Plan Your Visit

Which Season Is Best for You

There are two very distinct seasons at Crater Lake National Park, winter and summer, but the months in between—May, June, and October—offer a quieter, less hectic experience. In 2016, more than 750,000 people visited Crater Lake National Park, mostly between July and mid-September. Visitation decreased in 2021 to 647,751 due to hazardous smoke conditions from regional fires and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Deciding when to visit depends on what you want to experience. If it is hiking, then choose dates in July through October. If you want to experience snow, either for sport or play, select time in December through May. Wildflowers begin as snow melts in lower elevations and some blooms last through September. Photography and lake-viewing are year round activities, some days may be better than others. 


Let's Get Started

  • North Entrance sign has white letters hangs from a wooden beam on a stone pillar.
    Directions and Transportation

    Reach the park from the North (seasonal closure) West, or South Entrances. Nearby cell reception is limited, get directions before hand.

  • man and ranger behind a blue bicycle with a cart attached and a dog wearing goggles inside
    Visiting the Park With Pets

    Important information about visiting the park with your pet(s), ways to keep them safe, and where to take them.

  • A wood sign with Danger painted in white is at the caldera edge with lake behind.
    Alerts and Current Conditions

    Keep abreast of current conditions and any alerts regarding danger, closures, and important park information.

  • A mostly cloudy day, reflections of clouds in the lake, snow lingering around the caldera rim.

    Regardless of the time of year or season that you visit, check the forecast multiple times in advance. Conditions can change quickly.

  • Three different page images of the NPS App are shown on different mobile phones.
    Download the NPS App

    The NPS App offers tools to explore more than 400 national parks nationwide. Save Crater Lake for offline use during your in-park visit.

  • Cabin room, two queen size beds with white sheets & 3 pillows, framed print of Phantom Ship on wall
    Eating & Sleeping

    Find a place to rest for the night either in the park or in a neighboring community. Locate food establishments in the park.

People  at Watchman peak overlooking the lake, faces aglow from the setting sun. sun
Things to Do

Whether day-tripping or spending a week, find a way to explore, discover, and retreat into the natural beauty and history of the park.


Consider these "top 10 tips" as essential to planning and
enjoying a summer visit to Crater Lake National Park.


What to Know

  • female park ranger on snowshoes and a female visitor sits in an adaptive sled on a snow field
    Accessibility Info

    Discover accessible trails, programs, activities, lodging, park pass and much more.

  • An exhibit set in a short stone wall at the end of a long sidewalk where people look at a blue lake.
    Places to Go

    Depending on the season in which you visit, you might go to 32 overlooks, two waterfalls, visitor centers and more.

  • A yellow plow pushes a fallen tree off of the road, behind the plow is a conifer forest.

    Conditions along roads and trails can change unexpectedly. Learn about winter hazards and year-round driving regulations.

  • Cars in line at the Annie Spring Entrance Station
    Entrance Fees

    Find out what it costs to enter the park, learn about special passes, and check the list of fee-free days for 2022.

  • The Crater Lake Caldera is filled with smoke obscuring Wizard Island.
    Air Quality

    In summer and fall air quality can be adversely affected by smoke from local wildfires. Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the park.

  • snow covered caldera walls run horizontally between a cloudless blue sky and a deep blue lake
    Hours and Seasons

    Links and information to park hours, descriptions of seasons, and seasonal road closures tables.


Visiting in Winter

  • Two snowshoers gaze at the lake, filled with fog.
    Plan Your Winter Visit

    Visiting between November and April? Download the park's winter newspaper to learn about lake viewing, snowshoeing, ski trails, and more.

  • Snowshoers view the lake from behind a rope which indicates the rim edge
    Take a walk in the snow
    Winter Activities

    You don't have to go very far to experience the beauty, silence and playfulness of winter. How will you explore this wonderland?

  • Beware of Snow Cornices!
    Beware of Snow Cornices!

    Unstable ledges of snow extend beyond the rim of Crater Lake. Watch a short video to learn about them and other winter hazards.

  • A happy couple poses in front of Crater Lake.
    Arriving in May or June?

    Learn how lingering winter snow might affect your experience.

  • A ranger raises the US flag in a snowstorm.
    What's Open Today?

    Find out what's open in the park right now. Many roads, trails, and facilities are closed for the winter.

  • Winter Driving Safety
    Winter Driving Safety

    Park roads can be snow-packed and icy this time of year. Before leaving home, read our tips for safe travel and watch a short safety video.

Last updated: July 18, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604


541 594-3000

Contact Us