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Monday, June 19, 2023

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Cross-Country Road Trip Stop 12

Read this post for things to do in and around Crater Lake National Park in Oregon before your visit.

If you are traveling with your RV, take a look at our list of 10 Items You Should Have On Your RV Camping List before you hit the road.

2022 Cross Country Road Trip Stop 11 &12

It was too far for us to travel to Crater Lake National Park from Spokane, WA in one day so we parked the RV and made a hotel stop in The Dalles, OR. Cousins Country Inn was the perfect place to spend the night. This hotel would also be perfect if you needed to spend a couple of nights here. Our room had a sink with counter space, a Keurig coffeemaker, microwave and small refrigerator. And if you need to do laundry, like we did, the small laundry room is a plus.

We were very happy with the fact that they also ran a restaurant, Cousin's Restaurant, on the property. The menu was filled with comfort food. We had the pot roast, chicken pot pie and chicken fried steak. Everyone enjoyed their meal and the atmosphere was also very comforting. If all that wasn't enough, they had coffee and homemade cookies in the lobby. We made sure to stop by the lobby a couple of times during our stay.We would definitely stop here again if we ever pass by this way again.

The next day, we were on the road again. The journey sometimes is a big part of the fun of the road trip. We can say this for sure of our ride to Crater Lake. For one thing, we had a great view of Mt. Ranier for a long part of the trip. It seemed to be following us which was a really fun thought.

After driving for hours without seeing much of anything, suddenly we see a small town in the middle of nowhere. We wondered if they had everything they needed in this small town or did they have to travel for miles and miles to get to school, church or the grocery store?

Hmm...where is this truck bringing all that junk? Wait, are those carousel horses?

The first thing we always need to do when we reach our destination is stop at Walmart. You can see by this picture why the guys never mind this shopping stop. Stopping to shop for souvenirs gets us a completely different reaction.

We were going to be passing by Crater Lake NP on our way to the campground so we decided to stop in before checking into our campsite. We were blown away with our first sight of Crater Lake. We had never seen water as blue as this lake.

If we can, we like to pick up hiking information ahead of time so that we are ready to hit the trails before we get to the park. We found all the information we needed in the Rim Village Visitor Center. Behind the visitor center was Sinnott Overlook. The view of Crater Lake from the overlook was breathtaking.

The geology exhibits and the relief model were interesting and we learned a lot about the lake.

After our short visit to the park, it was time to check into Joseph H. Stewart State Recreation Area Campground to set up, get a campfire going and...

relax with some Pub Beer and wine!

The following morning, after a quick breakfast, we headed to Crater Lake National Park.

Rim Drive encircles the lake. We could get to all of the hikes we had planned for the day from this road. The first one we came to, Watchman Peak, was the one we were most excited for and the most strenuous so it worked out that it was the first one we came to.

The trail was rated moderate probably because the 420 feet elevation gain made the trail pretty steep. We thought we turned the final corner and reached our destination only to find this narrow staircase to climb.

The first thing I wanted to do after climbing all those stairs was to find somewhere to sit and catch my breath. I found a great shady spot to sit for a couple of minutes.

The views from Fire Watch Tower at the top of the trail were spectacular and well worth the effort to get here.

We had a great view of Wizard Island, a cinder cone that erupted out of Crater Lake about 7,300 years ago.

The next trail on our list was the Plaikni Falls Trail. 

Anytime we have a chance to see falls we will take the hike if it's not rated above moderate. This was an easy trail.

Well, until we wanted to get closer to the falls and then climbing on the rocks got a little tricky.

But we got close enough to feel the water and it was cold and refreshing.

We stopped at several scenic pullouts along Rim Drive and enjoyed the view of the lake from all different angles. We also saw some other interesting sights like these flowers or weeds. We weren't sure what they were but they were something we never saw before.

Then we took a 6 mile detour off Rim Drive to Pinnacles Overlook to see the 100 foot spires that were created by the gases that rose through the ashes of the volcanic eruption that formed Crater Lake.

It was worth going out of the way to see.

The last trail we had planned for the day was Castle Crest.

We came a little late in the season and didn't see the full beauty of the trail but it was still a beautiful trail.

We were the only ones on the trail so we just took our time and enjoyed the easy hike. It was a nice way to end our day at Crater Lake National Park.

Good To Know: Even though this hike is labeled easy, take your hiking sticks. They'll help you navigate over a few slippery rocks.

Our plan for our last day in this area was to spend it at the campground's beach. When we heard there was a beach here we pictured sand and shells.

We didn't expect dirt and rocks. We sat here for a bit because there was a nice view and it was very peaceful but we didn't stay very long. We were anxious to leave the beach and head to our next planned activity, to find the nearest town and internet service. Medford was 35 miles away and had plenty of fast food places. We stayed at Carl Jr's for more than an hour slowly sipping our shakes while we caught up on reading emails and messages.

The following day it was time to leave Oregon and head to California. And even though I had asked my kids not to plan anything exciting because we would not be around the entire months of August and September and part of October (2022) my younger son and DIL decided they would have a baby during that time! We got the news, while we were traveling to our next destination and on my mom's birthday, August 27, that Cami was born, a couple of weeks before his due date. Me and Sandie were so excited about him being born on our mom's birthday and we are sure that she made it happen!

Introducing Cameron Michael! (Our 4th grand baby!)


Read about our Stop 10, Spokane, WA.


This post was featured:


Have you been to Crater Lake National Park? What was your favorite trail? Let us know in comments!


  1. How stunning is Crater Lake? Gosh, breathtaking from all angles! It really looks like such a great vacation and how lovely that Cami was born on your mum's birthday! :) A very joyous occasion! Sim x Hopping over from GrammysGrid ULP

    1. It really was gorgeous! Thank you for stopping by to go on a virtual tour!

  2. Congratulations; he's adorable!! Crater lake is just stunning and those hikes look like so much fun.

    1. Thank you and yes, all the hikes were really fun and we liked that they were all so different from each other.

  3. Congratulations! He sure is a cutie, what a wonderful surprise to be born on your mother's bday too. You have so many beautiful photos of your travels, I enjoy traveling along with you chairside. I will be sharing your story tomorrow on Whimsy Home Wednesday, thank you for sharing your travels with us! I enjoy reading about them and seeing all of your photos!

    1. Thank you so much for the feature! It is always our hope that readers will enjoy taking a virtual trip with us so it made us so happy to hear that you did!

  4. I've visited Crater Lake twice, first time the weather was very similar to yours, hot and even some snow on the ground. The next visit, visibility was poor, it rained heavily and was so windy you could hardly stand up. Thanks for linking with #pocolo

    1. That wind sounds crazy! Thanks for hosting your nice party!

  5. Crater Lake is really beautiful! Thanks for taking me along!

  6. Congrats on the new grand baby!!
    Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us...Gorgeous scenery and pictures!!
    Thanks too for taking the time to stop by and leave such a sweet comment!

    1. Thank you! Cami is the cutest!! Thanks for stopping by!