Usually camping this time of the year is ‘ify’ at Crater Lake National Park–-it all depends on the rate of snow melt.
According to the ranger at the North Gate, although there was a lot of snow this past season, it’s been an unusually warm spring and only about 7-percent of the snow pack remains on the ground and continues to melt rapidly. (Newspapers in eastern Oregon are reporting record low precipitation so far in 2013.)
From the North Entrance we traveled south along the West Rim Drive and stopped at the Watchman Lookout for the obligatory photo standing in front of the world’s deepest lake (1,943-feet) and Wizard’s Island. The East Rim Drive is still closed.
Because of the low snow pack, the concession-run Mazama Campground opened 3 of its 7 camping loops a few weeks early. The one huge downside was that the mosquitoes were thick, organized and hungry. No hookups: $29/night ($14.50/Senior Pass). Flush toilets, cold water to brush your teeth.
“Crater Lake has inspired people for thousands of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past.”
Photos: (Top) Jimmy Smith and Julianne G. Crane at Watchman Overlook at Crater Lake National Park (taken by a friendly young traveler from Dallas, Tex.). (Bottom) Campsite at Mazama Campground near the south gate. (Julianne G. Crane)