41 Facts About Crater Lake


Each year, more than 500,000 hikers flock to Crater Lake National Park for a chance to swim, boat, and to just take in this natural wonder! Its blue waters are visible for a limited time, which makes it even more popular with visitors from around the globe. But Crater Lake is more than just a crystal clear body of water. It’s a region filled with old lush forests, evergreens, and remnants of ancient volcanoes. Keep on reading to learn 41 facts about Crater Lake National Park.

Fact 1: Crater Lake is a deep, clear, blue lake located within a huge volcanic caldera in the Cascade Range, in southwestern Oregon, U.S.

Fact 2: The lake can be found about 50 miles northeast of Medford.

Fact 3: A volcanic crater is when a volcano collapses in on itself which is exactly what the lake is. 

Fact 4: In 1902, the lake and its surrounding region officially became Crater Lake National Park.

Fact 5: The park covers an area of 53.35 km². 

Fact 6: By the early 21st century the park had more than 90 miles of hiking trails.

Fact 7: The crater from which the lake was formed is the remnant of the volcano, Mount Mazama.

Fact 8: The crater is about 6 miles in diameter now. 

Fact 9: Mount Mazama, the volcano, is likely to have risen up to a height of 12,000 feet in its original form. 

Fact 10: Interestingly, an eruption about 7,700 years ago destroyed the upper portion of the volcano when it was in its volcanic state. 

Fact 11: Crater Lake stands at a height of 6,173 feet above sea level.

Fact 12: The lake has an average depth of about 1,500 feet . 

Fact 13: It’s the deepest lake in the United States, and the 7th deepest lake in the world according to underwater mapping of the lake in 2000. 

  • It was established that the lake had a maximum depth of 1,949 feet, making it the deepest lake in the United States. 

Fact 14: Its waters are exceptionally clear, and it is often possible to see to a depth of more than 100 feet.

Fact 15: The lake’s surrounding rock walls give off ochre (yellow/natural clay) and rusty colors that contrast with the lake’s striking blue waters. 

Fact 16: The intensity of the water’s color is the result of the reflection of blue and green light waves coming off the clear water.

Fact 17:  The lake’s clarity is measured by using a secchi disk.

  • A secchi disk’s goal is to determine the transparency of water. 
  • It is a black and white disk, which is 12in in diameter, that is lowered into water, while it is attached to a cable. 
  • Researchers observe how far the disk goes and if they can still see it.

Fact 18: Crater Lake receives an average of 512 inches of snow each year, making it one of the snowiest places in the U.S. 

Fact 19: The park’s official winter season lasts from November to April, but visitors are often advised that snow may last well into the months of May and June.

Fact 20: Rim Road features over 30 scenic points of interest. 

Fact 21: Rim Drive is a scenic highway in Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. It is a 33-mile loop that follows the caldera rim around Crater Lake. Visitors can see volcanic ash frozen into 100-foot-tall solid rock formations. 

Fact 22: Crater Lake features two small islands: Wizard Island and the Phantom Ship.

Fact 23: Wizard Island is a 316-acre cinder cone-shaped island located near the western side of the lake. 

Fact 24: Phantom Ship, on the other hand, is a natural rock pillar, and it is located near the southern shore.

Fact 25: In June 1853, John Wesley Hillman became the first non-Native American to explore and to report back to others about the lake, calling it the “Deep Blue Lake”.

Fact 26: The lake was renamed at least three times, as Blue Lake, Lake Majesty, and finally Crater Lake.

Fact 27: A century-old log known as the “Old Man of the Lake” can be found bobbing vertically in the water. 

Fact 28: The low temperature of the water has slowed down the decomposition of the ‘Old Man of the Lake’ , hence its longevity.

Fact 29: The Klamath tribe of Native Americans regard the lake as an “abode to the Great Spirit”.

  • According to them, the tribe’s ancestors witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and the formation of Crater Lake. 

Fact 30: In 1870, the young William Gladstone Steel made it his mission to have Crater Lake named as a national park. 

  • After reading about Crater Lake in a newspaper, Steel vowed to visit the lake one day and make it his mission to have Crater Lake named as a national park, which finally happened on May 22, 1902.

Fact 31: No streams or other tributaries flow in or out of the lake. 

Fact 32: The lake’s water level is maintained only by precipitation, evaporation, and seepage, which explains the lake’s clarity and deep blue color. 

Fact 33: At the heart of the lake is an ancient rock bearing resemblance to a ghost ship called “Phantom Ship”.

Fact 34: The ‘Phantom Ship’ structure stands 170 feet above the water.

Fact 35: The top of the Wizard Island reaches 6,933 feet above sea level. 

Fact 36: On this Wizard Island you will also find trees that are over 800 years old, and are still growing!

Fact 37: Bald Eagles fly across the lake fairly often during the summer. 

Fact 38: While Golden Eagles are a rare sight, they usually make an appearance a couple of times a year. The most common birds seen in the park are: Raven, Clark’s Nutcracker, Gray Jay, Steller’s Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, and Mountain Chickadee.

Fact 39: In 1915, Crater Lake Lodge opened its doors to the park’s visitors.

  • When Crater Lake Lodge opened in 1915, it drew many visitors despite the lack of amenities. 
  • The magnificent view of Crater Lake and the surrounding peaks of the Cascade Mountains kept a steady flow of visitors coming to the lodge.

Fact 40: Crater Lake features 50-foot pinnacles that rise from Sand Creek Canyon. 

Fact 41: The pinnacles you can see were the steam vents of Mount Mazama in its heyday. 

References:

Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4

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