Visiting in Fall

A wide-angle view across the slightly rolling landscape of a pumice desert soft light over autumn shades
A landscape of promise, beauty and expansiveness. This color and light might be seen from mid-August to mid-October.  NPS Photo
Fall (autumn) at Crater Lake National Park offers everything that a visitor might hope to experience. There are stunningly beautiful days and clear nights, dustings of snow, cooler temperatures, no crowds, bird migrations, wildlife sightings, and a few colorful leaf displays. And like fall, it is also somewhat of a fallow time in the park. Facilities begin to reduce hours or close, fewer ranger programs take place, and the park prepares for a long winter.
Brake lights are on a silver car slowing down past several trees displaying a yellow fall color
With an eye on the road and awareness of your speed, you might be greeted by fall color along highway 62 towards the south exit and beyond it. A few black cottonwoods and quaking aspens dot the roadside and there are groves deeper in the forest.

2021 Photo courtesy of Mimi Gorman


Beginning mid-September to early November, days may still be warm but they typically give way to cool, and often cold nights. In the fall, just about anything weather wise is possible including thunderstorms, hail, wind, flurries and heavy snowfall. This is especially relevant at the highest elevations and along trails to peaks. The weather may change within days, hours and even minutes. Sometimes you can watch it happening.

The average high temperature in October is 52 °F (11 °C) and the average low is 31 °F (-1 °C). All monthly averages are displayed on the weather page. Snow is not always predictable but an average of 21 in (53 cm) falls each October. The weather is part of the park's fall charm.
In the center of a rock and boulder field a pika sits with a mouthful of leaves and sticks.
Choosing a fall hike might alert you the "eeep" calls of a pika. Following the calls, you might get a glimpse into a pika's fall activity of collecting food for its winter cache. It also is on guard to protect its cache from the thievery of  other pikas .

2019 Photo courtesy of Mimi Gorman

Recommended Fall Activities

  1. View the lake from 30 pullouts along the 33-mile Rim Drive.
  2. Weather permitting, choose a hiking trail for a fall adventure.
  3. Enjoy the challenge of bicycling around the rim with fewer vehicles and cooler fall temperatures.
  4. Bursting seed pods, sunrises and sunsets, wildlife sightings and reflections offer photographers many opportunities.
  5. If you are at least 6 years of age, ask for a Junior Ranger Activity Book at a visitor center or fee booth and earn a Junior Ranger badge.
  6. Take a stroll along the Rim Village promenade. Visit many historic buildings and the Sinnot Memorial (usually open through mid-October).
  7. Explore Ponderosa Picnic Area which has the most diverse plant life in the park, including tree species.


ROADS. With any significant snowfall, portions or all of Rim Drive and North Entrance Road may close before the scheduled closing date of November 1. Always check the current conditions page before arriving in the park for any changes to road closures.

LODGING and CAMPING. Crater Lake Lodge is generally open into early October. The Cabins at Mazama Village close along with Mazama Campground in late September. Please visit the Explor Crater Lake website for closings, reservations, fees and other information. If you are interested in lodging outside of the park please review the list on the lodging and camping page of possible sites.

EATING. The Rim Village Café and Gift Shop is the only eating establishment that is open year-round. The Crater Lake Lodge dining room serves until the lodge itself closes in October. The other facilities usually close with the closing of Mazama Campground in late September. All are operated by the park concessioner. Information about menus, and closings is found on the Explor Crater Lake website.

VISITOR CENTERS. Check the visitor center page for current status. Also, the current conditions page will have up-to-date roads and facility closures.

Last updated: April 22, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604


541 594-3000

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