This was our 2nd time at Crater Lake and it’s still amazing to us. The prestine crystal blue water is a sight to see when you hike down and from the rim, the dark blue color is breathtaking.
The rim drive is a must do and something that took us around 2 hours to do even with a toddler stopping at almost all of the view points. We did the pinnacles trail and that was very short and sweet hike to see pinnacles emerging from the ground. A really good hike for kids.
We did not hike down to the waters this time around but we did do that last time we were here and I would recommend hiking down to see clear the blue water. Hiking down is very easy and gravity just pulls you down but hiking up is SUPER steep and will take you double the time to do. We went in the summer time and there were sooooo many bugs while hiking so be prepared to bring bug spray. In the fall, we did not see as many bugs this time around so I feel like colder weather is better to hike at Crater Lake.
Crater Lake campgrounds closed after Oct 1st and since we came a few days after and so we booked the Crater Lake Lodge, the only available lodging option at Crater Lake. It is a very old hotel which is ran by the parks services and closes in the winter time due to weather and driving conditions and therefore, the prices are expensive for a 2-star quality hotel. I would recommend camping at Crater Lake instead of staying at the lodge so go before Oct 1st!
Our recommend length of stay at Crater Lake is 3 nights which will allow you to relax and enjoy the rim, hike down, and go to hikes in the park but you can also take a day trip here from Portland as well if you move quickly.
Beyond Crater Lake is a hidden gem that we highly recommend driving the extra hour to get to Umpqua Hotsprings. There are 8 pools with different temperature (hottest is the first pool and then gets colder as you go down since the hot water runs from the top). It is a very short 3/4 mile hike up to it and pretty easy going down during the non winter months. Winter months, it can take up to 2 hours because of how steep it is. Our 4 yrs old toddler had no problem walking on this trail and he loved the hot springs. For more photos, they can be found here.
Relax and soak in some perfect temperature water