History of Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park
Routes 3 & 4 — Munson Valley Road
From the Annie Spring Junction this road runs north to the junction with Rim Drive at Park Headquarters (Route 3), and then to Rim Village (Route 4). The two-lane asphalt road averages 24′ in surfaced width (including shoulders) and measures 7.06 miles in length. It is posted at 45 miles per hour like both parts of Highway 62 within the park, but there are two long tangents where vehicle speeds often exceed the posted limit. A long spiral curve at grade less than 2 miles from Annie Spring counteracts the tendency to go faster than the speed limit for a short distance, as do a series of shortened curves above Park Headquarters that allow motorists to enter or exit the upper end of Munson Valley.
Route 3 contains the only bridges in the park, starting with a wooden span about 40′ over Annie Creek, and located just a short distance from the spring. It and the bridge over Goodbye Creek, 1 mile to the north, were the first glue-laminated spans in any unit of the National Park System when constructed in 1955 and 1956. The Goodbye Creek Bridge is 70′ high and measures 218′ abutment-to-abutment (see HAER No. OR-107A). Two parking areas on the north side of this bridge form the Goodbye Creek Picnic Area, though the stream separates one set of tables from the other. Both parking areas are delineated with bituminous curb, as are eight roadside pullouts along Route 3.
Although Route 4 is roughly the same length as Route 3, it contains more curves of short radii in having to pass from Munson Valley to Rim Village, and is effectively part of Rim Drive in that it allows motorists to complete a full circuit. Roadside slopes on Route 4 are banked to achieve a rounded appearance, though the vegetation on them is often sparse due to frequent rock fall. Several drop inlets with stone masonry faces are the means of facilitating cross drainage in the steep sections, especially near Munson Springs. The road reaches Munson Ridge (the Cascade Divide) about a half mile beyond the springs and runs largely on contours to Rim Village. One short curve near the village can surprise motorists if they are traveling above the posted speed of 35 mph, not far from where many of them obtain their first glimpse of Crater Lake at the road junction with Rim Drive.
The two parts of the Munson Valley Road provide a dramatically different experience for visitors in terms of what they can see. Large mountain hemlocks and Shasta red fir line the roadside of Route 3, but the absence of understory vegetation provides filtered views into the forest. A parking area separated from the road a short distance uphill from Goodbye Creek allows visitors to leave their cars for a 1 mile walk called the Godfrey Glen Trail, a path that provides them with dramatic views of Annie Creek Canyon not seen from the road. Steep slopes and distant ridgelines are pervasive over most of Route 4, with Castle Crest (a massive ridge below Garfield Peak) dominating the scene above Park Headquarters. As motorists climb toward Rim Village, views of the Klamath Basin and major peaks to the south can be seen.