Crater Lake National Park – with Kids

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Last update: January 9th, 2024 at 04:57 pm

Crater Lake with Kids

Crater Lake Facts

It is hard to really get an understanding of the scale of Crater Lake, until you peek over that edge for the first time. I have seen some pretty cool things in my travels, but I’ll admit to feeling truly awestruck by her beauty as well as her sheer enormity. Five miles across at the widest point, Crater Lake is also the deepest lake in the United States, formed in the caldera created by the eruption and subsequent collapse of Mt. Mazama, some 7700 years ago. Although a little out of the way on our recent epic Oregon Road Trip (Cannon Beach, Tree House Resort in Cave Junction and Mt. Hood), this natural wonder was a worthy day trip with kids. Here is a quick video peek, or just keep reading.

What to See At Crater Lake

Crater Lake Kids

When visiting with children, be sure to stop first at the Rim Village Visitor’s Center to pick up a map as well as a Junior Ranger’s Activity Book (for ages 6-12 years). If your child completes a certain number of activities in the book, they can return it for a prize (it can also be mailed in at a later date).

Swimming in Crater Lake

As my children and husband were very intent on swimming in the lake, we drove to the one trail that offers swimming access; the Cleetwood Cove Trail. This is also a favored spot for brave souls to cliff jump into the frigid waters (55F). For those thinking of taking this trail, it might be useful to know that it took us 20 minutes to get down to the lake and about 35 minutes to get back up. We saw children as young as 3 making the hike, but if you are traveling with a toddler, a carrier may be  of use.  Be sure to bring a bottle of water.

Cleetwood Cove Trail Crater Lake

For fauna lovers like me, there are lots of cute little birds and critters hopping around in the rocks.

Chipmunk Crater Lake
Cleetwood Jump Crater Lake

As I took the photo below, I wondered if I could pass her off as me.

Jumping into Crater Lake
Swimming in Crater Lake

Hotels at Crater Lake

If you are looking for lodgings at Crater Lake you can’t find better than the Crater Lake Lodge. Unfortunately for us, it was fully booked during our stay. I was told that families love their ‘loft suites’ which accommodate 5 people, are two levels, and have views of both the valley and the lake. The lodge is open mid-May through mid-October.  (see website for more information)

Crater Lake Lodge Exterior
Crater Lake Lodge Interior
Crater Lake Lodge with Kids

When to Visit Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park is open year round, although certain areas and roads are closed during the winter.  For best viewing, plan your visit between mid-May and mid-October.  Learn more from the Crater Lake National Park website.

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