Pacific Crest Trail

PCT Trail Register Box

About the Trail

The Pacific Crest Trail stretches 2,650 miles from the Mexican to Canadian borders along the mountainous crest of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada. Thirty-three miles pass through Crater Lake National Park, offering thru-hikers magnificent views of the mountains surrounding the lake.

PCT hikers have always been able to explore a vast area of volcanic landscape in Crater Lake National Park. However, until recently, they could only get a view of the lake by leaving the main trail to enter the developed Rim Village area.

In June 1995, an alternate trail opened which brings hikers right up to the rim of Crater Lake. Coming from the south, the trail ascends the Dutton Creek Trail to the rim, then follows the edge of the caldera for six miles of spectacular views. It then parallels the North Entrance Road from its junction with the Rim Drive, out to Grouse Hill. There the alternate trail rejoins the PCT.

PCT trail sign

Permits and Regulations

The PCT passes through seven National Parks, including Crater Lake. Each has its own rules governing backcountry users. Hikers should contact each park for details about local backcountry regulations. If you plan on hiking or horseback riding 500 or more continuous miles along the PCT in a single trip, the Pacific Crest Trail Association can issue you an interagency PCT Long-distance Permit.

Most hikers who wish to stay overnight in Crater Lake National Park must get a backcountry permit. Permits may be obtained at the backcountry office in park headquarters. PCT thru-hikers alternatively, may sign the trail register as they enter the park. Section hikers planning on leaving a vehicle in the park must get a backcountry permit at the ranger station.Thru-hikers who have signed the trail register do not need to obtain a backcountry permit.

With the exception of the self serve trail register permit, all other backcountry regulations apply.
Please note:

  • Stock are not permitted on the alternate trail along the caldera rim. Access to the rim for stock remains up the Lightning Springs Trail to the hitching post ¼ mile from Rim Drive. You must bring sufficient authorized feed for your animals as grazing is prohibited within the park.
  • No camping is permitted on the alternate trail along the caldera rim.
  • It is recommended that PCT hikers utilize dispersed camping areas as designated sites have capacity limits and often fill up during the busy summer season.
  • Grouse Hill camping sites are reserved for PCT thru hikers. Non-thru hikers hoping to camp in the area can obtain a backcountry permit for dispersed camping on the PCT near Red Cone.
  • Hikers wishing to stay at one of the established sites must obtain a permit from the Canfield Ranger Station.


Those in need of showers or supplies can visit the Mazama Camper Store in Mazama Village in the southern part of the park. It can be reached from the PCT by taking the Annie Springs Trail cutoff just south of the Dutton Creek Trail.

Resupply packages can be sent to the Mazama Camper Store in Mazama Village. The Mazama Camper Store is open 7 days a week during the summer months, and packages are available for pick up from 8am-8pm. ID is required to pick up packages.

Please, do not mail perishables and note flammable stove fuel may not be sent through the U.S. Mail. Packages may not exceed 108 inches in length and girth or weigh more than 70 pounds each. Hiker’s name should be placed on all sides of the box. All boxes must have a return address. Do not send mail to the Crater Lake Post Office labeled as "General Delivery," follow the address template below.

Send mail or supplies to:

Your Name, PCT Hiker
c/o Mazama Camper Store
Mazama Village
Crater Lake, OR 97604
Expected arrival date
UPS / FedEx:
Your Name, PCT Hiker
c/o Mazama Camper Store
700 Mazama Village Dr
Crater Lake, OR 97604
Expected arrival date

Outgoing mail may be sent from the U.S. Post Office located at Mazama Village. The Post Office is open during the summer months, Monday - Saturday 9 am -12 pm, and 1 pm - 3 pm. Shorter winter hours are also available, Monday - Saturday 10am-2pm. For more information call the Crater Lake Post Office at (541) 594-3115.



Water is scarce in the Crater Lake backcountry. In a typical year, many sources are dry by late July or early August. Hikers should carry at least one gallon of water per person. Possible water sources include Red Cone Springs, Lightning Springs and major branches of Dutton, Trapper, Bybee, North Copeland and South Copeland Creeks. It is recommended that all water taken from creeks be treated.

There is a metal storage locker located in the PCT trailhead parking lot on North Entrance Road where Crater Lake section hikers may store water containers during their hike.


Getting Around

There are no trails connecting Park Headquarters with Mazama Village or Rim Village. Walking along the roadway is not advised due to the narrow travel lanes, road shoulder and high traffic volume.

Shuttle service for PCT hikers between Mazama Village and Rim Village is offered by Crater Lake Trolley. This service is offered only when trolleys are running, July 1-September 30, 2022 (weather permitting). As of September 18, rides to the rim from Mazama Village are available at 9:30 am, and 11:00 am. Rides to Mazama Village from the rim are available only at 2:30 pm.



During the summer fire season, trail and area closures often occur, sometimes with little notice. Before entering the park read the alerts on the website (the same alerts will show on the NPS APP), or call the backcountry office at (541) 594-3060.


Learn More

More information about the entire Pacific Crest Trail is available from the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

Pacific Crest Trail Association Logo

Last updated: January 17, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604


541 594-3000

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