If you ever find yourself wondering what true blue looks like, make your way over to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Not much can prepare you for the stunningly pure blue contained in that ancient crater Mount Mazama left behind in its collapse. Because the watershed is contained by the crater walls, with the only water added coming from snowmelt or rainfall, Crater Lake has some of the purest water in the world. It has aided scientists by providing a background standard for fresh water sources. The secchi disk readings within the lake are unheard of other places in the world. For all you non-scientist types – secchi disks are used to measure water clarity, basically you lower the disk in the water and keep lowering it until you can’t see the disk any longer.
Any of the viewpoints along the Rim Drive allow you to gaze down into the unreal depths of the crater. Here we weren’t lucky with our timing, however. We had hoped to hike on the one trail that allowed you to go down towards the lake (and even down to swim!). But, alas, the trail was closed. Or rather, all parking within a mile and a half of the trail was closed, and the shuttle bus takes an extra two hours. So we didn’t have the time to devote to this trail (by this point we had decided to meet my sister at Zion National Park in just four short days).
Although we weren’t able to hike down to the lake, we were able to hike high above to get a better vantage point on the crater. The top of the Garfield Peak Trail was a wonderful place to sit and gaze at the bluest blue lake I’ve ever seen. It was fabulous as well because it was much less crowded than being right at the Rim Village, which has a lodge, a restaurant, and a gift shop. A much more peaceful view of the famous Wizard Island and Phantom Ship – both of which rise from the waters of the lake.