A week in Oregon: Crater Lake


We looked for a campsite near Crater Lake the night before we would be there, but given the peak season and the fact that it was Saturday, we had no success. So, we again turned to the wonderful Airbnb, where we found this jaw-dropping log mountain home in a small town called Prospect, about 40 minutes from Crater Lake. We arrived at the lodge in the evening, and were absolutely stunned upon arrival.


This place was beautiful, with ornate carved doors, cozy rooms, and clear mastery of non-tacky lodge decor. (The house had a few items I had been pining over on Pinterest, and I felt very validated in many of the home decor ideas I had for my new apartment.) The owners, Mike and Lisa, had envisioned turning their home into a wedding venue, but after getting some local opposition, decided to convert the entire upstairs floor to Airbnb rooms, to our advantage. They were wonderful hosts, setting up a fire with smores ingredients and chairs to stargaze, and Lisa even joined our deep conversation about life, relationships, and getting older.


The next morning we took off early to Crater Lake. It was mediocre weather, looking a bit cloudy and even raining at times, but the lake was breathtaking nevertheless. Our first stop was at the north side of the lake at Cleetwood Cove, inspired by an Instagram post Yena saw, of people jumping into the lake off an epic-looking rock.

Wizard Island

Wizard Island

(Side note: This is the only place in the lake where you can swim; in 2012, the park began to heavily restrict water activities, since scientists realized how many invasive non-native species were being introduced into the ecosystem through tourists' water equipment. (Other than swimming in Cleetwood Cove, you can take a boat to Wizard Island, but that's about it!)

On our hike down to the lake

On our hike down to the lake

We took the trail down to the water as it began to drizzle, and after waiting it out for a few minutes, decided to quickly strip off our clothes to our bathing suits, and jump in the notoriously cold lake from where we were standing, about 15 feet above the water. It may not have looked very epic, with our shrieks of dread leading up to our jumps, but it sure felt epic!

Cleetwood Cove

We then drove to the south end of the lake, where we had lunch at the Crater Lake Lodge. (Apparently, I had stayed here with my family when I was much much younger - I just had no recollection of that trip!) We also had time to learn about how Crater Lake was formed. Basically, when Mount Mazuma erupted almost 7,700 years ago, the entire volcano collapsed without the lava inside of it, and a lake was formed with years of precipitation. It was probably more complicated / scientific than that, but close enough, right? :)


After about an hour of indulging in our natural consumer tendencies at the gift store, we got back in our car, ready for our next destination: the coast!