The Road to Crater Lake National Park – Oregon 9-13-17
After leaving the Great State of Washington we continued on our way south through Oregon. At this point in the trip we had to decide whether we wanted to stay west along to coast or make our way inland. Originally the plan was to stay inland and stop in the Columbia River Gorge and Crater Lake National Park but the extensive forest fires that have been going on this season were making things difficult. Unfortunately only days before we left for our trip a very large fire had broken out in the Columbia River Gorge and ash was falling as far west as Portland so we decided this wasn’t going to be a good time to visit. However, despite that we decided to still give driving down to crater lake inland a try and figured we would see what we saw, smoke or no smoke. Along the road we made a few stops along the way at places that just seemed interesting or scenic.
Our first stop along the way on the Willamette Highway (Hwy 58) was at the Dexter Reservoir. There was a small parking lot we were able to pull into and take a few pictures.
There was also an old covered bridge which served as a small museum for the area and history of the bridge. However, being from the northeast (the land of covered bridges) we didnt spend too much time here and instead got back in the car and continued down the highway into the Willamette National Forest.
The next major land mark we hit along the way was the stunning views of Diamond Peak (8,743′) from basically anywhere in the area. I found the view pretty inspiring and if I ever found the time I would love to come back and climb this dramatic peak!
After passing that first overlook we reached Odell Lake, which is a large and beautiful lake within the Willamette National Forest.
Along the highway was a small cutout/parking area which had a nice overlook of the lake and Diamond Peak. In addition to a path leading down to the water front.
We walked down to the edge of the water to take in the views and were greeted by a swarm of butterflies which was pretty awesome. I can’t say I have ever experienced that before but unfortunately I didn’t get any good pictures of them all. It was like the kind of thing you see in a movie. The water was also ice cold to the touch and it was honestly pretty inviting. In retrospect it might of been nice to take a quick swim but we were still committed to getting to Crater Lake National Park as early as possible. After this pit stop the rest of the drive was fairly uneventful until we started getting closer to the park. In this area everything was masked in a cloud of smoke and it was like driving through a massive camp fire. Honestly, having never driven through these kind of conditions it was a little unsettling but no one else seemed to be very concerned so we just took it in stride. The fire was physically pretty far away so we figured we would be OK and we also saw the firefighter camps in the area near the park which was also reassuring. Having been a volunteer firefighter for a number of years, I have nothing but respect for the incredibly demanding job these wild land fire fighters do.