Introduction

Forests of Crater Lake National Park

 Introduction.

Among the many natural wonders of the Northwest there are few that produce more profound and lasting impressions than Crater Lake, of southern Oregon. This marvelous body of water lies near the summit of the Cascade Mountains, about 65 miles north of the Oregon-California line, in the heart of one of the most interesting mountainous forest regions of the State.

Briefly, Crater Lake is a deep body of clear, fresh water, contained within the caldera or crater of an extinct volcano. Surrounding the lake, which is about 5 miles in width, the steep cliffs forming the inner slope of the crater rise abruptly to a height of 1,000 to 2,000 feet, and from the rim the outer slopes lead way more gently on all sides. The outer slopes of the crater are generally conceded as being the remains of a lofty peak that once occupied the place where the lake now lies. This mountain, whose outer slopes alone now exist, has been given the name of Mount Mazama.

In the region around Crater Lake there are numerous volcanic peaks, which lift their forest-clad or rocky and barren heads from 7,000 to nearly 9,000 feet above the sea. At their feet break forth a multitude of springs—some gently seeping up through marshy meadows and moss-covered banks, other gushing from rocky founts in veritable torrents. In these springs are born rushing streams that have carved great canyons to the south, east, and west, forming the headwaters of the Klamath and the Rogue Rivers.

Over all of the region, excepting the summits of the highest peaks, is spread a wonderful array of evergreen trees, clothing the slopes with dense, solemn forests, or dotted around mountain meadows, canyons, and crater rim.

In order to insure the permanent natural condition of Crater Lake, and its forests, streams, and mountain peaks, the National Government, in 1902, set aside as a national park an area embracing 159,360 acres, in which Crater Lake occupies nearly a central position. To this wonderland hundreds of visitors are attracted every year—geologists, who find a rich field in its craters, canyons, and lava flows; botanists, studying its trees and flowers; but more than all, those who find rest and inspiration in camping and traveling through the wildness of its mountains and forests.

Several good routes are available to those wishing to visit the park. From Medford, Oreg., on the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad, wagon or automobile may be taken for 82 miles over the Rogue River road, reaching the park at the western entrance. From Ashland, south of Medford, the Dead Indian road leads across the Cascade Divide to Pelican Bay or Upper Klamath Lake, but this road is not a main thoroughfare and does not permit of automobile traffic. A road leads north from Pelican Bay past Fort Klamath, ascending Anna Creek and reaching Crater Lake National Park at the southern entrance. From Klamath Falls, on a branch line of the Southern Pacific, the journey may be made by wagon or automobile to Fort Klamath, or by boat from Klamath Falls to Agency Landing, on Agency Lake, then by automobile or stage to Fort Klamath and to the park. A new wagon road, entering the park from the east side and following Sand Creek, makes Crater Lake readily accessible from Chiloquin, on the Klamath Falls branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

Crater Lake National Park is surrounded on three sides by the Crater Lake National Forest, which lies mostly on the summits and upper slopes of the southern Cascade Mountains. Any road that may be taken first passes through the forest before entering the park.

next >>