Watchman Peak Trail

Watchman Peak Trail – Crater Lake National Park


Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: .7 mi (1.13 km)

Elevation: 7579 – 7881* ft (2310 – 2402* m)

Trailhead coordinates:

Latitude: N +42° 56.68 or 42.94476

Longitude: W -122° 10.23 or -122.17052

Altitude: 7579 ft (2310 m)

Highlight: spectacular panoramic views, overlook of Wizard Island, historic fire lookout; great alpine flower trail

  *Watchman Peak summit (Watchman Lookout)

REI Trails Project  partners with Crater Lake Institute to produce their trails app. Click the map below, get the app – then come back, we offer more.

Trail Description


Watchman Peak fire lookout, Photo by Robert Mutch

This is one of the best locations for an unobstructed overview of Wizard Island.

The trail begins on an old road (a previous Rim Drive) and travels southwest through an open pumice field for .25 of a mile before leaving the road and turning southeast into the sparsely forested south flank of Watchman Peak. This tree cover is composed of mountain hemlock and some whitebark pines. After a short distance the trail begins to switchback until it reaches the peak of the Watchman.

Some alpine flowers to look for: Davidson’s Penstemon, western pasqueflower, sticky cinquefoil, Newberry’s fleeceflower, sulphur flower, heartleaf arnica, alpine bittercress, spreading phlox, and alpine pussytoes.

Trailhead location: Located adjacent the east side of the Rim Drive, 3.8 miles (6.1 km) northwest of Rim Village. Park at the Corrals viewpoint surrounded by wooded fences.

Seasonal Information: Expect the trail to be covered in snow from October to early July, however, conditions vary somewhat from year to year. See Crater Lake Current Conditions for more information.

Historic Note: Built in 1932, the peak’s historic fire lookout is still staffed by rangers during the fire season.

Various Watchtower photos from our collection.


View Watchman peak trail in a larger map

(1) Trailhead parking – Corrals viewpoint

(2) Trailhead

(3) Watchman Peak fire lookout


Watchman Peak Trail Elevation Profile


Related Maps

Digital USGS topographic maps (PDF files) – the following maps are relevant to the Watchman Peak trail. See more Crater Lake Institute online USGS digital maps.

Series Name Year Scale Contour Interval File
USGS 7.5′ Crater Lake West 1985 1:24,000 40 ft usgs-crater-lake-west-7.5
USGS 30′ x 60′ Crater Lake 1989 1:100,000 50 m usgs-crater-lake-30-minute
USGS 30′ x 60′ Diamond Lake 1978 1:100,000 50 m usgs-diamond-lake-30-minute
USGS 1° x 2° Klamath Falls 1970 1:250,000 200 ft usgs-klamath-falls-1-2
USGS 1° x 2° Medford 1976 1:250,000 200 ft usgs-medford-1-2
USGS 1° x 2° Roseburg 1970 1:250,000 200 ft usgs-roseburg-1-2


watchman-sunsetSunset from the Watchman Peak fire lookout, facing west, Crater Lake National Park, photo by Robert Mutch


pasqueflower-watchmanPasqueflower, near Watchman Peak trailhead, Crater Lake National Park, photo by Robert Mutch



Please remember to practice leave no trace outdoor ethics when you are out on Crater Lake National Park’s trails…and have fun!

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