This page about Crater Lake National Park is for the guests of the Inn of the Beachcomber and those of you that are planning a trip to Oregon. We are planning to offer more information about Crater Lake National Park as we have time but thought we would at least offer this as a start. The Beachcomber is a 47 unit inn located on the beach in Gold Beach Oregon. We hope you enjoy our live webcam of our beach. The Beachcomber is approximately 230 miles from Crater Lake National Park. Here areDirections to Gold Beach from Crater Lake. We are only 53 miles from the redwood national parks
The first thing to know about Crater Lake is that like lots of cool things itís been here a while. The second thing is that itís a bit of a freak. It all got started when Mount Mazama was the tallest peak in Oregon at 12,000 feet. Then it had a huge eruption. It scattered stuff all around. The big bang for Crater Lake was a massive eruption around 5400 B.C. After the eruption was over the caldera rim of Crater Lake had an elevation from 7,000 to 8,000 feet. The eruption was estimated to have spewed 12 cubic miles of rhyodacite (I donít know what that is but I bet it looks like rock) over the area. Driving around the area you can still see where that 5000 feet of mountain landed when Mount Mazama had a sudden 5,000 foot change in elevation. The caldera was formed that became Crater Lake. Later Lava eruptions created Wizard Island and Merriam Cone. It is estimated that it took 720 years to fill the lake to its present depth.
The third interesting fact about the lake is that Crater Lake has no inlets or tributaries. Because itís so deep the waters of Crater Lake are some of the purest in terms of the absence of pollutants in North America. Crater Lake is 5 by 6 miles across and has an average depth of 1,148 feet. At its deepest Crater Lake has been measured at 1,949 feet which makes Crater Lake the deepest lake in the United States. Comparing average depths of the deeper lakes of the world Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the Western Hemisphere and the third deepest in the world. If you look at the average depth of the lakes whose basins are entirely above sea level, Crater Lake is the deepest. This all makes Crater Lake a darn cool place to visit.
This was obvious to the tribes of the Klamath basin that occupied the area where Crater Lake is located for over 13,000 years. Yes that means the Klamath Indians have seen the before and after pictures. The place, what we call Crater Lake was always a special place. The tribes knew of a place, Giiwas, which we know as Crater Lake. In 1864 the Klamath Tribes (Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin band of Snake Indians) signed the Treaty of 1864 with the United States Government which included Giiwas (Crater Lake) within the Treaty boundaries. The tribes rights were ignored and on May 22, 1902, Giiwas (Crater Lake) became Crater Lake National Park. The Lake was first discovered by non natives on June 12, 1853, John Wesley Hillman the first non Native American to see what the Indians knew as Giiwas. Hillman named the lake "Deep Blue Lake" in Oregon. The lake was renamed at least three times, as Blue Lake, Lake Majesty, and finally Crater Lake.
Crater Lake Lodge
Crater Lake lodge was built in 1915 by Portland developer Alfred Parkhurst with the encouragement of William Steel. The building of the lodge was difficult because of its severe weather and remote location over lots of miles of unpaved roads. The Lodge was built to encourage tourism at the new park and if you think about how far it is from the major cities on the west coast it was an ambitious project. The lodge was a bit rustic in the sense that it was not finished to the standards of most hotels of the day. The ever increasing cost resulting from the location and climate required Parkhurst to find savings in other parts of the project. When the lodge was finally opened in the summer of 1915, the interior was primitive. The exterior walls were finished in tar paper while the interior walls of the guest rooms were competed in thin beaver board, a cardboard like covering. There were no private bathrooms, and a small generator provided electricity. The lodge never really was completed until the restoration in 1991 that cost $15,000,000 and was concluded in 1994.
Crater Lake Weather
The park is always open. I think that means they plow the roads to the main lodge area.
I can tell you from experience that there is a lot of snow above 6000 feet in the Oregon Mountains when it is cold. The rim of the lake elevations varies from 7,000 to 8,000 feet. What this tells you is that a lot of the time some of the roads and facilities are closed during the winter because of the snow. Thatís the reason it was so tough to build the lodge a 100 years ago. Information on the status of roads can be found on the parks Current Conditions page. www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/current-conditions.htm
Crater Lake National Park & Redwood National Park
To and From Gold Beach Oregon
Crater Lake National Park or just Crater Lake is either 238 miles or 229 miles from the Inn of the Beachcomber here in Gold Beach Oregon. The great thing is either way you go itís going to be a spectacular drive. There is enough to do to make it a one night stay before you get to the redwoods unless you are staying at the Crater Lake Lodge. If you have never been to this neck of the woods and are checking out the Crater Lake National & Redwood National Parks the Beachcomber and Gold Beach is a great stop over. This is especially true if you plan ahead and reserve a jet boat trip up the famous Rogue River. Google maps will tell you to head from Crater Lake National Park to Oregon State Hwy 138, by Diamond Lake to Roseburg, and then to Hwy 42 to Bandon. The Beachcomber is 55 miles from Bandon, Oregon down Hwy 101. The pros to that drive are seeing Diamond Lake, Wildlife Safari in Winston, and the chance to play golf at Bandon Dunes. That drive is about 238 miles of 2 lane state highways through Jack Pine, Lodge Pole Pine, and Douglas Fir forest. If you fly into PDX and rent a car I would head on over Mount Hood and see a little bit of central Oregon before heading to Crater Lake. The drive from Bend Oregon to Crater Lake Or is a little over 2.5 hours which gives you a fair amount of daylight in the summer and enough time to find a place to stay in Shady Cove Or Grants Pass. It can be pretty warm in the summer in the Ashland Grants Pass climate zone, which will usually make you welcome the 63 degree weather at the Beachcomber. If I planned a trip from Portland I would head over to either Hood River and Multnomah Falls or Bend, the Deschutes River, and Three Sisters then leave from Bend in the AM. I would do the Bandon route to the redwoods just to see the drive from Port Orford to Gold Beach. Just North of Port Orford is Cape Blanco State Park, which is the home of the oldest lighthouse in Oregon. When you see Cape Blanco you will figure it out pretty easily why they put the first lighthouse here. Needless to say the scenery is spectacular. It can be pretty, I mean really windy at the cape.
The other option, 229 miles, leaves Crater Lake National Park from the south entrance on Oregon State Hwy 62 which follows the Rogue River down to the town of Shady Cove. Just pass Shady Cove you turn North on Sams Valley Hwy towards the town of Gold Hill and then to Grants Pass. A logical detour is heading to Ashland home of the Shakespeare Festival and a pretty hip downtown. Anyway, there is lots of lodging in the Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland areas. Once you leave Grants Pass on Hwy 199, Aka The Redwood Highway, you head towards Cave Junction and Oregon Caves National Monument. From Cave Junction you head south on Caves Hwy 15 miles to the Oregon Caves National Monument. For information on the Oregon caves click here, www.nps.gov/orca/index.htm. From Oregon Caves National Monument you are 42 miles from the beginning of the Redwood Parks Complex, which begins at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is 51 miles from the Inn of the Beachcomber. From the North end of the Redwood Parks there is not a lot of beachfront lodging until you get to Gold Beach
The great thing about Crater Lake National Park and the Beachcomber is that you have so many options. If youíre heading north from San Francisco, the Bandon-Roseburg-Diamond Lake route is great. If you have flown into Portland and have driven through the Bend-Sisters area, where I live, and down to Crater Lake National Park, the Shady Cove-Cave Junction route is pretty good. For you GPS lovers stay away from Bear Camp Road from Grants Pass following the Rogue River to Gold Beach. A couple of years ago the Kim Family got lost on the road in the winter and the dad did not make it out. Shortly after that the King of Jordon did the Bend-Crater Lake-Redwoods trip on Harleys. We did not have enough ocean front rooms open for the King and ended up having a bunch of Secret Service agents stay with us instead. You should have seen their eyes when they checked in and talked about the Bear Camp Road drive. I asked them why they went that way and they said it came up on the GPS. It is a great drive if you have lots of time and are prepared to drive most of it on a lane and a half road. The real problem in the summer season is the rafting vans heading down to the town of Agness to pick up the rafters and take them back to Grants Pass. These guys drive like itís the United Kingdom and the United States at the same time depending on the blind curve they are on so keep your window down so you can hear them coming.