Winter – 11 Chapter 3. Existing Winter Visitor Use – INTRODUCTION

Draft Winter Use Plan, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1994

 Chapter 3. Existing Winter Visitor Use


This section describes existing active winter uses within the park and on U.S. Forest Service land surrounding the park. Existing active winter uses in Crater Lake National Park include:

  • limited snowmobiling,

  • cross-country skiing,

  • guided and individual snowshoe walks, and

  • winter camping (frontcountry and backcountry).

Most winter visitors drive to the rim to enjoy the view of the lake. However, for a growing number of visitors, overnight stays and other forms of transportation have become part of the experience. The winter use plan specifically addresses snowmobiling, crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing, and overnight camping. Winter snow play activities such as sledding and innertubing currently occur within the park but are not sanctioned or monitored uses. Winter snow play is described briefly in this section but is not addressed as a component of the winter use plan.

The following discussion identifies winter recreation areas both within Crater Lake National Park and on U.S. Forest Service land surrounding the park. The purpose of the discussion is to document the types of winter recreation facilities in the Crater Lake area. The availability of winter recreation and support facilities (e.g., lodging, food service, etc.) outside the park will be considered as one factor in determining the types of winter use activities appropriate for the park and where these activities should occur.


Under existing NPS policy, the use of mechanized snow machines (snowmobiles and snowcoaches) is allowed only on roads open to traffic during the summer season and closed to traffic during the winter. Currently, snowmobiling is allowed within Crater Lake National Park from the north park entrance to North Junction. This 9-mile route (Route Si), which is closed to vehicle traffic during the winter, leads from Oregon 138 to the northwest rim of Crater Lake (see Figure 3-1). Snowmobiles using this route typically originate at Diamond Lake, approximately 6 miles north of the park boundary. The total number of people using this route each season is unknown; however, over the 1992-93 winter season, the Diamond Lake Resort staff guided 30 tours, each with approximately 17 snowmobiles, to Crater Lake National Park. Approximately 660 people participated in these tours. (Benson pers. comm.)


Figure 3-1. Crater Lake National Park Snowmobile Trails.