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Crater Lake National Park Hiking

There are more than 90 miles of trails leading into the backcountry of Crater Lake National Park. These are usually snow-free from mid-July to early-October. Just over 90% of the park is managed as wilderness, though these areas have yet to be designated as such.

A permit is required for all overnight trips.

The Pacific Crest Trail passes through the park for 30 miles. Be prepared for sudden and extreme weather changes. Be prepared for the unexpected and carry extra food and water. Always carry raingear. Pack-out or bury human waste more than 200 feet from water. Stay on trails. Dogs and other pets, bicycles, and motor vehicles are NOT allowed on any park trails. Remember, elevations range from 6,000-9,000 feet- take it easy and have fun! Regulations Preservation and enjoyment of Crater Lake's backcountry depends in large part upon your careful and considerate use. Observe these regulations and try to incorporate minimum impact suggestions into your backcountry trip. If you follow all of the regulations and suggestions, you will provide others the opportunity for solitude and a quality experience. The following states the rules and regulations that must be followed. Violation of these rules can lead to issuance of a citation and a fine. We also offer suggestions on minimum impact camping that will allows your visit to remain memorable while leaving little or no trace of your presence for the future. While on backcountry trip - why not set a goal? The goal may be to leave as little human impact as possible on the environment. Some of the following ideas on the reverse side could help you...

  • No hiking or climbing inside the rim except on the Cleetwood Trail.

  • Backcountry use permits are required for all backcountry overnight stays. They are issued from park visitor centers during their regular hours of operation and by any patrol ranger on duty.

  • Open campfires are allowed only if "dead and down" wood is used to fuel the fire. Cutting or damaging living or standing vegetation is prohibited. Use existing fire rings.

  • Camping and open fires are prohibited in the following areas to protect the experience of other visitors and to preserve specific fragile areas: Within one mile of any paved road, nature trail or developed area. Within 1/4 mile of Boundary Springs or Sphagnum Bog. Within 100 feet of any water source. Within 100 feet of any trail or other camping party, except when using a designated campsite. Between Rim Drive and Crater Lake and on Phantom Ship or Wizard Island. Atop Mt. Scott and along the trail to the its summit. Within any meadow.

  • Maximum party size is limited to 8 persons (and 12 head of stock) for all overnight trips. Larger parties must break into smaller groups, traveling and camping as distinct, separate groups.

  • Firearms, bicycles, and motorized vehicles are not permitted in the backcountry.

  • Pets are not allowed on any park trail (including the Pacific Crest Trail), nor anywhere else in the backcountry.

  • Garbage should be packed out and the campsite left clean. Use privies where available, otherwise make your toilet in a shallow slit trench and cover when finished. Make toilets away from camp and over 100 feet from any water source.

  • Bears may enter a campsite in search of food. All food items must be suspended from a tree branch, at least 10 feet above the ground and at least 4 feet horizontally from the trunk. Store and prepare food well away from your sleeping area. Food is defined as any packaged, bottled or canned consumables, drinks, toiletries, perfumes, soaps etc.

  • Leave No Trace Concepts Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. Leave what you find.
  • Camp and travel on durable surfaces.
  • Minimize use and impact of fires.
  • Properly dispose of what you cannot pack out.

Hiking Trails

Sun Notch Viewpoint
  • .5 mile roundtrip Short stroll, allow 30 minutes Overlook of Crater Lake and Phantom Ship Castle
Crest Wildflower Garden
  • .5 mile loop trail Short stroll, allow 30 minutes Display of wildflowers in August Godfrey Glen 1 mile loop trail Gentle level hike, allow 45 minutes Overlook of Annie Creek Canyon
Watchman Peak
  • 1.4 miles roundtrip Moderate climb, 500ft. rise, allow 1 hour Historic fire tower, overlook of Wizard Island
Annie Creek Canyon
  • 1.7 mile loop Moderate climb, allow 1.5 hours Deep stream cut canyon
Garfield Peak
  • 3.4 miles roundtrip Strenuous climb, 1,000ft. rise, allow 2 to 3 hours Panoramic views,
Mt. Scott

5 - miles roundtrip Strenuous climb, 1,500ft. rise, allow 3 hours Highes peak in park, historic fire tower

Cleetwood Cove Trail

Visitors wishing to reach the lakeshore of Crater Lake will need to hike the Cleetwood Cove trail. Located on the north side of Crater Lake, it is the only safe and legal access to the lake. The trail is one mile in length (one-way) and drops 700 feet as you descend from the East Rim Drive trailhead to the lakeshore. On your return trip, this is comparable to climbing 65 flights of stairs! The Cleetwood Cove hiking trail is recommended only for those in good physical condition and should not be attempted by visitors with heart, breathing, or leg problems. It is not accessible for visitors with mobility impairments. Hikers are advised to wear closed-toe shoes and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Toilets are available at both the trailhead and the boat dock area, however are not available on Wizard Island.

Due to the park's heavy snow conditions, the trail typically does not open until late June and closes in mid-October. Stock: General Information/Regulations Horses are permitted on all trails with the following exceptions: between Rim Drive and Crater Lake, on Mt. Scott, Godfrey Glen Trail, Annie Springs Trail, and in camping areas. Group size is limited to 8 persons and 12 head of stock. For trips beginning in the park, horse trailers must park at the Pacific Crest Trail parking lot on Hwy. 62 or the PCT parking lot on the North Entrance Road. Carry and use feed pellets on all overnight stock trips as grazing is not permitted. p>

  • All other feed types are prohibited.
  • All overnight trips require a free backcountry permit.
  • Obtain other park stock use regulations at park headquarters.

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