Crater Lake is an ancient caldera in the southern part of Oregon. It’s known for extremely low water temperatures and is the deepest lake in the United States, with an average depth of 1,148 feet. The legends of the Native American Klamath tribe call it the site of an ancient battle between the gods of the sky and the underworld. Due to its lack of tributaries, its water is some of the purest in North America.
Access and Accommodations: Crater is a five hour drive from Portland, so plan to at least spend the night if not a long weekend, in the area. Check out craterlakelodges.com for options. There are also two campgrounds in the park. Visit nps.gov/crla for info. From Portland, take Interstate 5 south to OR-58 E to Crater Lake North Highway, which does have seasonal closures depending on snow levels, so check before you go.
Fees: $10 for a single car seven-day pass, or $5 per person for motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
What to do: With 90 miles of hiking trails, there's plenty of ground to cover on foot. Or take in the views from the 33-mile rim road that circles the lake and has plenty of well-marked overlooks. Wizard Island (a volcanic formation in the middle of the lake) can be reached via summer-only boat tours. Visit nps.gov/crla for more.