CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK WITH KIDS
Everything you need to do when visiting Crater Lake National Park with kids.
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK is (just one of the reasons) why Southern Oregon is such a gem. We have the most beautiful National Park in the PNW – and only about an hour and a half drive from Medford!
We marked a giant check off our summer bucketlist! Jumping into the deepest lake in the United States… and not only did I do it, but Violet (6) jumped too!
The trek down to the water starts from Cleetwood Cove. It is on the complete opposite end of the lake from the lodge and visitors center. We took the East Rim towards Cleetwood Cove (because the West Rim had construction). Along the East Rim, you will see Vidae Falls right from the road, and the lookout for The Phantom Ship. Cleetwood Cove is a roundtrip 2.2 mile hike down to the water, and you can swim, fish (without a license), and take boat tours from the cove.
Just a note – scuba gear, snorkeling, and wet suits are NOT allowed in the lake!
The hardest part is flinging yourself off the rock and into the water. We jumped mid summer – and the water wasn’t THAT bad. cold… but definitely not as cold as we thought it would be :) I ended up jumping 3 times!
Here is the most amazing 6yr old jumping into Crater Lake. Have you ever met anyone more brave?! She had hardly any hesitation, and jumped right to me in the water. She is AWESOME.
this will be a new summer tradition! kick off the summer with a jump into Crater Lake! Next year we would love to do a boat ride to wizard Island. Kids have to be at least 3 years old for the tour, so next year we can all go on together.
and then the ascent back to the car. Brutal. We spent close to 2-3 hours just at Cleetwood Cove (hiking with kids is no joke ;)) So plan for plenty of time. But, if we were able to do it with a 2,4,& 6 year old… then it is definitely doable with kids!
THINGS TO DO AT CRATER LAKE WITH KIDS:
- Take the trolley around the Rim of Crater Lake – 2 hour drive with a minimum of 5 stops (who can drive your own car, but isn’t a trolley way more fun?!)
- Go fishing! NO fishing license is required within park boundaries
- JUMP into the deepest lake in the country at Cleetwood Cove
- Take a boat shuttle to Wizard Island or a boat tour on Crater Lake – children must be at least 3 years old
- WINTER – join the FREE ranger guided snowshoe walk – children must be at least 8 years old
- SUMMER – Junior Ranger Activities for children ages 6-12 – meet at the Rim Village Visitor Center – stop by and ask for a Junior Ranger Book to earn their badge or how to earn patches
we would have loved to have been able to spend more time driving around Crater Lake and seeing more of the sights, but we headed home for the night. Locals – If you are up for a spontaneous overnighter at Crater Lake, be sure to stop in at the Lodge! We almost stayed the night the weekend before for around $150 with a lake view room right at the Lodge due to cancellations. Crater Lake had been barely visible the weekend before from wildfire smoke, and we happened to get pretty lucky the day we jumped in. But the smoke was rolling back in over the lake.
On our way up towards Crater Lake, we stopped at a Mill Creek Falls to stretch our legs and see some beautiful places!
Here is a little flashback from our very first visit to Crater Lake EXACTLY 3 years previously! We had just barely moved to Southern Oregon, and took a day trip to see the lake. We immediately fell in love with this area. Praying that the fires will cease soon!
PIN FOR LATER!