National Park Service
Crater lake Phantom Ship
Design and Construction of Circuit Roads
Construction of Rim Drive
Other Designed Features along Rim Drive
Postwar Changes
Design and Construction of Approach Roads
Construction and Use of Other Roads

History of Rim Drive
Rim Drive

Looking north near the start of the Watchman Trail on the West Rim Drive.

Design and Construction of Approach Roads

Just as the Rim Road was reconstructed into Rim Drive, the approach routes to Crater Lake have also been realigned in response to higher traffic volumes, increased speeds, and changing connections to the regional road network. The greatest changes to approach roads came in the 1930s, as the BPR and NPS collaborated on building Rim Drive, though redesign of small segments in each of these routes has continued to the present. Most changes have stemmed from functional concerns like improving curvature and lessening grade, rather than a concerted attempt to provide stopping points and vistas to motorists. None of the approaches could "present" the central attraction of Crater Lake, but they sometimes supplied interesting views of the steam canyons and hinterland.

Initial changes in alignment of the Fort Klamath — Jacksonville wagon road through the park took place under superintendent W.F. Arant, who started the process by hiring a location survey in October 1902. This led to crews building 2 miles of road in Munson Valley the following year and improving sections of the wagon road between Annie Spring and the park's south entrance. Work continued on both roads in 1904 through the use of hired labor and teams. Crews completed the road through Munson Valley to Rim Village in August 1905, one that possessed a graded width of roughly 8' and a maximum grade of 10 percent.

Arant successfully pitched the need for a new road from Whitehorse Creek to Annie Spring, so construction of this wagon route began once road crews reached the rim. The road built from Whitehorse included one section with a 10 percent grade over the Cascade Divide, but it ultimately shortened the distance formerly traveled on the wagon road of 1865 by a half mile and eliminated two relatively steep grades. Although completion of the Whitehorse — Annie Spring segment made travel easier, Arant pointed to the need for widening and straightening portions of the 1865 road still in use so as to better accommodate automobiles. He described that portion of the road between the west and south entrances of the park as being "tracks little wider than a wagon and one or two feet deep, and it is very difficult for teams to pass." Arant reported on park roads as being kept in the "best condition possible" with only limited funds available for improvements, though widening had been accomplished in places. Generally, however, the trees and other obstacles were situated too close to road margins to permit a team to turn out of the narrow track. Dust made travel over any of the roads disagreeable over the greater portion of summer, but this could be overcome through the use of road sprinklers.

The Army Corps of Engineers Road System

Persistent dust and the recurring expense of having to regrade the roads every year prompted a report on the availability of material for surfacing from a special inspector representing the Department of the Interior in 1910. He thought careful selection of hard volcanic rock next to the roads might yield enough material for macadam, but recommended that little or no money should be expended for this purpose until a comprehensive plan for park roads was in place. Location surveys funded through the Army Corps of Engineers that summer made the inspector optimistic that funding for road building might follow that would include the three phases of grading, surfacing, and paving. The first in a series of annual appropriations for construction did not become available until 1913, at which point Arant recommended the money be spent for building good roads from the west and south entrances. Use on those roads was far greater than any other routes into the park, he reasoned, and would be "for some time to come." The Army Corps of Engineers nevertheless maintained control on where those funds were expended, and they chose to begin their work by transporting supplies to Kirk, a rail stop located east of the park. Road building would thus begin at a new "east entrance" near the pinnacles on Wheeler Creek and then proceed in a northwestern direction to a junction at Lost Creek, where the Rim Road circuit commenced.

Pinnacles Road

This route had one advantage over the wagon road of 1865 in that it allowed for a more direct connection with a rapidly evolving regional road network. Motorists on the main north-south road corridor between California and the Columbia River to use a spur road of roughly 10 miles in length for the purpose of reaching the rim at Kerr Notch. It saved them time in comparison to going through the South Entrance, even if no services were available at Kerr Notch. Construction of the Rim Road circuit would eventually provide visitors access to the hotel and camping at Rim Village.

Almost all construction on the Pinnacles Road took place in 1913, when laborers and teams completed clearing, rough grading, and cross drainage for the 6.5 miles between the East Entrance and Kerr Notch. The last 1.5 miles nearest the rim required some side hill excavation because the road's location remained close to Sand Creek until it approached the Anderson Bluffs. At that point engineers made note of the revetments (hand laid rock retaining walls) needed to retain the fills constructed by hand or with teams. Cross drainage along the route consisted of two "rustic" log bridges and twenty culverts with log sides and plank tops. The only subsequent changes to the road while the engineers remained at Crater Lake came in 1918, when the two bridges and nine wooden culverts were replaced with fills and corrugated iron culverts. It remained a rough graded road, one that required continual regrading due to the ruts caused by traffic, particularly trucks hauling supplies. Regrading took place on an annual basis for the next decade or so, beginning in 1914.

Fort Klamath Road

The engineers thought Fort Klamath Road should extend from the South Entrance for some 8 miles to Annie Spring, where Arant and his successor Will G. Steel had their headquarters. From there the road went north for another 3.3 miles, to where the engineers established "Camp 2," at the junction with the Rim Road in Munson Valley. Most of the work between Annie Spring and the South Entrance involved straightening and widening the wagon road route of 1865, though two minor realignments totaling 1.5 miles took place along that stretch. Engineers found a new location for only one small portion of the wagon road Arant built through Munson Valley, this being between Goodbye Creek and the lower end of the valley.

Aside from a small amount of clearing and grading that took place just south of Camp 2 in 1913, virtually all of the Fort Klamath Road was completed over the following summer. Clearing started with removing small trees from the roadway with teams, and then felling larger diameter trees before blasting the stumps. Laborers accomplished much of the grading work by hand, or with teams and drag scrapers, though a steam shovel also assisted by making three small cuts. Cross drainage initially consisted of four log bridges and culverts made of planks or corrugated iron, though the plank culverts and two of the bridges had to be replaced in 1918 by fills and iron culverts. Just as elsewhere in the park, surfacing remained on hold since the engineers lacked funding for that phase of construction.

Medford Road

Despite being somewhat shorter in comparison with the Fort Klamath Road (6.8 miles to 11.4 miles), engineers planned two major realignments on the route linking Annie Spring with the West Entrance. The first took place in 1914, after they decided to dispense with a portion of Arant's wagon road in order to make getting over the Cascade Divide easier. This involved a new alignment on "Corkscrew Hill," starting above the "Corkscrew" and swinging north instead of descending to the west. What was essentially a reverse curve rejoined the old road in half of a mile, but dropped the maximum grade from 10 to 7 percent. More realignment followed in 1915, as the engineers responded to a request from the Department of the Interior for the road to follow Castle Creek from a point 1 mile west of the crossing at Whitehorse Creek to the West Entrance. The new alignment ran for more than 2 miles so that the actual entrance moved a half mile north from where the wagon road of 1865 crossed the park boundary.

An average force of twenty men and four teams worked to clear the road's entire length from the crossing at Whitehorse Creek to the park boundary. They made a swath 30' wide so that the standard width of roadway measuring 16' from shoulder to shoulder could be built. Assistant Engineer George Goodwin characterized the new alignment as having long tangents and easy curves, with grade varying from 2 to 6 percent. Grading thus required a relatively small crew of sixteen men and four teams that utilized slip and Fresno scrapers. The steeper section on the Cascade Divide necessitated some excavation, a job largely accomplished by rolling displaced rock over the embankment or loading it on stone drags hauled by teams. Cross drainage consisted of thirteen corrugated iron culverts and one log bridge over Whitehorse Creek measuring 50' long.

Subsequent work supervised by the engineers was largely limited to the annual regrading as part of road maintenance, though a log bridge crossing Little Whitehorse Creek had to be rebuilt in 1917. What Goodwin called a "permanent" construction camp on Whitehorse Creek two years earlier began to serve as a designated campground for visitors once the NPS assumed administration of the park, even though it was largely bereft of amenities. NPS appropriations did, however, allow for building a "checking station" at the new west entrance in 1917, a structure almost identical in size and appearance to one erected at the East Entrance. These two checking stations are thought to be among the first manifestations of what later became known as "NPS rustic architecture" anywhere in the National Park System.

Other Approaches

The engineers left Crater Lake in 1919, mainly because the NPS felt it possessed sufficient expertise to oversee future road construction. An NPS employee named Alex Sparrow served as park superintendent from 1917 to 1923, so this contention possessed some validity. Until 1925, however, Congress failed to appropriate even the $50,000 allotted to the engineers in 1918 for road construction and maintenance, which meant that all park roads remained unsurfaced while nothing more than preliminary surveys took place for two additional approaches to Crater Lake. One route, the Bear Creek Road, was to run from Wineglass on the northeast rim and then descend toward Cascade Spring on its way to the park boundary. The contemplated road location matched that of a rail spur from the mainline of the Southern Pacific, one first proposed in 1908 but not attempted. The road suffered a similar fate, with one of the problems being lack of funding for a connecting road through an adjacent national forest.

Engineers proceeded further on the Sun Notch Road, a short approach envisioned to be 1.5 miles in length and starting from where the Rim Road crossed Sun Creek. They agreed on a final location, but left it to Sparrow and the NPS to build a "trail" to Sun Notch in 1919. Upon its completion, the superintendent advised motorists that the first mile was passable for automobiles.

Something of a northern approach route came into being when the NPS built a trail passable for "light" vehicles between the north boundary and a point on the Rim Road below Llao Rock. It literally dodged around trees over the entire length of 8 miles, but the Forest Service connected the terminal point at the north boundary with a road that reached Diamond Lake in 1922. The trail remained in a primitive state, however, as the NPS road maintenance crew of thirty men were busy with other priorities in the park. Sparrow's successor, C.G. Thomson, saw travel from Diamond Lake on the increase and in 1924, called for conversion of the trail into a suitable road. This project, along with his proposal to establish a checking station near the park's north entrance, did not feature among NPS priorities in allocating its limited road budget.

NPS and BPR Collaboration on Approach Roads

Thomson welcomed the assistance from officials with the Bureau of Public Roads, whose presence as official partners at the park became official in January 1926. The NPS finally secured appropriations in 1925 for improving both the Medford and Fort Klamath roads, both of which had begun to suffer in comparison with the surfaced state highways that connected the park with nearby communities. Contractors under NPS supervision made minor realignments along the Medford Road, mainly to reduce grades and curvature. They also replaced two log bridges with fills and tried to provide a dustless pavement over a portion of the road. Similar measures were taken on the Klamath side of the road approach to Annie Spring, but the surface failed under the stress of traffic. BPR engineers subsequently helped the NPS find a satisfactory macadam surface, one where an application of light road oil on the base of surfacing material greatly reduced dust.

Route 1 (West Entrance to Annie Spring)

Work continued on what had formerly been called the Medford Road in 1926, so that the macadam surfacing had been completed by the second week of August. The finished roadway now had a graded width of 18' shoulder to shoulder, with a surfaced width of 14'. Thomson commented on the high standard of the road, particularly once removal of construction debris had taken place and log guardrails were installed where needed. Finding a wearing course that did not require an annual application of road oil took the next two seasons. NPS engineer Ward Webber wrote about the bituminous surface treatment (paving) used in 1927, one where insufficient mixing of oil with aggregate resulted in the wearing course lacking uniform texture. He noted that some portions were too lean, while others contained too much oil, thus necessitating the reprocessing of this asphalt material when the surface began to fail under traffic. The NPS achieved better results in 1928, though it took supervision by T.R. Goodwin (a road oiling expert on loan from the California State Highway Commission) to obtain the desired texture and color.

Minimal post construction work (such as patching, widening of bank slopes, and fine grading) by NPS crews took place along this route during the 1930s, though funding through the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) paid for development of a small public campground on the north side of the road crossing at Whitehorse Creek. CCC enrollees built a water system and two latrines there in 1934, but the site was abandoned after the 1941 season. This came in response to a proposal for a new, but modest campground to be located at the West Entrance, where the NPS planned to add a ranger residence, comfort station, and replace the checking station. Available funding limited this development to a portable kiosk that served as a checking station beginning in 1946, with accommodation for seasonal employees staffing consisting of an unsightly shack hidden among the trees a few hundred feet away.

The proposal by Superintendent E.P. Leavitt for the road to be reconstructed over its entire length, a project aimed at producing a roadway 32' wide with a surfaced width of 24', had to be put on hold during World War II due to lack of funding. For the next decade after the war ended in 1945, Leavitt and his successors had to be content with much smaller amounts aimed at maintaining ditches and patching the paved surface. This type of funding did little to stave off further deterioration, as the park's chief ranger described the road as old and poorly drained in 1949, such that the wearing course was badly cracked and weathered.

The road's condition hardly improved over the next two decades, given how one of Leavitt's successors described it in 1964. Superintendent Richard Nelson found extensive failures in the base (composed largely of pumice) and pavement, but also criticized how the roadway's width of 18' lacked adequate sight distance on the numerous curves. Snow removal posed difficulties for drivers on such a narrow road, since the initial plowing produced windrows that substantially reduced driving width during much of the winter. Steep grades and sharp curves on two sections also contributed to the road accounting for some 65 percent of all automobile accidents within the park.

Engineers with the Federal Highway Administration (lineal successor to BPR) renewed their discussions with NPS officials about road improvements in November 1967. Everyone agreed about the necessity of widening the roadway to obtain lanes 10' wide, so the meeting focused on two proposed realignments. One involved a preliminary road design of 1961 that called for a tangent at the crossing of Whitehorse Creek, but the NPS rejected that idea in favor of a more curvilinear alignment that better matched the agency's road standards of the time. More consideration was given to bypassing the Whitehorse crossing altogether with a new road location. Preliminary data indicated the possibility of going around Whitehorse Bluff in traversing the Cascade Divide, thereby avoiding the existing reverse curve with its two tight radii on either end. Park Superintendent Donald Spalding, however, feared the damage to timber and wildlife habitat certain to result from such a major realignment. He opted for improvements within the existing alignment, pointing to how the disadvantage of the reverse curve could be offset with curves having a radius of 400' on either end.

Road reconstruction finally began in October 1972, with the initial contract aimed at widening the 2.4 miles between Whitehorse Creek and the top of the Cascade Divide. It also addressed the upper end of the reverse curve, where a large number of vehicle accidents had occurred due to the abrupt change in alignment. Project design called for wider lanes and some superelevation, though the FHWA engineers doubted that the improvements would result in substantially fewer accidents because the topography did not permit sufficient transition time for drivers to lower their speed.

Reconstruction went forward despite the problematic reverse curve, with completion of the initial contract in September 1974. Widening and reconstructing 2.9 miles of road west of Whitehorse Creek started the following summer, so that final inspection took place in July 1976. Several paved parking areas were added along the route as part of both contracts, though only one of them provided visitors with a scenic vista. This came at Elephant's Back, where parking areas on both sides of the road allowed those who stopped a glimpse of Castle Creek Canyon.

Route 2 (South Entrance to Annie Spring)

Some minor realignment of the old Fort Klamath Road built by the Army Corps of Engineers began in 1925 over 8 miles of graded surface between the Annie Spring road junction and the south entrance located at "Wildcat." The most conspicuous change that took place over the summer came at Wildcat, where the NPS erected a massive log entry arch. It stood there until 1932, when the "Annie Creek Extension" or "panhandle" of 973 acres became part of the park, thus adding another 2.3 miles of road between Wildcat and a new south entrance. Improvements begun in 1925 had resulted in widening some fills and shoulders over the 8 miles of highway so that a graded width of 18' could be achieved. Like the West Entrance Road, this approach boasted a surfaced width of 14' (where 2" of bituminous plant mix overtopped a macadam base course of 6") by 1927.

As traffic through this part of the park increased, however, both the NPS and BPR saw the urgency for a new location survey as the first step toward improving grades and curvature. Winter travel to Crater Lake facilitated by the arrival of snow removal equipment in 1930, also pointed to the need to reduce the maximum grade on this key approach route below 8 percent while also lengthening curves ranging from 50' to 200'. Lange reported that the L-line survey done by BPR during the mid-1930s called for using about 63 percent of the old road location, with the remainder requiring realignment through new construction. He suggested several improvements, starting with the use of masonry, rather than log, guardrails because the latter type seemed to be more frequently damaged. Lange emphasized how masonry guardrail in combination with stone curb and bituminous walkways could improve the appearance of five extant parking areas, along with selective vista clearing, though he recommended retaining picturesque snags.

Despite NPS hopes for a graded roadway 32' wide with a surfaced width of 24', most of the funds for construction went to Rim Drive during the 1930s. Maintenance crews widened a large portion of the road surface to roughly 18' late in the decade, while park funds paid for a light bituminous mat to be placed on that portion of Route 2 through the panhandle. Other improvements along the road corridor during this period came not at the parking areas, but at Cold Spring, formerly a camping place on the Fort Klamath — Jacksonville wagon route and located several hundred yards from where Pole Bridge Creek crossed the highway. CCC allotments paid for building a modest picnic area and campground there beginning in 1934, with enrollees installing a water system, several latrines, as well as tables and fireplaces, over the next three seasons.

Reconstruction of the South Entrance Road finally took place during the summer of 1963. The typical section featured a 26' surfaced width with 2" of asphalt concrete pavement over 10" of crushed aggregate. This project also included construction of six parking areas lined by bituminous curb and three picnic areas where the old and new roads had their greatest divergence in alignment. The park landscape architect of the time, Paul Fritz, effected one change to the plans prior to actual construction. He wanted a more pronounced curve at the Godfrey Glen Overlook in contrast to the original design, where lengthening the curve would allow traffic to reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour through an area where many visitors entered and left the parking area.

Project plans called for eliminating the Cold Spring facilities, partly due to fears about surface water contamination (visitors drank from the spring), but also because the NPS wanted to concentrate overnight use at the much larger Mazama Campground located near the Annie Spring junction. The new picnic areas possessed a greater number of tables and fireplaces than at Cold Spring, though the new facilities were divided among sites called "Lodgepole," "Annie Creek Falls," and "Ponderosa." NPS plans to place interpretive markers in various locations throughout the park during this period resulted in a routed wood sign in the Ponderosa picnic area located near the South Entrance. At roughly the same time a plastic panel was placed on the stone base affixed to a masonry guardrail at the Godfrey Glen Overlook, a vista point located roughly a mile from the Annie Spring junction. This overlook remained the only place along the South Entrance Road to receive a masonry guardrail, mainly due to how it complemented the stone supporting the interpretive panel. Other safety barriers along Route 2 consisted of metal guardrail, with most sections having their ends buried into bank slopes on the road margin.

Funding for the next project on Route 2 came almost three decades later through the Repair, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction (3-R) program, but in two phases. The first, in 1991, treated 6.5 miles of road south from the Annie Spring junction to a point roughly one mile north of the old entrance at Wildcat. A second phase followed on the remaining highway four years after the first, as part of a contract to rehabilitate the Munson Valley Road (Routes 3 and 4). The initial treatment in each phase consisted of recycling the existing pavement in place, then adding a bituminous surface treatment on top of this mat. A limited amount of road base reconstruction took place in 1991 (over a cumulative distance of roughly a mile) and involved 1' to 2' of excavation. This occurred prior to the final treatment, where a hot mix asphalt concrete mat 2" in depth served as the wearing course.

Routes 3 and 4 (Annie Spring to Rim Village)

Initial reconstruction of what gradually became known as the Munson Valley Road corresponded with the grading, surfacing, and paving of Routes 1 and 2 from 1926 to 1928. A slightly wider roadway of 20' resulted from this project so that the surfaced width of the road could go to 16'. Virtually all of the grading and surfacing of the 6.4 miles of road through Munson Valley took place during the first two seasons of work, with Superintendent C.G. Thomson identifying a need for guardrails at hazardous points as well as "dust proofing" through a light application of oil. He also mentioned the greatly improved alignment resulting from "appropriate" log bridges across Annie Creek and Goodbye Creek, each constructed as part of the road project.

The first bridge, one measuring 152' in length, spanned Annie Creek and appeared to relieve traffic congestion at the road junction there. The bridge, like the longer Goodbye Creek Bridge finished in 1929, was constructed of peeled Douglas fir and mountain hemlock. Although quite attractive with log balusters and rounded posts, both bridges needed major repairs by 1938. BPR engineers condemned the 240' Goodbye Creek Bridge in 1941, even though the NPS had installed new stringers and decking members three years earlier.

With the Annie Creek span also scheduled for replacement, the anticipated high costs of new bridges led a BPR engineer to suggest several possible realignments of the Munson Valley Road in November 1941. Even with projections based on fills rather than bridges over Annie and Goodbye creeks, all of his estimates greatly exceeded available funding. The NPS limped through the next fifteen years by using a detour around the head of Annie Creek and another involving a temporary bridge over Goodbye Creek. Construction of new bridges finally began during the summer of 1955 as the first Mission 66 projects at Crater Lake. They consisted of glue-laminated beams and "square sawn" members bolted together, with the trussed "bent" legs resting on concrete piers. In all likelihood these structures manifested the first use of glue-laminate bridgework in the National Park System and constituted some of the earliest examples anywhere in the country.

Most of the work to reconstruct the Munson Valley Road took place over two summers beginning in July 1961. A typical section sported a roadway of 26', while ten paved parking areas lined by bituminous curb were added along Route 3 and fourteen such pullouts appeared on Route 4. Two picnic areas were developed on either side of the Goodbye Creek Bridge, to some extent serving to better hide evidence of the detour road, as well as an older track used for access to the park's main power line. Other changes included some special drainage treatments to alleviate problems with excess water caused by seasonal springs and seeps, so several masonry spillways were designed and placed at the edge of the roadway. Plans also showed two short realignments, the first being at Park Headquarters at the junction with Rim Drive, where a gas station built in 1926 had been demolished to make way for a new facility located across the Munson Valley Road in 1958. The other realignment came on a curve at grade located just uphill from the Goodbye Creek Bridge. In similar fashion to the picnic areas located on the South Entrance Road, old roadway was utilized for parking at what became a more defined trailhead. This change spurred conversion of an earlier "Godfrey Glen Trail" into a loop 1 mile in length, where visitors were aided by a pamphlet that interpreted sixteen stations along the circuitous footpath.

Realignment of the Annie Spring junction came independently of reconstructing the Munson Valley Road, first in 1958 when an entrance station and a separate office building were erected just south of the Annie Creek Bridge. This alignment moved the junction slightly away from the bridge in favor of creating a "T" intersection just south of it, one where islands bordered with concrete curb delineated turning lanes. Apparent dissatisfaction with the islands, most likely due to the complications they posed in winter snow removal operations, led to a more extensive realignment of the junction in 1968-69. This one involved moving a portion of Route 2 away from Mazama Campground, with the "T" intersection now placed half a mile south of the bridge.

Rehabilitation of the Munson Valley Road through a 3-R project came in 1996, with the undertaking largely aimed at recycling the pavement laid in 1962. It also included removal of several parking areas and two cut banks thought to impair driver visibility. Four small concrete retaining walls faced with stone masonry were added. These changes took place on Route 4 above Park Headquarters, in concert with a minor correction at the intersection with Rim Drive.

Route 5 (East Entrance to Kerr Notch)

Reconstruction and partial realignment of the old Pinnacles Road started in 1929, when BPR supervised two projects, one being 4.2 miles of grading and surfacing between U.S. 97 and the East Entrance through the adjoining national forest. This project was hitched together with grading and surfacing 2 miles of road inside the park (5-A1). It included establishment of a delineated parking area overlooking the "Pinnacles" on Wheeler Creek. Specifications for a graded roadway of 22' with a surfaced width of 18' were noticeably greater than the previous BPR standards for park roads governing reconstruction of Routes 3 and 4 just two years earlier. New standards came in response to heavier and faster vehicles that could now reach average speeds of 50 miles per hour.

Work on the remaining 4.5 miles of the East Entrance Road had to wait until 1931, when the BPR awarded a contract for grading that section to McNutt and Pyle of Eugene. Engineers did a location survey report in the intervening period on the road from Lost Creek to Kerr Notch (segment 5-B) since it had not been included within the BPR reconnaissance survey of 1926. New estimates were needed once the NPS made a decision to route the road away from Sand Creek and instead along the western edge of Kerr Valley, with the upper section being near the base of Dutton Ridge. After making a late start the previous fall, the contractors resumed work in midsummer of 1932 and completed work during the first part of September. NPS landscape architect Merel Sager noted in one of his reports that the project included 11,400 cubic yards of Type B excavation so that little or no damage to trees resulted from blasting. He also wrote about the first rounding of slopes ever done at Crater Lake, a bid item that required several tries before the contractors achieved success. A specification for old road obliteration was also included in the contract so that obvious indications of the route graded by the Army Corps of Engineers could be removed whenever it came into view.

View along Rim Drive
A portion of Red Cloud Cliff near the East Rim Drive.

BPR engineers completed plans and specifications for surfacing and paving segments 5-A2 and 5-B in 1932, but another three years passed before work commenced. They awarded the contract to J.C. Compton, a firm that also paved Routes 7-A and 8 during the summers of 1935 and 1936. Compton's men started on the East Entrance Road during the first season, leaving only the final seal coat and minor shoulder treatments for the following year. Lange's only real comment on Compton's work consisted of an observation about the uniformity and smoothness of the resulting road surface. He largely attributed the results to placing aggregate with a Jaeger spreader, the first machine of its kind in the west, as Superintendent David Canfield later noted.

Aside from replacement and removal of log guardrail at two parking areas and the Pinnacles Overlook, subsequent changes along Route 5 have been confined to Lost Creek Campground and the East Entrance area. With the road reconstruction essentially completed in 1935, Lange sought to improve the undeveloped camping area at Lost Creek using a site plan that featured a loop road with parking spurs, tables, and fireplaces. He noted the placement of ten log tables and as many fireplaces in the summer of 1938, later adding that more improvements to existing facilities should be made. A rapidly shrinking budget for CCC projects meant few changes at the site until 1957, when a Mission 66 project funded replacement of tables, fireplaces, and pit toilets, but also led to completion of parking spurs and two unsurfaced road loops at Lost Creek Campground.

The resulting expansion from ten to twelve sites at the campground occurred after the NPS closed the East Entrance in 1956, though in the face of steadily increasing park visitation. This closure came in response to average daily traffic during the summer having declined to only thirty-five vehicles, largely due to the relocation of U.S. 97 away from nearby Sun Pass in 1949. Park crews razed a log checking station at the boundary even before that time, since the NPS chose to use a portable kiosk on the East Entrance Road near Lost Creek. CCC enrollees built a stone masonry "motif" at the boundary in 1937 that complemented signage at the other three road entrances to the park. The structure sat virtually forgotten once the closure took effect. The East Entrance opened again in September 1971 as a means to augment circulation on the new one-way road system on Rim Drive. With only 2.5 percent of almost 600,000 park visitors using the entrance over the 1972 season, it closed again the following year. With the road blocked by boulders at the Pinnacles Overlook and re-contoured for a short distance beyond that point, the East Entrance has remained closed to motor vehicles since that time. Access for hikers and bicyclists over the half mile stretch between the overlook and a parking lot built by the U.S. Forest Service near the park boundary was encouraged, however, after NPS employees built a trail along the edge of Wheeler Creek Canyon in 1991.

Route 8 (North Entrance to Diamond Lake Junction)

Although the NPS used a bulldozer for widening the Diamond Lake Auto Trail to a "standard width" in 1930, BPR ran a P-line survey for the prospective North Entrance Road later that summer. A section of the proposed alignment proved unsatisfactory to Sager and other NPS landscape architects since there was a possibility that it might cut through the middle of the Pumice Desert as part of a tangent almost 5 miles in length. Shifting the line half a mile east where it crossed the Pumice Desert made enough difference to Sager that he agreed to a new alignment. This one also kept the road in timber longer so as to reduce any scar seen from the rim, while also breaking up the tangent to some extent. Sargent thus staked what became the L-line in May 1931 and it met with NPS approval shortly thereafter.

The contract for grading almost 8 miles of road between the Diamond Lake Junction and the park's north entrance went to A.C. Guthrie and Company of Portland in September. Their crew of about twenty men then cleared the roadway for another month, until bad weather forced suspension of the job. Rough grading began when work resumed in July 1932, with the contractor also required to do a considerable amount of roadside cleanup, old road obliteration, and slope rounding. The cleanup came partly in response to mountain pine beetle infestations during the 1920s in this part of the park, attacks that resulted in considerable loss of lodgepole pine. Obliteration of the old auto trail crossing the Pumice Desert largely consisted of removing the shoulders, so the old line was still somewhat visible from afar. Sager, however, "felt sure" that in several years natural re-seeding of sedges and other "low vegetation" would help. He also commented that flattening and rounding of slopes at the road margin greatly added to the highway's appearance, so much so that BPR included this item as a specification for all subsequent grading contracts in the vicinity.

Rim Drive
East Rim Drive near Anderson Point, looking northwest toward Kerr Notch.

With the grading contract well on its way to completion by late August, BPR began advertising for a surfacing project to encompass both the West Rim Drive (Route 7-A) and the North Entrance Road. Like other contracts awarded from 1931 to 1933, it contained incentives aimed at alleviating unemployment, such as a cap of thirty hours per week for each man working under special wage rates. The Homer Johnson Company of Portland submitted the low bid, but did not begin the job until August 5, 1933, due to a heavy snow pack at the rim. With a roadway of 22' already established by the grading contractor, BPR specified a surfaced width of 18' on both routes, in accordance with park highway standards of 1932.

One NPS landscape architect, Armin Doerner, observed that work was slow in getting underway, but this comment had more to do with the subcontracted masonry guardrails along Route 7-A than the surfacing done by the prime contractor. Johnson completed the job by October 1934 so that paving both routes could take place over the following summer. The paving contractor, J.C. Compton of McMinnville, used the latter half of the 1935 season to complete all but the sealing of several miles along the North Entrance Road.

Once construction of this approach finished in the late summer of 1936, CCC enrollees began building an entrance sign motif on the park's north boundary. Its design, which featured a large wooden sign with raised lettering, hung from a log projecting horizontally from an imposing stone masonry motif, matched one for the East Entrance, but visitor numbers through each "gate" reflected opposite trends. Motorists using the East Entrance had been declining steadily once a road connection between U.S. 97 and the North Entrance through an adjoining national forest was initially graded in 1931. Increased traffic brought by the opening of the Willamette Highway nine years later led to placement of a temporary entrance station on the park's north boundary, a structure replaced by a portable kiosk in 1949. NPS planners projected an adjoining development during this period, something that included two staff residences, a fire cache, and even a small campground. The scarcity of water in this locality, however, restricted facilities to a ramshackle building used to house seasonal rangers and two pit toilets.

Developments along the North Entrance Road during Mission 66 were limited to a parking area in the Pumice Desert that featured an island to provide motorists who stopped with some separation from moving traffic. The parking area contained an interpretive marker, one originally intended to convey the "story" of Pumice Desert as well as identify peaks seen in the distance. Although Mission 66 provided a golden opportunity for funding road reconstruction over a decade beginning in 1956, the NPS elected not to widen what had become the park's most heavily used approach route. Park officials simply saw the North Entrance Road as lower priority to the southern approaches used year round.

Widening as part of a reconstruction project eventually came about as the result of studies conducted by the Federal Highway Administration in 1980 and 1983. Planners saw ample justification for a new road having 28' of surfaced width, given the traffic volume of 600 vehicles a day, as well as a need to accommodate both recreational vehicles and bicyclists. Other key parts of the project included realignment of the Diamond Lake (North) Junction, expansion of the parking area where the Pacific Crest Trail crossed the road, and a new development near the boundary in accordance with park expansion approved by Congress in 1980. The latter consisted of moving the entrance station about 1.5 miles north to a point where a rest area and turnaround could be built close at hand. Reconstruction commenced in 1985, but the contractor defaulted, so the project remained at a standstill over the following year. It finally came to a close in 1987, with the only subsequent changes along Route 8 consisting of building a new checking station four years later, as well as an entrance sign and motif modeled after the precedent set by the CCC at the old park boundary.

History & Culture
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