Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1918

 Crater Lake National Park

CRATER LAKE National Park is in southwestern Oregon, on the crest of the Cascade Range, sixty miles north of the California line, midway between San Francisco and Portland. It contains 249 square miles. The elevation varies from 5,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level. The Park is a broad and timbered plateau surmounted by numerous volcanic peaks, among them Scott Peak, Timber Crater, Desert Cone, Red Cone, Crater Peak and Union Peak. Crater Lake, weird- and mysterious, lies in their midst near the center of the Park, and is, as its name implies, a lake in the extinct crater of a volcano. It was not discovered by white men until 1853, and today is recognized as one of the greatest of scenic and most striking of geologic spectacles.

All of our great national playgrounds have their distinctive beauties; each is different in great measure in the sublimity and attractiveness of its natural grandeur, but Crater Lake stands alone in this: that all likeness to any familiar landscape here ceases.

Other lands have their crater lakes -Italy, India and Hawaii-and there are some craters in this country that contain miniature lakes; but there is only one really great caldera of this kind in the world-only one immense basin apparently formed through the complete melting by intense heat of the entire core of a great volcano, and the falling in and utter disappearance through subterranean caverns of its massive bulk.

That perpetual desolation the nightmare of a Dante-should follow such a cataclysm would be expected; that aeons of time and the mystical workings of Nature have transformed the devastation to a dream-picture, will be a continual boon to the sightseer.

The titanic convulsion that formed this remarkable beauty-spot no human eye witnessed. Geologists have concluded that ages ago, in the great chain of volcanic mountain peaks which today extends from Washington to California-among them Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. Jefferson, Three Sisters, Mt. McLoughlin, Mt. Shasta and Lassen Peak-there towered one, which has been called Mount Mazama, that may have topped the tallest of its fellows. Judging from the pitch of the remnants of its outer slopes, scientists conclude with reasonable certainty that, if reconstructed, its snowclad peak would rise from seven to eight thousand feet above its broken rim. Mazama stands today an uncrowned king, shorn of its diadem of burning gold and glittering silver, yet holding within its heart a treasure the rarest in the world-a beautiful lake, the deepest of all lakes, with waters the bluest of all blue waters. And this is Crater Lake!

Mount Mazama if reconstructed

Crater Lake is almost circular, varying from five to six miles in diameter. Its known depth is 2,000 feet and it is believed to be the deepest body of fresh water in the world. Its surface is 6,177 feet above the sea. It has no inlet or outlet, being fed by springs and winter snows; its water escapes by underground channels, reappearing as springs in the Klamath region, a few miles away. It is completely girdled by precipitous cliffs and steep talus slopes that fall sharply downward from its rim 2,000 to 600 feet to the water’s edge. Closely encircling it rise many high peaks, notably Llao Rock, The Watchman, and Cloud Cap; also Glacier, Garfield and Vidae Peaks.

<< previousnext >>