Resources 1984 – B. Entrance Road and Bridges 1. Early Conditions Call for Improvements

Historic Resource Study, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1984

VIII. Roads of Crater Lake National Park


B. Entrance Road and Bridges

1. Early Conditions Call for Improvements

The road stretching from the park entrance up the canyon above Annie Spring to the rim was originally only a crude path cut by wagon wheels. Even after the park’s establishment, when Congress appropriated money to improve the road to the “crater,” little was done besides cutting trees and clearing away fallen timber. The final ascent to the rim had a maximum grade of 33%, forcing most visitors to leave their conveyances at the foot of the hill about a mile from their goal and proceed the rest of the way on foot.

Although during W.F. Arant’s superintendency from 1902 to 1913 visitors would be few and far between, as soon as he entered on the job Arant wrote the secretary of the interior suggesting improvement of the only road to the rim, which was up a “very steep rocky and rough mountain.” [6] This entrance road began three miles from the summit and made a steep climb of 1,000 feet or more up the slope.

By May 1903 Superintendent Arant hoped to have a new road leading to the lake constructed by August l. It was to be a vast improvement over the old by virtue of its being shorter with lower bumps and fewer steep grades. [7] By July 31 needed improvements in the old road had been made and two miles of new construction had been accomplished. Work had also begun on a bridge over Annie Creek. Unfortunately, skimpy appropriations–a problem continually hampering new park areas–had precluded further improvements and completion of the new road. [8] In August, however, the bridge over Annie Creek was finished, measuring 103 feet long and 30 feet high. Still under construction was a 90-foot-long bridge over “Bridge Creek.” [9] (In order to preserve the bridges he built in the park, Arant removed their flooring every winter to prevent the framework from being broken by heavy snowfalls).


Illustration 14. Crater Lake highway, ca. 1900. Courtesy Southern Oregon Historical Society.

In December 1903, in his annual report to the secretary of the interior, Superintendent Arant made several recommendations for improvements that should be made in the park during fiscal year 1904. Those affecting roads and bridges included:

1) improving the condition of the eight miles of road from the south end of the park to Annie Creek;

2) constructing a bridge over Whitehorse Creek and improving the road there;

3) rerouting the entrance road from a point about 3-1/2 miles west of the summit to Annie Creek bridge, thereby eliminating a high hill; and,

4) completing the road from Annie Creek bridge to the rim of the “crater,” of which only two miles had been constructed. [10]


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