by Mary Caperton Morton Tuesday, June 12, 2018
To visit Crater Lake, fly into Portland, rent a car and take a five-hour ride down Interstate 5 and a couple of smaller highways to Crater Lake National Park. If you’re not pressed for time, take scenic routes 26 and 97 along the crest of the Cascades mountain range, where you’ll pass by 3,426-meter-tall Mount Hood, 3,200-meter-tall Mount Jefferson and 2,375-meter-tall Mount Washington. The closest large towns to the park are Bend, a picturesque ski town in the shadow of the Three Sisters and Mount Bachelor volcanoes 180 kilometers north of the park, and Medford, a town with a small airport — with daily flights from Portland — in the Rogue River Valley 120 kilometers southwest of the park. Bend/Redmond also has an airport.
Summer visitors have the option of staying at the Crater Lake Lodge, renting a rustic cabin or camping in one of two park service campgrounds. Crater Lake Lodge also offers top-notch dining and a beautiful deck that overlooks the lake — the perfect spot for a post-hike local beer or Pinot Noir. Be sure to make reservations for any of these options far in advance, as spots fill up quickly. Backcountry camping is also permitted within the park and many campsites can be found outside the park in the surrounding Rogue River, Umpqua and Winema national forests. In winter, overnight accommodations in the park are limited to backcountry snow camping, though several small inns and bed and breakfasts in nearby Fort Klamath, Chiloquin and Union Creek offer a handful of rooms.
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