05 Route 2 — South Entrance Road

History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park

 

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Route 2 — South Entrance Road

This portion of Highway 62 links the road junction near Annie Spring with the park’s south boundary, a distance of 10.24 miles. It is an asphalt road consisting of two lanes with shoulders and posted at 45 mph, but elongated curves and greater sight distance in comparison to the West Entrance Road encourage motorists to go consistently faster than the speed limit. There is ample opportunity for visitors to stop and view the stream canyon formed by Annie Creek that cuts through pumice and ash ejected by Mount Mazama during its climactic eruption. Within a mile of the road junction at Annie Spring is the Godfrey Glen Overlook, a paved parking area separated from the canyon’s edge by masonry guardrail. The “glen” is where headwater streams join erosional remnants called “pinnacles,” which occur along the edges of the canyon and can be seen downstream near several other parking areas.

Some separation from the road can be found in any of the three picnic areas on this route. Less than 2 miles south of Godfrey Glen Overlook is the first picnic area, one largely bereft of scenic vistas but located directly across the road from a trailhead leading to Pumice Flat and Union Peak. Two miles further south is a picnic area where Annie Falls can be seen from the southern end of a short loop road. Across the canyon is Crater Peak, a feature easily seen from the highway by looking east. The last picnic area is set amid a forest dominated by ponderosa pine and conifers such as Douglas fir, sugar pine, and white fir. It contains a vault toilet and information kiosk completed in 2002, with only a short walk down slope from these facilities required for visitors to reach Annie Creek.

The last picnic area, one located less than a half mile from the park’s south entrance, is the only place motorists can stop within the so-called “panhandle,” an area transferred from an adjoining national forest in 1932. The size of what amounts to a road corridor, it extends for 2.3 miles and contains large trees that arguably provide the most impressive portal for visitors entering the park. Just over 3 miles from the boundary, however, the ponderosa pine quickly gives way to more monotonous lodgepole pine and some mountain hemlock. These tree species, along with an occasional western white pine, line the roadway toward the Annie Spring junction, though not so oppressive that they keep motorists from the occasional glimpse of features like Crater Peak.