Little Crater Lake – Oregon

Oregon is rightfully proud of Crater Lake – the only National park in the state, which amazes me because the whole state should be a national park. But Oregon wasn’t happy with one, it wanted a second one, called Little Crater Lake which is nestled  high in the Mount Hood National Forest. Just like its bigger brother, the waters here are totally clear and a deep deep blue, although this one is only 100 feet across and up to 45 feet deep. However, this is no volcano, it is a pool fed by an artesian spring.

It is difficult to get a sense of scale from pictures though. There are many trees that have over time fallen into the pond, and they just look like twigs floating in there, but these are full sized trees some of them resting on the bottom of the lake – that is how clear the water is. The other surprising thing about this lake is that you will not find any swimmers in there. While it looks very inviting, it would be an almost certain death as the water is a constant 34°.

Another great thing about this location is the meadow right by the lake. Wildflowers and wildlife are abundant here.

For photographers, make sure you have a polarizer on your lens when taking pictures here. While there is still some glare coming of the surface of the lake, you would not be able to see into the water at all without one attached. The picture of the lake was taken with a circular polarizer.

To get there, drive along highway 26 – the Mount Hood highway, to Skyline Road (Road 42). Turn right and drive south for 4 miles. Turn right on FS Road 58, and drive another 2 miles to Little Crater Lake Campground. The lake is a very short hike from the parking lot. This area does connect with the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, so there are plenty of additional hikes that can start from this location. A popular one is to Timothy Lake.

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Brought to you by Brian Bailey

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Water in Oregon: Lakes of Oregon, Streams of Oregon, Crater Lake, List of longest streams of Oregon, Columbia Slough, Little Butte Creek