Cleetwood Cove Trail Opening at Crater Lake – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The National Park Service has given the interim green light for a major rehabilitation of the Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only trail that accesses the lake, as well as improvements to the boat dock area at Crater Lake. [Mail Tribune/file photo]

Boats float on Crater Lake at the dock accessible via the Cleetwood Cove Trail. AP PHOTO.

The steep path is the only one that leads to the water

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK – The Cleetwood Cove Trail, which offers the only access to Crater Lake, opened on Friday, just in time for the July 4th weekend

The most popular and heavily trafficked trail in Crater Lake State Park, the Steep Trail starts from the Cleetwood Cove parking lot along Rim Drive and descends 700 feet over 1.1 miles.

Due to its slope and elevation – nearly 7,000 feet above sea level – some hikers may be exhausted or have other issues, especially returning from the lake to the Rim Drive parking lot. The trail is warm and only partially shaded, so people are advised to bring and drink plenty of water, along with energizing snacks, sun protection, and sturdy footwear.

There are no restrooms on the trail or by the lake. Restrooms are located in the trailhead parking lot.

Ranger-guided concession lake boat trips, which typically run from the docks at the end of the trail, are not offered this summer.

To protect the internationally known clarity of Crater Lake and reduce the possibility of introducing invasive species, only basic swimsuits and clothing may be worn in the water. All other items, including personal life jackets, snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, kayaks, and paddleboards are prohibited.

For more information on the Cleetwood Cove Trail, visit

Visitors are reminded that long queues are possible at the North and South Entrance Stations (Annie Creek). To avoid queues, which can often require a wait of an hour or more to enter the park, visitors are advised to arrive early, before 9 a.m.

Parking is limited at Rim Village, where guest services include the Crater Lake Lodge, which is open only to registered guests, the Rim Village Gift Shop Cafeteria, and the Crater Lake Natural History Association sales office.

Contact freelance writer Lee Juillerat at [email protected] or 541-880-4139.

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