Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Hiking Garfield Trail, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon (Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip)

Our last and final destination, Crater Lake National Park.

Official Site: https://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm

If you are a resident of the Bay Area, I implore you, I beg you, to make a trip up to see Crater Lake. The Lake is so close to anyone in the Bay Area that you can easily do it all in one day or even a romantic weekend. See the Lake for all its beauty! There's a reason why it's so famous.

The lake was formed roughly 8000 years ago by the volcanic eruption of Mount Manzama. After emptying most of its magma chamber in the eruption, the chamber subsequently collapsed under its own weight and formed a caldera. In time, steam and rain from the caldera and area formed what is now known as Crater Lake. Now, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, tenth in maximum depth in the world, and third for average depth.

One thing that immediately pops out to you when you look at the lake is its vibrant blue color. It's almost as if someone turned the saturation on high for this part of the world and forgot to turn it off.

The Lake's unique blue color owes its appearance to how isolated it is from contaminants. There are no rivers running into the lake nor external factors like towns pouring things into the lake. The water almost completely originates from rain and snow. Such that, the lake typically scores highly on a Secchi disk test, which measures water opacity.

But what is there to do around the Lake?

You have a few options.

You can stay there at a lodge right on the edge of the lake. You can camp outside or inside the park. You can hike many of the trails that take you to a peak.

Many things!

Trail Description

Length:  3 miles round trip
Trailhead Elevation:  -- ft.
End Elevation: ~ 8060 ft.
Elevation Gain: 1067 ft.
Difficulty Assessment: Moderate
Trail Type: Out and Back

The Hike

For us, we decided to hike Garfield Peak Trail. It's the shortest trail next to the parking lot which also makes it one of the busiest. 3.3 miles up the mountain and medium incline, the hike is a bit of a workout. But the views are abundant and prime for lunch or snack breaks.

See: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/oregon/garfield-peak-trail

Once you reach the top, appreciate just how beautiful the formation is. After all, how often do you see a lake of this natural color?

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