09 D. Visits to Crater Lake 1874 – 1883

Crater Lake National Park: Administrative History by Harlan D. Unrau and Stephen Mark, 1987


CHAPTER ONE: Discovery And Exploration Of Crater Lake: 1853-1885


By the mid 1870s Crater Lake had become a local tourist attraction. The improved military road between Jacksonville and Fort Klamath, connecting with both the old Southern Emigrant Route between central and eastern Oregon to the south and the Oregon-California Road linking Portland and Sacramento to the west, passed within several miles of the lake, providing relatively easy access to it. Added incentive for a trip to the lake was the opportunity to camp out at Huckleberry Mountain, which soon became an annual tradition for many settlers of the Rogue River Valley and Klamath County and Indians from the nearby Klamath Reservation. A camp-city, often numbering more than 50 people, was organized each year. A side trip to Crater Lake by horseback, foot, or light wagon became part of these annual camping trips. [17]

One such camping visit occurred in September 1877 when a party of seventeen persons left Ashland for Crater Lake. By the time they got to the rim, other tourists had joined them, swelling their numbers to more than forty. During the next three days eighteen more persons appeared. The newspaper writer described this as the “largest excursion party which ever left the marts of civilization to encamp along the ruins of what was once perhaps the grandest old volcano of the Cascade chain.” [18]