Alerts & Conditions

 

Planning a winter visit? This webpage describes what is open and closed in the park right now. Other pages on our website may not reflect current COVID-related closures and restrictions, so this is the best page to read. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 541-594-3100. The park's visitor centers are closed, but we are usually reachable by phone 10 am–4 pm daily.

Hours of Operation
The park is open 24 hours a day. You can arrive at any time. We are not taking reservations or limiting the number of people in the park.

Entrance Fee
From November 1 through May 21, the entrance fee for most vehicles is $20.

Roads
Winter road closures are currently in effect. See the maps below. The North Entrance Road, West Rim Drive, East Rim Drive, and Pinnacles Road are closed to automobiles. They closed for the season on November 1 and will reopen next June or July. You can drive into the park through the West Entrance or the South Entrance. Highway 62 and the road to Park Headquarters are plowed daily and open year-round. The 3-mile road from Park Headquarters to Rim Village is also plowed throughout the winter, but it is sometimes closed for days or weeks at a time during periods of heavy snow accumulation and/or drifting snow. When the road to Rim Village is closed, we will post an alert at the top of this page. Learn more about seasonal road closures here. Find directions to the park here.

Park roads can be snow-packed and icy this time of year. Drive slowly, carry chains if you have them, and be alert for plows. The Annie Spring Entrance Station webcam can help you see what current road conditions are like. Visit TripCheck for road conditions and highway webcams outside the park. Learn more about winter driving safety here.

Lake Viewing
Weather permitting, you can enjoy spectacular views of Crater Lake at Rim Village. When it's raining or snowing, however, the lake is usually hidden by clouds. From mid-November through February, the lake is typically invisible about 50% of the time. To find out if it's visible right now, view our webcam at Rim Village.

To see the lake from Rim Village, you will need take 30-40 steps across the snow from the parking lot. Unfortunately, there is no lake-viewing access for people with mobility impairments. Be careful—conditions at Rim Village can be icy and slippery. And please keep back from the edge of the caldera! You will be standing atop a cliff, 900 feet above the water. Watch our snow safety video to learn about dangerous snow cornices and other winter hazards.

When the road to Rim Village is closed, reaching Rim Village requires skiing or snowshoeing up the Raven Trail (see below for details). Pedestrian travel on the closed road is prohibited.

Weather
The National Weather Service provides the most accurate weather forecast for the park.

At the Park Headquarters weather station, rangers have been recording weather data since 1931. Observations are made each morning at 8 am and uploaded to the National Weather Service. To find out yesterday's high and low temperatures, rain and snow totals, and current snow depth, view the "daily almanac" for "Crater Lake NPS." To find out the average high and low temperatures and average snowfall totals for each month of the year, consult the park's climate chart.

Visitor Center & Ranger Programs
Following guidance from the CDC, the Visitor Center at Park Headquarters is currently closed, and no ranger programs are being offered. Ranger-guided snowshoe walks are not taking place this winter or spring. Park maps and Junior Ranger activity books are available inside the Visitor Center "snow tunnel" 24 hours a day. You can also download a Junior Ranger activity book from home. Souvenir passport stamps are available from the ranger at the fee booth. Alternately, you can print your own passport stamp and paste it into your passport book.

Restrooms & Drinking Water
When the road is open, restrooms at Rim Village are open 24 hours a day. To find them, drive past the Rim Village Café & Gift Shop and look for the small building with “snow tunnel” entrances. Water from the restroom sinks is safe to drink. On days when the road to Rim Village is closed, restrooms and drinking water are available 10 am–4 pm at the Visitor Center at Park Headquarters.

Food & Gifts
Food, beverages, gifts, and souvenirs are not available in the park right now. The Rim Village Café & Gift Shop is currently closed, and will be closed until April 9th. West of the park, the closest place to find food is Union Creek Resort, 17 miles from the park’s fee booth on Highway 62. A general store is open 9 am–4 pm daily; Beckie’s Café is open 12 pm–5 pm daily (takeout only). South of the park, the closest place to find food is Jo’s Motel, 16 miles from the fee booth on Highway 62. An organic grocery and deli is open 12 pm–6 pm Friday–Sunday (and usually the rest of the week as well). Two miles farther south, a general store at Crater Lake Resort is open 10 am–5 pm Thursday–Sunday and 12 pm–5 pm Monday–Wednesday.

Lodging, Camping, and Backpacking
The park's lodges and campgrounds are closed for the winter. To make reservations for next season, call 866-292-6720 or book online. Inside the park, overnight parking is allowed only for skiers and snowshoers who are backpacking in the park. Visit our publications page to download a list of lodging and camping options outside the park.

Backpacking is allowed in the park year-round. Winter offers well-prepared skiers and snowshoers opportunities to experience occasions of unique beauty and solitude. All campers must obtain a free permit before setting out. Following guidance from the CDC, the Backcountry Permits Office is closed. Permits are currently available on a self-service basis, 24 hours a day, inside the Visitor Center “snow tunnel” at Park Headquarters. Vehicles must be left at Park Headquarters—not at Rim Village. The most popular overnight trip is to travel up the Raven Trail then out along the West Rim Drive, camping somewhere between Discovery Point and Watchman Peak. See the map below. The most popular multi-night trip is the 31-mile loop around Crater Lake, which typically takes 3 to 4 days. Snow camping is required; there are no public huts or shelters. Campers must be at least 1 mile from the nearest plowed road, out of sight of any trail or route, and at least 100 feet back from the edge of the caldera.

If you haven't camped here before in the winter, or if you have any questions, please call 541-594-3060 or 541-594-3100 to discuss your trip with a ranger. When you arrive, information will be limited and no one will be available to assist you. Read more about winter backcountry camping here.

Winter Trails
Winter can be a great season to explore the park. The park’s summer hiking trails, however, are buried under snow and impossible to follow. Do not attempt to locate the trails shown on the official park brochure. Instead, pick one of the options described here (and shown on the map below). Cross-country skis or snowshoes are strongly advised. Hiking without them can be dangerous, causing you to slip and fall or sink deep into the snow. Ski and snowshoe rentals are not available in the park, but many outfitters outside the park rent cross-country skis and/or snowshoes. As a courtesy to skiers, snowshoers should refrain from walking on top of ski tracks. None of the trails are groomed.

► West Rim Drive
On a clear day, the most scenic route to follow is the unplowed West Rim Drive. To find it, climb the snowbank across from the Rim Village restrooms, then head west. The route is not marked, but the path of the underlying road should be apparent. The West Rim Drive features gently rolling terrain and is suitable for people of all abilities (unless conditions are icy, in which case it can be treacherous for skiers, especially just west of Rim Village). The route is mostly forested with occasional lake views, including spectacular views at Discovery Point (1.2 miles from Rim Village) and Wizard Island Overlook (2.3 miles from Rim Village). Neither overlook is signed, but both are fairly obvious. If traveling more than 3.2 miles from Rim Village, exercise caution: the route crosses a steep slope on the north face of Watchman Peak that is prone to avalanching. If you continue, possible destinations include Watchman Overlook (3.9 miles), Diamond Lake Overlook (4.6 miles), and North Junction (6.0 miles). Another option, popular with snowshoers, is to leave the road at Union Peak Overlook (3.1 miles from Rim Village, unmarked) and hike to the summit of Watchman Peak via its western ridge. Use extreme caution near the peak’s historic fire lookout; it is flanked by cliffs on three sides.

East Rim Drive
This unplowed road is much less traveled than the West Rim Drive. It crosses several avalanche paths and requires a 9-mile roundtrip for a view of the lake. It starts at a plowed pullout 100 yards south of Park Headquarters. The route is not marked, but the path of the underlying road is obvious. Vidae Falls (3.1 miles from the trailhead) is a spring-fed cascade that drops 100 feet over a series of ledges. Unfortunately, in the winter there is usually not much to see; the water slows to a trickle and is mostly hidden by snow. The real highlight of the route comes at Sun Notch (4.5 miles from the trailhead), which offers a dramatic view of Crater Lake and the rocky island known as the Phantom Ship. The viewpoint lies a quarter-mile north of the road. To find it, leave the road at the apex of the sweeping right-hand curve; the turnoff is not marked. Note: On the way to Sun Notch, the East Rim Drive crosses two slopes that are prone to avalanching. If conditions warrant, you can bypass them by taking the Vidae Ridge Avalanche Bypass Trail (marked with blue diamonds) and the Applegate Avalanche Bypass Route (unmarked, but which follows the floor of the valley). Another lake-viewing option for energetic snowshoers and advanced skiers is to attain the rim of the caldera east of Garfield Peak. This is an unmarked but straightforward ascent through open meadows and groves of trees. To get there, leave the East Rim Drive near the summit of the first hill, 1.8 miles from the trailhead. The rim lies 1.4 miles (and 950 feet of elevation gain) due north.

► Raven Trail
On days when the road to Rim Village is closed, the Raven Trail provides a way for cross-country skiers and snowshoers to reach the rim of the lake. (Traveling up the closed road is prohibited.) The trail is 2.0 miles roundtrip and gains 610 feet in elevation. It starts at the gate across from Park Headquarters and is marked with blue diamonds nailed to the tree trunks. The trail crosses the runout (the lower end) of several avalanche chutes. When crossing these chutes, do not stop or linger. You’ll reach the rim of the lake several hundred yards east of Crater Lake Lodge. If you enter Rim Village, be alert for plows. Do not venture east toward Garfield Peak and its steep, avalanche-prone slopes.

► Other Trails
The Pacific Crest Trail explores the park’s snow-covered forests. It can be accessed from a pullout on Highway 62, 1 mile west of the fee booth. It is the park’s only winter trail that is open to pets. The Crater Peak, Dutton Creek, and Lightning Springs trails offer challenging backcountry experiences for people with advanced winter skills. Call us at 541-594-3100 for details, advice, and route-finding info.

Sledding
There are no designated sled hills or snow-play areas in the park, but many opportunities for sledding can be found. For your safety, sledding and other winter sports are prohibited on Highway 62, the road to Rim Village, and in parking lots. Please select areas that have gentle slopes, are away from trees and other obstructions, and provide a safe, flat runout area. Several such locations exist near Rim Village; one popular spot is the open meadow south of Crater Lake Lodge.

Snowmobiling
The park’s North Entrance Road is groomed for snowmobile travel. At North Junction, if weather permits, snowmobilers can enjoy a spectacular view of Crater Lake. Most people begin their ride at Diamond Lake Resort, 5 miles north of the park, where snowmobiles are available for rent. Inside the park, snowmobiles must stay on the groomed and marked route; they are not allowed on the Rim Drive, and off-route travel is prohibited. The route is open as conditions permit, typically from December through March.

Gasoline
The park’s gas station is closed for the winter. A charging station for electric vehicles can be found 100 yards south of the fee booth, but it may not be accessible during periods of heavy snow accumulation. West of the park, the closest place to find gas is the Prospect Service Station, 29 miles from the park’s fee booth on Mill Creek Drive. Gas and diesel are available 8 am–8 pm daily. South of the park, the closest place to find gas is the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center, 30 miles from the fee booth on Highway 97. Gas and diesel are available 24 hours.

Pets
Pets on leash are welcome in the park, but only in certain areas. In the winter, they are allowed on only one trail: the Pacific Crest Trail. This trail is open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It passes through a pretty, snow-covered forest but does not offer any lake views. It can be accessed from a pullout on Highway 62, 1 mile west of the fee booth, where it crosses the road. See the map below. Apart from the Pacific Crest Trail, pets must remain within 50 feet of plowed roads and parking lots. They are not allowed on other trails, on unplowed roads, off-trail, or inside buildings. The most popular place to walk a dog in the winter is at Rim Village, either in the parking lot or on top of the snowbank beside the parking lot.

Lost & Found
Call the park's Ranger Station at 541-594-3060.

Emergencies
Dial 911 to report any emergency, 24 hours a day. Cell reception in the park is spotty, but an emergency landline can be found outside the “snow tunnel” entrance to the Administration Building at Park Headquarters, adjacent to the Visitor Center. WiFi is available outside the Visitor Center.
 
Highway Map Showing Winter Road Closures
 
Winter Recreation Map
 
Winter Map of Rim Village

Last updated: February 5, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake , OR 97604

Phone:

(541) 594-3000

Contact Us