National park tips: To reach this amazing island, come when it’s hot

Wizard Island sits near the edge of famously blue Crater Lake in Oregon. The Cleetwood Trail, on the far caldera slope, hidden by mist, is the only way down to water's edge, and it's only open in warmer months.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

The best thing about Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is hiking or driving around the rim. But snowfall is almost always heavy there, so you can’t expect full access until late summer. Then, you have the best chance of hiking the 1.1-mile-long Cleetwood Cove Trail (the only route to the water’s edge) and getting a boat tour of the lake. Some tours even stop at Wizard Island -- but they’re only offered when the Cleetwood Cove Trail is open, because visitors must conquer the trail before boarding the boat.

READ: At Crater Lake, Ore., sky and water become one, bathed in blue »


Crater Lake, a caldera nearly 2,000 feet deep and 4 1/2 to 6 miles across, is a mirror where a mountaintop should be.

In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.


Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.


Expect to pay more to visit and camp at Death Valley National Park