• Activities:

    Photography, Hiking, Fitness

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • RT Distance:

    3.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1010 Feet

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby

This hike should take 1-3 hours and leads to panoramic views of Crater Lake with surrounding peaks in the backdrop. It's a challenging but rewarding half day hike with wildflowers and sights that only get better as you climb.

Crater Lake is one of the most visited natural wonders in the U.S. Anyone who has gone will tell you, it strikes a magic chord. Where there was once the volcanic Mount Mazama, now sits the deepest lake in the States. It's brilliant blue color and incredible depth of clarity leaves visitors from all over the world in a state of awe.

The Garfield Peak Trail leads to the 2nd highest peak in the park and is one of the best hikes for those looking to breathe in all its expansive wonder. A great half day venture, this trail is 3.5 miles roundtrip and takes 1-3 hours. It's not a long hike, though the constant climb can leave you winded. Luckily, any spot you choose to rest will yield an incredible view. If you are looking to pack a lot in one day, this is a great hike to pair with Cleetwood Cove Trail (the only path that leads to the basin).

Catch the trailhead behind the Crater Lake Lodge in the Rim Village. If you are facing the lake with your back to the lodge, the trail begins a 5-minute walk down the sidewalk on your right. The trail follows the perimeter of the lake with switchbacks that take you past distant peaks and through all sorts of foliage. This path is well-marked and frequently trafficked. Be sure to explore the summit - there are some great cliff edges to hang your feet off of and feel entirely small.

Note: There is a National Park Entrance Fee: Car $15 (7 day pass); Motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians - $10.00 per person (7 day pass). If you plan on visiting multiple National Parks in a year, consider purchasing the National Park and Federal Recreation Land Pass for $80. Here's the link for more details.

PARK your car in the lot of the Crater Lake Lodge. There are bathrooms inside for use before hitting the trail.

Pack List

  • Water (2 liters)
  • A summit snack (because everything tastes better from the top)
  • A journal and pen
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen & sunglasses (there is not a lot of shade on the trail)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Overall rating: 

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Regardless of how long you are in Crater Lake NP (even just for a couple hours) this hike is a must do. I stopped there just to hike it while I was driving through to Bend from California. It is a fairly short but semi steep hike, my buddy and I were able to make the top in about 30 minutes, and has some of the most spectacular views in all of Oregon (there are a lot in that state). Bring a camera, some water and a snack because once you’re at the top you may stay there for awhile.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Gaby Colletta

My motto: Life is a series of adventures.

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