Crater Lake Trail No. 562

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Length: 3.7-miles (one-way) or 4.8-miles (one-way)

Trailhead Facilities: None

Short Trail Summary: This hike description is to Crater Lake.

An upside-down hike beginning at over 11,500-feet and descending to 10,900-feet. Remember that your return hike will be almost entirely uphill.

Reaching this trailhead is contingent on Park Creek Road (FS 380) being open from winter’s snowfall.

Reaching Crater Lake is a high alpine, high elevation hike beginning in a stand of spruce that soon opens to grand meadows with long distance views. Less than a mile into the hike the trail merges with the Continental Divide Trail No. 813 and splits from the shared path at approximately mile 1.5. Descending, the wilderness area fluctuates between summer flowers blanketing the meadows and forest providing shady respite.

The lake is flanked by cliff-like walls on one side but clear pathway on the other side for hiking from one end to the other.

Directions: From US 160/US 84 junction, travel east crossing over Wolf Creek Pass, past Big Meadows Reservoir and nearly into South Fork turning south onto Park Creek Road (FS 380), a gravel road. Continue 19.1-miles to a small pullout on the west side of the roadway. A small sign will note the trailhead.

Alternate Trailhead can be made at Elwood Pass following the directions above but instead pulling onto the north side of the road at 18.4-miles and following the CDT markers south for approximately 2.5-miles to the junction of the Crater Lake Trail.

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