History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park
Route 8 — North Entrance Road
From the Diamond Lake (North) Junction on Rim Drive, the North Entrance Road runs 9.2 miles north to meet state highway 138. It is a two-lane road averaging 24′ wide, not including a shoulder 3′ in width on each side. Much of the road has a higher posted speed (55 miles per hour) than anywhere else in the park, commencing at a point 2.5 miles below the rim. This is due to a relatively straight alignment with no real curvature. Total relief on this road is about 1,000′, half of which is traveled in the first 2 miles below the North Junction.
Open pumice fields and features like Red Cone (7363′), Bald Crater (6478′), and Grouse Hill (7412′) dominate the panorama as visitors descend from the rim and head north. Thick stands of lodgepole pine obscure distant views after the first mile, though the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the highway between Red Cone and Grouse Hill. Visitors enter the Pumice Desert another 2 miles north of the trailhead, and can stop at a paved parking area where the largely barren terrain resulting from the great eruption of Mount Mazama can be better appreciated. The road then disappears into the lodgepole pine forest less than a mile from the parking area on the Pumice Desert, and remains there until the road junction with Highway 138 is reached. There is one short break from the monotony, on a descent toward the entrance station, where part of Mount Thielson (9178′), a jagged peak located on the Umpqua National Forest, can be seen in the distance.