Oregon Hiking, Nature April 20, 2022
Take A Hike To An Oregon Overlook That’s Like A Medieval Castle
There are plenty of scenic overlooks in Oregon, but one that’s like a real-life castle? That’s a little harder to come by. But that’s precisely what you’ll find when you discover the Pumice Castle in Crater Lake National Park. While Crater Lake is best-known for its cerulean blue waters, the Pumice Castle stands out as one of the most colorful features of the park. Unmarked and often missed, the Pumice Castle is one Oregon landmark that’s worth seeking out.
Crater Lake is a breathtaking natural wonder, with its cobalt waters immensely deep and beautifully blue. The lake’s history is as deep as its waters, too, tracing back over 7,700 years to when a powerful eruption collapsed an ancient volcano, forming what we know as of today as Crater Lake.
There are a myriad of ways to experience this world wonder. The
stargazing here is phenomenal, as is the camping. There are boat tours available to those wishing for a guided, immersive experience. These excursions get up-close to some of the lake's most captivating features, such as Wizard Island and the Phantom Ship.
Adventure-seekers can also opt to embark on one of the national park's numerous hikes, including the acclaimed Discovery Point Trail; or, for a more relaxed experience, stay in the car and cruise along Rim Drive.
Rim Drive is a 33-mile route that circles the lake, which also happens to be the highest paved road in Oregon. The full loop is usually open from June through October, and features 30 scenic pullouts.
And this fascinating structure is one of the marvelous places you'll discover when you stop along Rim Drive. Known as the Pumice Castle, this bold orange outcrop stands out against the steely grays and cerulean blues of Crater Lake.
The overlook to this vista is located 1.1 miles west of Cloudcap Overlook and 2.4 miles east of Phantom Ship Overlook. There's a turnoff on East Rim Drive that leads to the perfect vantage point to admire this unique formation.
Please note: there are no actual trails to the Pumice Castle; the only viewpoint is from this designated overlook.
This formation is literally shaped like the battlements of a castle, hence its name. It formed tens of thousands of years ago when pumice and other rocks and lavas welded together at high temperatures. These molten deposits were then buried and compacted by the Redcloud Cliff flow, and later exposed when Mount Mazama collapsed.
A hardened base of andesite lava has essentially frozen the Pumice Castle in time, allowing it to remain intact even as the elements eroded the softer materials surrounding it. It looks almost like a wax candle, with its frozen, dripping "spires" of orange. The result? An incredibly intriguing structure that's a must-visit when you're exploring this beautiful national park in Oregon!
Here in Oregon, we're all for getting out and having an adventure. So the next time you're at Crater Lake, pull off and head to this hidden overlook, and allow your imagination to run wild with castle fantasies and tales.
Have you visited the Pumice Castle Overlook in Oregon before? Did you know about this hidden gem in Crater Lake? What a cool spot to discover!
Address: Pumice Castle, Oregon 97604, USA