The One Must-Do Hike at Crater Lake National Park

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Cleetwood Cove Hike

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

It’s one thing to see Crater Lake from above, but if you want to get up close and personal there’s only one way – Cleetwood Cove, a short but steep hike from the rim to the lake. It’s the only spot to access the lake.

Length: 2.2 miles

Elevation gain: 700 feet

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Getting To the Hike

The trailhead had just opened up for the season the day before our visit in late May…with a slight catch: the road was only open through the North Junction, so we had to park there and walk an 4 miles along the East Rim Drive to get to the Cleetwood Cove trailhead, which turned our total hike into 10 miles. No big deal, right?! I’ve highlighted the Cleetwood Cove trailhead and road we walked on the map above.

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

The road was plowed and paved but as you can see there was still A LOT of snow.

Know Before You Go

The road into the Rim Village area of Crater Lake is open most of the year unless there is heavy snow. Many other roads and trails open sometime in May or June, and East Rim Drive opens last.

If you’re planning to visit you can read more about current weather conditionsand road closures at Crater Lake on the NPS website.

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

At the Lake

In the summer you can catch a boat tour (reservation details online – I’d love to go back for the Wizard Island tour sometime!) or go for a swim in the lake at the end of the Cleetwood Cove hike – but the area at the bottom is small so be prepared for crowds!

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And don’t forget: no matter what time of year you’re hiking, bring water, wear sunscreen, and pay attention to all the signs about rockslide areas and staying on the trail.

Cleetwood Cove Hike, Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

About Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is in southern Oregon. The lake is the result of a volcano eruption 7,000 years ago, and it’s still an active volcano. At 1,943 feet deep, it’s the deepest lake in the United States.

Besides hiking and boat tours, biking the 31-mile ride around the rim is a popular activity in the summer. Check the Travel Oregon website for more info on the bike ride.

Have you spent any time exploring Crater Lake? I’d love to know your favorite activity, what you think is the best hike, and any scoop if you’ve done the boat ride or biked along Rim Road!

The Must-Do Hike Crater Lake National Park | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

2 thoughts on “The One Must-Do Hike at Crater Lake National Park

  1. Astrid Vinje says:

    I would love to do that hike some day. We visited Crater Lake last summer with my two little ones, and I was so tempted to have them try it, but figured it might have to wait until they’re a bit older.

  2. Emily says:

    Yes!! We came last year in June and I was SHOCKED at how much snow there still was! Thank you for sharing about the lake access point, next time Berty and I head that way we will definitely check it out!!

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