This was my first look at Crater Lake, and boy was I impressed. The lake itself covers 20 square miles and has a surface elevation of 6,173 feet. There is a 33 mile long road which encompasses the lake (Rim Drive, East and West depending on which side of the lake you’re on) affording the viewer numerous vantage points. There are lots of pullout areas for parking and the overlooks provide some spectacular views. It wasn’t too crowded today so I never felt like I was interfering with anyone’s shot while positioning myself for taking pictures.
I will refer to various landmarks by clockface positions. I entered the Park via the south entrance but that actually put me at about 7 o’clock on the map. I traveled Rim Drive in a clockwise direction. I planned my arrival so that I would have the sun behind me as I was on the south and west sides of the lake. Because of the haze looking across the lake I am planning to come back early in the morning on Thursday and revisit the north and east sides of the lake for better pictures of the opposite banks. Because of the terrain there are not as many overlooks on the east side as there are on other parts of the lake.
As I stated, the lake has a surface elevation of 6,173 feet. These two pictures were taken from approximately 7,200 feet, and the highest point I reached today (although I didn’t check it too often) was about 7,800 feet.
According to the official Crater Lake National Park map, this area receives an average of 533 inches of snow each year (that’s 44+ feet for those of you who aren’t beancounters)! It is one of the snowiest inhabited places in North America.