An Unexpected Trip to Crater Lake NP – Oregon

“I like the in-betweens. I like the time it takes to get somewhere…” – The Front Bottoms

I’m a planner. I like to know where I’m going because long road trips cost money and I can’t afford to make expensive mistakes along the way. But at the same time, I’m willing to be spontaneous – I’m obviously a walking contradiction.

Crater Lake, however, was one of the best unplanned trips I ever took. By the way, did I mention that this was my first long solo road trip? It’s the farthest I’ve ever driven completely on my own. Before that, the farthest solo road trip I ever did was 7 hours. So this was a pleasant surprise.

I also realized I brought the wrong charger for my  GPS which I didn’t need until I was a few miles from the park entrance and realized there was no signal. At all. It’s not an adventure without a few stumbling blocks along the way right?

My phone was fine I had it on google maps but if you accidentally hit end (like I did)…You’re basically screwed. But this is where a map comes in handy. The park ranger gave me a map and I was easily able to navigate around Crater Lake without much trouble. It also helped I had enough experience driving around National Parks. The paved roads are narrow and a bit winding with the most awesome views.

There are places where you can park which provides a bird’s eye view of the famous Wizard Island.

If you walk around it’s pretty stunning and quite peaceful. The path is huge and accessible for all ages.  I went early so there were only a few people walking around.

Since this is my first time in Oregon I was definitely happy about my first stop. I’m glad it ended up being part of my itinerary.

Oregon definitely captured my heart right from the very start. I knew I was in for a lovely and unforgettable journey.

Bel’s tips for this trip
1. There is an entrance fee to enter this park. I paid $25 for a 7-day pass (single vehicle entrance fee). You could also get an annual pass if you plan to visit several National Parks within a year. It will save you money which is currently $80/year.

2. Make sure you have a full tank of gas before entering the park. It’s far smaller than Grand Canyon but it’s also in a remote area.

3. Bring bug spray. There are huge bugs in the park. It was the only part I didn’t like during my trip.  Please check out the link below. This really works.

Disclosure: Please be aware I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no additional cost to you. Please read Amazon Affiliate Disclosure and Disclosures

Sawyer Products SP56114 Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin, Individual Lotion Packets, 14-Pack


4. Please bring a GPS and make sure you have a map of the place. You can use your phone and save your trip on google maps but I still prefer having a real GPS that always has a reliable signal in most places. I’m kind of old school about this. I’m aware you can preload maps in your cell phone but it’s nice to have a backup in case your phone crashes on you. Obviously, if you have an installed GPS on your car that’s just as good. Please see link below for my recommended GPS.

Garmin Drive 50 USA LM GPS Navigator System with Lifetime Maps, Spoken Turn-By-Turn Directions, Direct Access, Driver Alerts, and Foursquare Data

5. Bring your camera – to take awesome pictures!

6. Last but not the least, have an amazing time like I did.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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103 Comments Add yours

    1. Bel says:

      Yes! it is such a scenic place. 😊

      Like

  1. sabin.site says:

    I always wanted go there 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Oregon is amazing! You would definitely love Crater Lake. ❤️

      Like

      1. sabin.site says:

        I used to live in Portland 🙂 next time I wanna make it

        Like

      2. Bel says:

        You would love it for sure! 🙂

        Like

  2. Larry Bliss says:

    I enjoyed your journey to Crater Lake. I really like your advice to bring a paper map. I am one of those throwbacks who doesn’t have GPS so I rely on the old tech. I am not sure of your location, but a long trip to Capitol Reef National Park in central Utah would be well worth the time and gas. Few things are better than traveling, and I am glad it’s part of your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      I love Utah! That was my first trip to a National Park. I hit the mighty five and Capitol Reef was so nice. One of the best experiences of my life. Arches National Park is still my favorite. Old school is still the best. Tech sometimes fail you and you have to rely on a map for sure 😊 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your wonderful photos bring back memories of my trip there (too) many years ago. What an amazing place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Yeah this National Park is stunning and quite scenic. I’m glad it brought back good memories for you. Thank you for the lovely comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Yes so blue ❤️ Thank you 😊

      Like

  4. DougInNC says:

    “I’m a planner. … I’m willing to be spontaneous.” -This sounds SO like me. A friend called that “planned spontaneity.” Embrace it.

    I’m late to your lovely blog posts, starting with Crater Lake, which inspires commentary. My Oregon visit was in August 2017. Flight to Medford, drive to Crater Lake, then to the coast and journey north.

    Bugs were your nemesis. “Smoke on the Water” (1970s song reference) greatly obscured the lake for me. “Forest fire season,” the Oregonians called it. A whole season?!? Yikes. Your photos wonderfully capture this terrific park. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Lol! I knew I wasn’t alone being a “planned spontaneous” person. Too bad the smoke blocked the amazing view but Oregon is breathtaking and I’m sure you enjoyed it as much as I did. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Croadie says:

    Nice Work. I recommend a visit in winter it’s absolutely spectacular and tranquil – when we went we got an unexpected guided snowshoe trip for free from the rangers! We love Oregon and miss it dearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Winter would make it a lot more beautiful for sure. Sounds like an awesome snowshoe trip with the rangers…Thanks so much. I’m glad you had great memories of Oregon as well. 😊

      Like

  6. Kelly Goins says:

    Great shots of Oregon! I just checkout out your Instagram and loved all of the Utah photos as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you! I love Utah – it’s what got me started on this blog and now I can’t stop exploring. ❤️ Appreciate the positive comments 😊

      Like

  7. Loved the combination of beautiful photos with your thoughts and impressions. Keep snapping, writing, and sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you, Kathryn! I’m happy to be able to share my experiences…I truly appreciate the kind words and positive support. 😊

      Like

  8. Great story and soli road trip. I have some awesome shots if Wizard Island from 2 years ago. Good work. Proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you, Callie! I bet your pictures of Wizard Island are amazing 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My name for all it’s worth is Joan! Callie is the name of the adorable cat I travel with. And I just noticed I typed solo wrong. I am impressed with your blog. Keep blogging.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        Sorry Joan! It’s been a long day…Thank you again 😊

        Like

  9. Andy says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience and for the stunning photographs; that sky is so blue! You are blessed to live in such a beautiful country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Hi, Andy! Thank you for the lovely comment. I’m so glad you liked it. Crater Lake is really incredible. 😊

      Like

  10. Brenda Renwick says:

    Reblogged this on An Indulgence Turned Obsession and commented:
    A great description of a great place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you for the reblog 😊

      Like

  11. Brenda Renwick says:

    We usually get a yearly park pass, too. My husband has a passport in which he gets the he stamps for each park we visit. It’s getting pretty full. We enjoyed our trip to Crater Lake. It was in May, but the snow hadn’t melted much and the banks along the road were probably fifteen feet high. The lake itself is awe-inspiring. Far more than I expected. Great post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Hi, Brenda! Yeah, I love the annual pass. Especially if you’re visiting several parks. It saves you a lot of money. I bet it looked awesome with snow 😊 Crater Park is gorgeous any time of the year ❤️

      Like

    1. Bel says:

      Yes it is really a beautiful place. Thank you!

      Like

  12. Reblogged this on ishidee and commented:
    Beautiful photos and wonderful descriptions and helpful hints!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you so much for the reblog and the lovely comment 😊

      Like

  13. eioshea says:

    Looks and sounds amazing. Spontaneous trips can end up being some of the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you! It was a memorable trip for sure 😊

      Like

  14. Very well written! It sounds like an amazing trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  15. ohiocook says:

    Beautiful Country!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you! It truly is ❤️

      Like

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is so beautiful. I so want to explore OR

    Like

    1. Bel says:

      Oregon is really scenic and there is so much to explore. Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been to Portland once. Lush green and beautiful is what I remember Thanks for your blog

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        You’re welcome 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  17. This trip looks amazing! Thank you for sharing. God Bless!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you. Glad you liked it 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes absolutely! I don’t write much about my travels, but I love traveling.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        Traveling is LIFE ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve been able to travel a little bit over the last two years but not much

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Bel says:

        A little bit is still good. We all need to escape reality sometimes and traveling is a great way to just relax 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I would enjoy it more if I had a travel buddy but I’m alone so no travel buddies for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Bel says:

        I’m a mix. I have people I can travel with but I prefer being alone. I just get to do my own thing. So I find the perfect balance…😊

        Liked by 1 person

      7. That’s very cool. Sadly I don’t enjoy traveling by myself.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Bel says:

        I think it’s my personality in general. I’m kind of a loner. I hope you find someone to travel with – it does have benefits.

        Like

      9. Thank you. Maybe some day.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Bel

    What a beautiful post – your photos are stunning! Any tips on good travel photography, particularly for those of us with just a phone camera?

    You recently liked one of my blog posts that was a book review – I’d love you hear your thoughts on this post I wrote on travel to Port Douglas in far north Queensland, Australia. 🙂 You’ve inspired me to catalogue some more of my travels! Hopefully I’ll make it to America one day and see some of the beautiful places you write about.

    Bubbles

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Hi Bubbles! I adore your name. I just read and commented on your post about Port Douglas on your blog. Thank you for thinking my photos are stunning. To be honest, since I hike a lot. I don’t really bring the heavy duty cameras most of the time. I have my reliable point and shoot and my iphone. I learned a long time ago from a professional photographer that you don’t need the best equipment. You just have to capture the beauty you see in front of you. It won’t always be perfect and it won’t always be pretty – but keep on taking as much as you can and you’ll be surprised how it turns out 😊 Please write more about your trips…Australia is a beautiful country – there is so much to see and write about…❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m now done reading for the second time this awesome blog of yours in Oregon. I really like your firsthand pictures too aside from your good choice of words. Thank you Bel. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      I’ll be writing more about Oregon soon. I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as you did this one 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you too to your reply. I’ll somehow keep in touch. I’ll read again and closely look again your Oregon pictures and blog-article about Oregon later because I really like them. Have sensible fun in Oregon.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Bel, I really enjoyed reading your words and looking closely to your firsthand pictures in Oregon. Although, I’m here in the Philippines some of my herbal teas are from Oregon and I really love their taste and smell. It’s very cool to know that you can make adjustments when you were there in Oregon all by yourself driving, et cetera. Always take care very well Bel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Hi! Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed the pictures. Oregon is a really lovely place and I definitely enjoyed my time here. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Remote and peaceful place. Loved your photos. I certainly would take the bug stuff along too. I am definitely old school and love maps. The rest of the family is fine with GPS. When I travel somewhere for the first time, I print out driving directions and maps which might function like the GPS but then again, old school. By the way, there is nothing wrong about old school as you experienced. Just imagine the first explorers. A 7 hour trip is a long time to drive. Bravo!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Hi Dr. Mary Ann! Yes, it is a remote and peaceful place. I am definitely old school in so many ways. I also print out the maps. In this case because it was a sudden impulse sidetrip and not planned I didn’t have one. The drive to get to Crater Lake was 11 hours – so it was quite a solo trip 😊 But definitely worth it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope you stayed overnight somewhere. I love impulse trips. Once I travel somewhere, I can find my way back. But, unfortunately, north is where my nose points. I am constantly taking a wrong turn, but I can find my way back just fine. You must have had a fantastic trip. Kudos to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        Lol! Yes I totally agree. I did have a fantastic trip. Getting lost is part of the fun right. Thank you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  23. breannakate says:

    I love crater lake! Oregon is one of my favorite states. It’s so beautiful. Great pictures! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Hi Breanna! I totally agree it is now one of my favorite states as well. It’s so lush and green. Thanks so much for your lovely comment😊

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Crater Lake brings our true size into perspective, it is so massive and deep that it is hard to imagine how big Mt. Mazama was before it erupted and formed the caldera where the lake is now. Great pics and advice, the bugs are ferocious this time of year in the cascades.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      I read that it is the deepest lake in the US. Only nature can make something so beautiful come out of a violent eruption. Thanks so much for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. buddy71 says:

    “5. Bring your camera. You have to put these moments on film.” Film? lol

    i did the loop in the car many years ago. yes, well worth the trip

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Lol! I still use my 35mm sometimes – it’s an old habit I can’t break. I’ll have to correc that….Sorry! 😊 Definitely worth the trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. buddy71 says:

        no need to be sorry. gave me a good chuckle

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        For sure! Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it 😊

        Like

  26. Thank you more than words can express. I’m now starting to follow your blogs. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Appreciate the kind words. 😊

      Like

  27. Fred says:

    One of the places my wife and I went to on our honeymoon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Definitely a romantic place to spend a honeymoon! I’m sure you had an amazing time with such a picturesque view 😊

      Like

  28. We were just there a month ago and I think it is officially my favorite National Park. That blue! That history! The violence in which this most serene of places was born! I loved it all. We hiked the Rim Trail and Sun Notch and they were incredible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      I do agree that it is incredibly beautiful and would easily be a favorite. I didn’t get the chance to hike that much but I will definitely be back. So much to see ❤️ I’m glad you had an amazing time 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you did too!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        It was definitely memorable 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Nadya B says:

    That’s so cool! Crater Lake is near the top of my national parks bucket list! Where did you stay? Accommodations around national parks are so hard to find on short notice, because there are usually so few options!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      This was my side trip on the way to Bend, Oregon. So I didn’t stay here but if I did I’d definitely suggest camping 😊

      Like

  30. Hope says:

    WOW! WOW! What great scenery! Thanks for the great photos!📷📸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      I know I was blown away by the view ❤️ Thank you for your comment 😊

      Like

  31. Congrats on your first LD solo adventure Bel! Crater Lake and Oregon are beautiful. I enjoyed my short year that I lived in Oregon; such a wonderful mix of mountains, forests, ocean bluffs, running rivers, and even desert in the eastern side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you😊 I definitely could imagine living in Oregon with so much to explore and it’s so quiet and peaceful. You really forget you have problems in such awe inspiring beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is beautiful! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  32. I was so happy to see this, Bel. I’ve lived in Oregon for 7 years, and I’m finally getting down there this August for a vacation (along with some waterfall exploring. Only a 4+ hour drive for me. Beautiful photos and thanks for the tips. It’s good to know that I’ll need a map… and bug spray. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      I am obsessed with Oregon. You’re lucky you got to live there for 7 years. It’s definitely for the nature lover. There are so many beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails. I wish it wasn’t a 15-hour drive for me or I’d end up there every weekend. The bugs are out of this world though and took me by surprise 😂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I haven’t explored nearly enough. I hope you get back here someday and make a long vacation out of exploring. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bel says:

        If you’re only 4 hours away – there’s definitely no excuse not to go exploring ❤️😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I know! I’m excited. I’ll post pics. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Bel says:

        You have to! I’ll be waiting 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bel says:

      Thank you, Jeff! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Jon Kissner says:

    The unplanned adventures on road trips can become the best memories. I’m heading to that Portland, OR, area in early September and looking forward to finding the unexpected. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bel says:

      Portland is pretty fun to explore too. So much to see and I bet you’ll have an amazing time 😊

      Like

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