Crater Lake

When I told people I had never been to Crater Lake, I’d often get the answer, “Really?? But you’re from here, right?”  Yes, I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and for 21 years, had never seen Crater Lake.  I decided that I would change that this month, so I got a day off work, booked a hotel, and went to Crater Lake with my family!


Wizard Island is actually another volcano that formed after the eruption of Mt. Mazama, which created Crater Lake.

We entered the park through the North Entrance and then drove the entire Rim Drive.  The entire Rim is only open until late October, so I think we made it just in time.  However, the Lodge closed 6 days ago, so we did just miss that.  Some highlights of the Rim Drive were the Pinnacles, the Rim Village, the Phantom Ship, and the Pumice Castle.


The Phantom Ship is an island that looks just like a ghost ship.

Right now, the Rim Village is the only place to get food at the Lake so it was a little busy.  There were good views and some exhibits about the Lake’s history inside the cafe.  There is also a gift shop and visitors’ center at the park headquarters that plays a 22-minute movie about the park.  The headquarters is also the trailhead for the Lady of the Woods hike, one of the few hikes in the park that allows dogs.


The Pinnacles

One of my favorite stops was the Pinnacles.  They are stalagmite-like rock formations.  Thousands of years ago, lava and debris from a volcano eruption flowed through this area and steam from the bottom of the lava flow escaped up to the top, hardening the rocks that it flowed through.  Over time, the soft rock eroded and left the hardened steam vents, creating the Pinnacles.

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On another note, the Woodsman Country Lodge in Crescent, Oregon is a lovely place to stay.  There aren’t many hotels close to Crater Lake besides the lodge that is in the park and Crescent is only an hour away.  The Woodsman Country Lodge is super cute and woodsy, a great price, clean, dog-friendly and the staff is very nice and helpful.  It is right next to the Mohawk Restaurant, home to great comfort food and an amazing taxidermy collection.

On the drive back to Portland, we stopped at the High Desert Museum in Bend.  I love museums and this one did not disappoint.  Not only are there traditional museum exhibits about Native Americans, pioneers, and nature, there are live animals that represent the wildlife found in the High Desert.  I am often skeptical of zoos and worry about the animals, but all the animals in this museum were rescued and could not survive in the wild due to injuries.  I saw river otters, a bobcat, porcupines, owls, eagles, a tarantula, and a rattlesnake!!  Isn’t it amazing that all these animals live here in Oregon?!

Quick Facts

  • Woodsman Country Lodge in Crescent is a great place to stay, and right next to Mohawk Restaurant.
  • The Rim Drive is an awesome way to see the whole park and has several stops for views along the way.
  • Some must-see stops: The Pinnacles, Phantom Ship, and the Pumice Castle


  • Absolutely beautiful lake and high desert scenery
  • Most viewpoints have information about the science and history of the Lake
  • The Rim Drive is great for people who cannot hike
  • Lots of options for hiking if you do not have dogs


  • Very few hikes allow dogs
  • Few places to stay close to Crater Lake
  • When the Lodge is closed, food is only available at the Rim Village

Trillium Lake

What could be better than floating in bright blue water with an awesome view of Mt.  Hood?  Trillium Lake is one of my favorite places to hang out in Oregon.  I went for the first time last summer with my giant floating donut and a ton of friends.  We staked out a place on the shore to play frisbee and then floated on the lake drinking beer for a couple hours.

Trillium Lake 2017

Floating on a donut ~ summer of 2017

This year I took a more athletic approach and brought my boyfriend and two inflatable kayaks.  Kayaking around the lake was awesome.  I got so many comments on the inflatable kayak.  I have the Intex Challenger which I bought on Amazon for $55, including the kayak, a manual pump, and an oar.  I am not sponsored by Intex, but I have convinced so many people to buy them that I should be!  (Just a tip, if you are going to drink beer in your kayak, do not spill!  My bf and I both spilled beer and thought we cleaned out the kayaks before deflating, but when we used them a month later, we were greeted with the horrible smell of stale beer.)


Upgraded to kayaks ~ summer of 2018

Trillium Lake is great for kayaking because boats with motors are not allowed so you will not be waked.  If I had a stand-up paddle-board I would love to take it here too!  Swimming in the lake is fun too because the water is quite warm.

Trillium Lake

My boyfriend enjoying the view of Mt. Hood

Want to add other adventures to your lake trip?  There is a campground on the lake but it is very popular and fills up fast.  If you want to camp, Salmon River Campground and Still Creek Campground are pretty close.  There is also a very easy hike around Trillium Lake that is only about a mile round trip but has great views of the Mountain and goes over some boardwalks on swampy areas.  Some close-by hikes that I like are Umbrella Falls (see my last post) and Mirror Lake to Tom, Dick, and Harry Mountain.

“Time wasted at the lake is time well spent”

Quick Facts:

  • Need NW Forest Pass or $5 daily fee
  • 7 miles from base of Mt. Hood
  • Mile long hike around lake


  • Beautiful view of Mt. Hood
  • Great for kayaking, rafting, floating, swimming, etc.


  • Gets extremely crowded
  • Limited campsites

The Journey Begins


Thank you for stumbling across my brand spankin’ new blog.  A year ago, I started an Instagram account to keep track of my many hikes in the PNW.  I had so many photos and stories, and keeping them all in my head and iPhoto library was not gonna cut it anymore.  I figured, if I’m going to catalogue my adventures, I might as well share it with the world.  Well it turns out, people like learning about all the fun they can have here in Oregon and Washington.  Instagram captions are pretty small, and I have a lot to say, so here I am world.  Follow me for photos and information about hiking, kayaking, and general exploration (as well as other random thoughts) and please reach out to say hi if you’re so inclined.

Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure ~ Albus Dumbledore


Trillium Lake ~ my favorite place to kayak and eat entire bags of bbq chips on the shore