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Crater Lake Rim Road Driving Tour

This guide will take you on a drive around the Crater Lake Rim Road stopping at the best viewpoints along the way.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 45 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  This is a comprehensive guide to the best viewpoints and points of interest around the Crater Lake National Park. This guide is... more »

Tips:  From I-5 in Roseburg Take 138 to Crater Lake or from Bend on the west side take 97 south to 138 for Crater Lake. There is a $15-20... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Park Entrance

Here you will enter the National Park. I believe it is $15 or $20 per car. I've included some of the views you will have while driving to the rim road.

2. Merriam Point

This viewpoint may be one of the best on the lake as you can see across the lake to Mt. Scott and over the rim to Mt. McLoughlin to the south. Wizard Island is below you.

3. Watchman Lookout

The best views down to Wizard Island below from here.

4. Picnic Area & Viewpoint

Some views down through the trees towards the Lake and Wizard Island. Across the street from the lake is the trailhead for the Lightning Springs Trail.

5. Discovery Point Viewpoint

The Discovery Point Trail is between the Crater edge and the Road. Feel free to walk north or south down this trail for other views down to the lake.

Stop in at the Rim Village to buy souveniers and then take a stroll over to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook for more fantastic views of the lake. There are restrooms in this area as well and a cafe where you can buy food.

7. Steel Information Center and Park Headquarters

Stop in here for a wealth of information about the Crater Lake area. There is even an 18 minute long video on the area you can watch. From here continue east on the rim road. You'll be driving downhill but then will start ascending again once you past Vidae Falls.

8. Vidae Falls

This is a beautiful waterfall coming down from Applegate Peak.

9. Sun Notch Hike

I have another guide for this short hike to an amazing viewpoint. Check out that guide. Here are some teaser pics though of the views.

10. Kerr Notch Viewpoint

More great views over the lake and down to the Phantom Ship.

11. Pinnacles Road Junction

Take a right onto this road to drive out to some cool volcanic rock formations called the "Pinnacles".

12. Pinnacles Overlook

Your first view of some cool volcanic formations from the side of the road.

13. Best Overlook for Pinnacles

In this area you will have your best views of the Pinnacle Formations.

14. Victor View Viewpoint

There is another viewpoint in this area as well about 0.1 mi up the road. Either has great views back towards the Phantom Ship.

15. Redcloud Cliff Viewpoint Road

Take a left onto this road to go see a wonderful viewpoint and even hike down to the edge of a 1,000 foot cliff if you've got the guts.

16. Mt. Scott Information Post

Stop here for a great view of Mt. Scott and to read about Crater Lakes highest point.

17. Redcloud Cliff Viewpoint

If you are brave jump over the stone wall and head on down to the point of land overlooking Redcloud Cliff. You will be on top of a point of land with a sheer 1,000+ foot drop below you. If you are scared of heights don't do this.

18. Mt. Scott Trailhead

I have another guide for this short climb to the top of Crater Lakes highest point. Here are some teaser photos.

19. Mt. Scott Picnic Area

Stop here for a bathroom break or a picnic with great views of Mt. Scott above.

20. Skell Head Picnic Area & Viewpoint

Another great area for a picnic with a view.

21. Grotto Cove Viewpoint

Stop here for some views out over Grotto Cove. There is another spot just up the road you can pull off as well.

22. Tour Boat Parking & Trailhead

Park here if you plan on taking the Cleetwood Trail down to the tour boat landing. You'll have great views over the lake even if you don't do the boat tour.

23. Pumice Point Picnic Area

Stop here for more great views and a picnic lunch.

24. Steel Bay Picnic Area

One last picnic area before you complete your loop.

25. Back at the North Entrance Junction

From here just head back to the northern entrance gate. Hope you enjoyed your trip!