Crater Lake, Oregon. Absolutely stunning. We went in late July and there was still snow all around. All roads were clear, but we were told there is a SMALL window of time in the summer that is truly the time to go without threat of snow or road closures.
We first traveled the entire length of the rim by car. We stopped repeatedly to take photos. It was breath-taking. We parked and walked down to the lake. This is a LONG walk. Its easy going on the way down, but you gotta be in reasonable shape or it makes for a long walk back. There are boat rides on the lake that are lots of fun and very informative, however PLAN IN ADVANCE. Tickets are purchased at the top and they do sell out. There are also specific times to be aware of and you will need plenty of time to walk down to the boat dock.
After the lake visit we stopped by the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room. There is a lodge there to stay at and I have heard it is top notch. (though I did not stay there myself.) I will however say that the dining room was incredible. The food was amazing and atmosphere was great (though in my opinion, not the best dining place for kids). While we waited for our reservation time we sat outside on the porch overlooking crater lake. Just sat and stared. Never got tired of the view. There are great chairs, tables, rocking chairs, and bar service on the porch. By the way, one of our co-porch dwellers was Matt Leblanc.
Crater Lake has inspired people for hundreds 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. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, 100 miles (160 km) east of the Pacific Ocean. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot (3,660 meter) high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption.
Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches (1,354 cm) per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet (592 meters) deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper.