Cross-Country Skiing Overview: Crater Lake National Park

Cross-country skiers making tracks.

Cross-Country Skiing Crater Lake National Park Travel Tips

  • The park receives an annual average of 533 inches of snow, most of which falls between October and June. A wide variety of trails and unplowed roads provide access to amazing views, open slopes, and dense forests.
  • For a winter backcountry adventure with a spectacular setting, ski around Crater Lake on the unplowed Rim Drive. The 30-mile ski route typically requires three or four days.
  • Start your ski trip at Rim Village and proceed clockwise around the lake to park headquarters (a net elevation loss of 700 feet). The Raven Trail offers a connection between park headquarters and Rim Village, useful if you have only one car.
  • To keep alert to conditions, there are three information centers available: the Rim Information Desk is located in the Cafeteria Building at Rim Village; the Steel Information Center is located at park headquarters, three miles below the rim; and a Ranger Station is located in the Canfield Building in the Park Headquarters complex.

Beginning Skier Trails

Wizard Island Overlook: This is the most popular ski trail in the park. It provides spectacular views of Crater Lake as it travels over gently rolling terrain. Round-trip distance: 5 miles. Round-trip distance to Discovery Point only: 2 miles.

Mazama Village Loop: This loop provides easy, flat skiing conditions for beginners. It is located near the junction of Hwy. 62 and the road to Crater Lake. Round-trip distance: 1 mile.

Intermediate Skier Trails

Hemlock Trail: This rolling journey through an ancient Mountain Hemlock forest offers views of Crater Lake and the Klamath Basin. Round-trip distance: 1 mile.

Sun Notch Trail: This is a good alternative to skiing along the rim when the winds are strong. Sun Notch provides a spectacular view of Crater Lake and directly overlooks Phantom Ship. During high avalanche danger, use the marked avalanche bypass route. Round-trip distance: 10 miles.

Advanced Skier Trails

Raven Trail: Beginning directly east of Crater Lake Lodge at Rim Village, this trail is a favorite with telemark skiers as it descends steeply to park headquarters. One-way distance: 1 mile.

Dutton Creek: This trail descends steeply and includes several sharp turns as it winds towards the Annie Springs area. One-way distance: 4.5 miles.

Skiing Around Crater Lake

For the ambitious advanced skier, a trip around Crater Lake can be a memorable way to experience the solitude of the park's backcountry. A complete trip around the lake takes two to three days, longer during storms. Snow camping is required as there are no shelters along the 30-mile route. This trip should be attempted only by experienced and properly equipped skiers. A free overnight backcountry permit is required. It can be obtained at the Steel Information Center or at the Rim Village Information Desk during regular hours of operation. The Ranger on duty will inform you of the current weather forecast, avalanche hazards, and parking information. For your safety and those of the park resources, please pay close attention to park regulations while obtaining your permit.


Published: 24 Jul 2009 | Last Updated: 9 Jun 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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