The Epic Lake Boat Tour That Belongs On Every Oregonian’s Bucket List
Crater Lake is Oregon’s most spectacular lake, and arguably the most beautiful on the planet. With a depth of 1,949 feet, this caldera lake has awed and delighted every visitor who’s laid eyes on it. Did you know that the National Park Service offers a boat cruise that takes you right out on the lake? No other boats are allowed here, so this is the very best way to get up close and personal with one of Oregon’s true natural gems.
Crater Lake is a caldera lake that was formed more than 7,000 years ago when a volcano eruption caused the collapse of Mount Mazama.
Its clear waters have a deep, azure-blue color because they're so pure.
Due to its unique location, there are no tributaries that drain into the lake, so every drop of water you see comes from rain and snow! With 4.6 trillion gallons of water, there's plenty of surface area to absorb all the other colors that the human eye can see, allowing you to see only vibrant blue hues of the spectrum.
To keep this lake pure and its surroundings quiet and peaceful, no boats are allowed on Crater Lake, with one exception.
The National Park Service offers boat tours from mid-June to mid-September, and this is an excellent opportunity to see the lake as you've never viewed it before.
Before you start your boat tour, you'll need to hike down to the boat dock.
The hike is 1.1 miles long and fairly steep, so make sure you're up for the task, but the views as you descend are absolutely gorgeous.
Six Standard Lake Cruises depart from the dock every day.
The first tour starts at 9:30 a.m. and the last tour leaves the dock at 3:45 p.m. The two-hour ride will show you features of the lake with unique views you can only get from the water.
You'll travel past the stunning lava cliffs of Grotto Cove, where you'll get a close-up look at how the Mount Mazama volcano's collapse created this lake.
The walls of lava and rock surrounding the lake are almost as alluring as the lake itself.
You'll pass by Pumice Castle, a volcanic formation that stands out from the rest of the surroundings.
The castle is made up of several stratified layers of pumice and obsidian. Some of the layers are softer than others, which allowed erosion to carve out this charming, unique formation.
You can see how this little island named "Phantom Ship" got its name.
With a little imagination, it looks like something right out a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
You'll also get an up-close look at the Old Man of the Lake, a 30-foot hemlock stump that has been floating in Crater Lake for more than one hundred years.
Can you see his face?
The Wizard Island Tour drops you off at this gorgeous island for a half-day of hiking and swimming.
You'll have three hours to explore the island, then you'll enjoy a 75-minute-long tour back to the dock. These tours depart twice per day, at 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Take a hike to explore the island and enjoy some unique views of the lake...
...and jump in, if you dare! The surface water is a bracing 60 degrees on a hot day.
When you take your boat tour, you'll be one of the lucky few to be exploring the lake's surface. Tours book up fast, so reserve your seat today.
Tickets for the Standard Lake Cruise cost $42 for adults and $28 for children ages 3-12. The Half-Day Wizard Island Tour tickets cost $57 for adults and $36 for children ages 3-12.
For more information about the Volcano Boat Cruises, visit the
Crater Lake National Park Lodges website. Make advanced reservations for a tour by clicking here.
Have you ever taken the Volcano Boat Cruise? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below. If you snapped a few photos on your journey, be sure to share them on our
Oregon Nature Lovers Facebook group for a chance to see your photos featured!
Oregon is chock-full of natural wonders! Check out
these coastal dune lakes.
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