Crater Lake is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. A beautiful description of Crater Lake National Park and its story was written in 1910. It’s such a wonderful description that it is included here.
” Mount Mazama, on the summit of the Cascade Mountains, in whose ancient volcanic crater Crater Lake rests, and the surrounding territory of scenic grandeur, have been made a National Park by an Act of Congress. This new playground of Uncle Sam’s, with its 249 square miles of area, of mountain peaks, lofty crags, deep canyons, beds of lava, plateaus of grassy fields, deep forests of hemlock and pine, and a thousand rippling streams, bids fair to become as famous and as popular as Yellowstone or Yosemite. It is yearly visited by tourists from all parts of the world.
During the glacial period Crater Lake did not exist. What is now the magestic sheet of water was once filled with a towering peak, the greatest peak of all the mountain range. This old volcano regularly erupted its fire, lave and ashes upon the surrounding territory. On the fatal day, described by Indian legends as the day on which the “Bridge of the Gods” fell in, the old hollow mountain, with a thundering roar and a crash that shook the world and upturned half a continent, exploded and dropped within itself. It was one of the greatest tragedies earth has known. With its completion old Mazama, the ancient volcano, no longer looked down upon the surrounding peaks of the Cascades. Nothing remains but the base, which forms the rim of Crater Lake. How this was half filled with water and remains so year after year, century after century, with no apparent outlet, is a mystery beyond man’s solution.
Crater Lake is oval in shape, six miles long and four miles wide. The twenty-two miles of shoreline are shear precipices towering from 1,000 to 2,000 feet above the surface of the water. These surrounding precipices, though only ragged portions of the old -time base
are mountains in themselves, some of them having elevations of over 9,000 feet above the sea. At only one point can the water be reached. This is at Eagle Rock, where the wagon road leads up to the brink of the rim, whence a winding trail has been cut down to the lake’s edge. The lake surface is 6,239 feet above sea level, and the water has a depth of 2,000 feet.
The water of the lake is cold and pure and sweet. The entire park is one great solitude, reigned over by the wild things of the mountain. Standing anywhere on the cauldron’s rim and gazing down on the deep blue surface, or looking out across the miles and miles of mountains, one sees no life save that of the wild, and hears no sound save the dashing of the waves against the rocks or the whispers of the wind through the hemlocks.
Two and one-half miles from Eagle Rock, though it seems but a stone’s throw to one who stands and looks across, is cone-shaped Wizard Island, which rises to a height of 845 feet above the water. In the top of Wizard Island is a deep depression, or smaller crater, filled with snow, but which was, no doubt, the last smoking chimney of the great volcano.
Not far from the shore is a craggy little islet known as the Phantom Ship. Its rugged hull, with rocks towering like the masts of a ship, suggest the name, and, phantom-like, disappears when viewed from changing positions and lights from the shore.
Medford is the gateway to Crater Lake National Park, and it is from hear that tourists and campers prepare from the journey on the interesting trip. The road follows Rogue River through a land of scenic grandeur. The river is a wild torrent at every point, with cascades and waterfalls. Mills Falls, Red Blanket Falls and the natural bridge are passed on route, and the way leads also through the center of the Cascades or upper Rogue Forest reserve, the greatest forest of sugar pine in the world, and which is itself a national park and is under the guarding hand of Uncle Sam’s vigilant rangers during the summer months. The distance from Medford to the lake is eighty-five miles, and as ideal camping places with splendid hunting grounds are everywhere, the journey is one of extreme pleasure and delight.”