Nordic and Cross-Country (XC) SkiingThe park features a variety of marked and unmarked routes for cross-country skiing. Choose a route through forests, along West Rim Drive to lake overlooks, or to Vidae Falls along the East Rim Drive. Maps and descriptions of the ski trails are available in the park newspaper. None of the routes are groomed, and they are sometimes deep and difficult to follow. Conditions may range from powder to slush or ice. Skiers may need to break trail. Snowshoers often use the same routes.
The Alerts & Conditions page has current information on road closures, park alerts, and weather.
Strapping on a pair of snowshoes is a great way to experience the changes that winter brings to Crater Lake National Park. Mounds of snowy waves cover downed trees and saplings, and forest shadows stretch across the sparkling snow. Meadows become white wonderlands. Snowshoe for a short distance or plan a full day along an established trail. First-time visitors are advised to follow one of the park’s ski routes. Maps are found in the park newspaper.
Wearing warm, waterproof clothing and footwear, staying hydrated, and having a plan increases your safety and enjoyment while snowshoeing. Ski and snowshoe rentals are not available in the park, but many outfitters outside the park rent cross-country skis and/or snowshoes.
Circling the Lake in WinterEach winter, approximately 80 skiers and 40 snowshoers travel all the way around Crater Lake. It’s a trip that can be exceptionally rewarding, with unforgettable views. It can also be physically and mentally demanding—a test of endurance and outdoor skills. A backcountry permit is required for entire tour.
March and April are the most popular months to complete the loop. Spring provides more hours of daylight than the winter months and longer periods of fair weather. When the weather is clear, the 31-mile (50-km) loop takes an average of 3 days to complete. Storms, however, force many parties to turn back or to spend extra nights. The route is unmarked, difficult to follow in places, and crossed by a number of avalanche paths. Those attempting the trip should be experienced in winter camping, backcountry travel, and avalanche safety.
Venturing into the backcountry requires understanding the dangers that could impact your experience. Sudden weather changers, avalanches and road closures could impact their travel plans. Backcountry users are strongly encouraged to plan for these unforeseen impacts as Emergency response could take up to 24 hours or more. More info at Winter Safety
Last updated: January 23, 2021