite, and hiked Watchman Peak. It's a short 1.6 mile hike that leads to a fire lookout above Wizard Island. The view was spectacular and the blue color of the water was incredible. 

Watchman Overlook

We ended the day at Mt Scott, which is the Park's highest peak at 8,929 ft. It's a 4.4 mile hike with a 1,250ft elevation gain and leads to a fire lookout. We could see the lake from another perspective, a bit further than all the other views we had seen before. 

Mt. Scott

Lake View

Fire Lookout

 

Winter Visit

Our minds were blown away because this place was just breath taking. It made me want to go back in winter... and I did... 

 

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