Visitor Services Plan, Crater Lake National Park
OVERVIEW OF THE PARK AND ITS DEVELOPED AREAS
Crater Lake National Park is in southwest Oregon in the south-central portion of the Cascade Range. This national park contains Crater Lake, which is the deepest lake in the United States and is renowned for its clarity and the intense blue color of its water. The waters are surrounded by the jagged, steep-walled cliffs of the caldera left by the climactic eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama about 7,700 years ago. These cliffs rise from 500 to 2,000 feet above the lake’s surface. The intensity of the water’s color combined with the physical relief and coloration of the caldera’s rim creates spectacular scenery.
The park’s southern entrance station at Mazama Village is 76 miles from Medford and 56 miles from Klamath Falls and can be reached by Oregon State Route (OR) 62. The park can also be reached from the north by OR 138. Both the south and north access roads lead to Rim Drive, a 33-mile roadway that circles the caldera rim. Pullouts along Rim Drive provide scenic lake views. Winter access is maintained only from the south and west on OR 62 through the Munson Valley headquarters area and up to Rim Village. Road closures, particularly between headquarters and the rim, are common during the winter because of frequent snowstorms.
Rim Village. at an elevation of 7,100 feet on the south edge of Crater Lake, has functioned as a year-round operation since 1948, although services are limited in the winter. Seasonal interpretive activities are provided from a small visitor contact facility near the rim and at the Sinnott Memorial overlook. The Sinnott Memorial is 25 feet below the rim on a precipitous cliff overlooking the lake. It has architectural significant because it is constructed mostly of large uncoursed rock that blends into the rim wall. The Sinnott Memorial offers visitors a spectacular view of Crater Lake and is an ideal place to interpret the lake and caldera. Seasonal hotel accommodations are available at Crater Lake Lodge. Food services, gift sales, a picnic area, geology talks (summer only), and interpretive exhibits are also available at Rim Village. Related support facilities include parking for approximately 450 cars and concession employee housing.
Mazama Village is about 7 miles south of Rim Village and is the primary overnight visitor use area in the summer. A campground, motel accommodations, a camper services store, shower and laundry facilities, a gas station, interpretive walks, and evening campfire programs are all available during the summer. The nearby Annie Spring entrance station is the first contact station where visitors arriving by way of OR 62 might encounter NPS staff during the summer.
Cleetwood is on the north shore of Crater Lake and is accessed from Rim Drive. It is about 6 miles east of the north junction where Rim Drive intersects the north entrance road. Cleetwood contains a parking area, a nonpermanent ticket sales structure, and a portable restroom at the rim. A trail descends the side of the caldera to the lake. The concessioner offers commercial boat tours of the lake, accompanied by NPS interpreters. Support facilities at lake level include a dock, a bulkhead and gangway, a nonpermanent boat operations building, restrooms, and minimal storage facilities for NPS and concession equipment. A gasoline fuel system at Cleetwood consists of an underground storage tank at the rim, a double-wall fuel line that leads to an aboveground storage tank at lakeside, and an underground line from the aboveground tank to a fuel pump, which is used to fuel the boats.
Park headquarters is about 3 miles south of Rim Village and serves as the center of NPS administration, maintenance, and housing. It also serves as the year-round visitor interpretation and orientation point. Park headquarters is in a historic complex of buildings at the central portion of the Munson Valley development area. Visitor information services and interpretive exhibits are provided in this complex at the Steel Information Center. Primary park administrative services are in the Sager building. Storage and maintenance facilities are also in the park headquarters area.