Crater Lake is an amazing place in the Pacific Northwest. It’s about 8 hours from Seattle, 5 hours from Portland. We drove in after a quick stop in Hood River and entered through the North entrance. You wind around what seems like a European pass and then BOOM the first viewpoint kind of blows your mind. It’s a super deep (2000 feet) super clear lake surrounded by a crater that was made about 27,000 years ago.
Driving on, we made our way to the Mazama campground. You absolutely HAVE to book early if you visit in the summer. Was a little hard to find a good camp site but in the end we found a good spot. The camp site has a locker for food and you can make a fire (note the marshmallow roasting). Good campers with lots of families and the park service had some fun talks each night (Critters in the night made for interesting bedtime with my 8 year olds).
The next day we drove on to the east side of the lake (about 30 minutes) to the base of Mount Scott. It’s about a 5 mile round trip to the summit and totally, completely worth it. Bugs were not bad, and no real danger spots for kids (but keep an eye on them!). There’s a great little watchtower on top (locked unfortunately) where you can have some lunch in the shade.
It’s worth noting that the park is super well run. I heard some complaints about traffic but it didn’t seem bad at all and there were some cool special events happening (orchestra played in the forest!).
The next day we struck out early and said goodbye. We may not return soon as it’s a pretty long trip but it was totally worth doing!
Bring everything you need — do not rely on the store there for ice or any decent provisions! (except beer!)