Summer Sports & Activities
Biking -- The 33-mile circuit of Crater Lake is one of the most popular road-bike trips in the state, despite the heavy car traffic. Although it seems like an easy trip at first, numerous ups and downs (especially on the east side of the lake) turn the circuit into a demanding ride. Keep in mind that there are more hills on the east side, but also more views. An alternative is to do the 21-mile out-and-back ride from the Rim Village to the Cleetwood Cove Trailhead (and maybe add a boat tour of the lake). Diamond Lake Resort rents a limited selection of bikes in the summer for $30 a day; no rentals are available in the park.
Fishing -- Anglers occasionally try for rainbow trout and kokanee salmon near the boat dock or from Wizard Island. Licenses aren't required and only artificial lures and flies are allowed, but because fishing in the lake generally isn't very good, I suggest you stick to sightseeing and hiking in the park. However, fly-fishing in streams outside the park is pretty good -- stop at the fly-fishing shop at Steamboat Inn for information.
Swimming/Scuba Diving -- Although Crater Lake is too deep to ever reach a truly comfortable temperature (even in the summer), plenty of people do a few quick strokes to cool down after hiking the Cleetwood Cove Trail or after exploring Wizard Island. But this is an informal activity, and there are no facilities for swimmers. The lake has also emerged as a diving destination for hardcore types. The only diving access is at Cleetwood Cove and Wizard Island. There are no refills or rentals available in the immediate vicinity.
Winter Sports & Activites
Cross-Country Skiing -- The Diamond Lake Nordic Center, 4 miles north of the park on Ore. 138 (tel. 800/733-7593; www.diamondlake.net/winter.html), offers Crater Lake ski tours that include a Sno-Cat ride. The Nordic Center has 8 miles of groomed trails and more than 50 miles of marked backcountry trails. It also rents cross-country skis and boots. Maps of ski areas are available at the Steel Information Center at park headquarters.
Without a doubt, the rim of Crater Lake National Park offers some of the best cross-country skiing in the country. Not only are there numerous views of sapphire-blue Crater Lake 1,000 feet below you, but the views to the west and south take in Mount McLoughlin, Mount Shasta, and countless ridges and seemingly endless forest vistas as well. The lake rarely freezes.
The ultimate ski tour is the 30- to 33-mile circuit of the lake. Although racers have completed this route in a single day, most skiers take 3 days and enjoy the views along the way. Because the weather is better and there's still plenty of snow, March and April are the most popular months. The route is straightforward, although you may have to do some route finding on the northeast side of the lake. Be sure to get a backcountry permit for overnight trips, and check weather forecasts and avalanche danger.
The West Rim Trail, which follows Rim Drive, is the most popular day skiing area. By late November, the road is unplowed and the snow cover turns it into an excellent trail that requires a little climbing. It's best done in good weather and good snow conditions. Consult a park ranger for snow conditions before heading out.
The East Rim Trail is not as popular as the West Rim Trail, for the simple reason that the first view of the lake (depending on where you start) is between 4.25 and 5.4 miles along. This trail also has a lot more ups and downs. So, why would you want to start on this section at all? To stay out of the wind, that's why. If, after driving all the way up here, a gale-force wind is blowing up the west slopes, you don't have much choice. Never set out without checking with the rangers at park headquarters to find out about avalanche conditions and other dangers.
Snowmobiling -- During the winter, snowmobiling is allowed, but only on the north entrance road up to its junction with Rim Drive. Snowmobiles are not allowed on Rim Drive. You cannot drive snowmobiles on any park trails, either. Snowmobile rentals are available from Diamond Lake Resort at $100 for 2 hours, $200 for a half-day, and $300 for a full day, plus gas and oil. Guided snowmobile tours are $50 hourly by reservation.
Snowshoeing -- With its jewel of a lake for a centerpiece and views that extend all the way to Mount Shasta in California, Crater Lake National Park is a natural magnet for snowshoers. The West Rim Trail is the most popular route with both snowshoers and cross-country skiers, but snowshoers have the advantage of being able to go where few skiers can. Before you head out, discuss possible routes with the rangers and ask about avalanches and other potential dangers.
If you've never snowshoed before, you can give it a try at Rim Village, where 90-minute guided snowshoe hikes begin at 1pm on weekends from late December through early April. Call the visitor center (tel. 541/594-3100) for reservations; snowshoes are provided free.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.