Day 2 was our started by completing the drive to Crater Lake. Like a lot of the National Parks, the area you want to get to ends up being rather remote and it was about a 45 minute drive from the nearest town into the closest visitor center. With that in mind, I should have stopped for gas at that nearest town… Fortunately, the park is pretty well developed and has a small general store with fuel near Mazama Village where the campsite was (3).
We stopped at Watchmen’s Overlook (1) on the way in. It overlooks the lake from the point nearest Wizard Island – the large island in Crater Lake. Crater Lake, for those who might not know, is a former volcano whose caldera collapsed. Slowly the hole filled rain and melted snow to form a late that’s nearly 2000 ft deep, very cold and thus very blue. The surrounding area is pretty rocky and from what we saw mostly forested with evergreens.
After stopping at the overlook and the visitor center (2), where I made the mistake of passing on acquiring a nice souvenir pint glass, we continued on to the campground, pitched camp, made some food and went out for a few short hikes to some of the waterfalls. The first was Vidae Falls, which I think was a bit underwhelming; it’s right on the road though so it didn’t take much effort to see. The second was Plainki Falls (4), which was about a 1.5 mile round trip on a well maintained trail. It was a bit shorter falls I think, but higher volume of water.
On our way back to the campground we stopped briefly at Kerr Notch but then continued on to Sun Notch (5) which seemed like a good place to brave the wind and try for sunset pictures. Neither of us had really packed warm gear, which was a bit of a mistake since Crater Lake is at decently high altitude, but we did have raincoats / windbreakers which helped a lot. After sunset we headed back to the campground, had a nice little campfire (cut wood was plentiful in the campground) offloaded pictures and pre-brewed some coffee for the next morning.
Additional notes: We were under request to find an Olympic Marmot, and we did see one between the falls on Pinnacles Road, though it was not the specific Olympic Marmot. Park map clipped from the NPS site: http://www.nps.gov/hfc/carto/PDF/CRLAmap1.pdf