Crater Lake National Park – Garfield Peak Trail

Crater Lake National Park

Hike the Garfield Peak Trail in Crater Lake National Park to get a birds eye view of the stunningly clear blue waters of Crater Lake below.  The unique lake filled with snow melt and rainwater sits in the large caldera which formed after Mount Mazama blew its top nearly eight thousand years ago.  Mind blown!

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  4.2 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead(s):  Rim Village Parking Area
Elevation Gain:  1,070’
Trail Type:  Out and Back
Dogs:  Not Allowed on Dirt Trail
Difficulty:  Easy to Moderate
Permit Required?  Yes – National Park Entry Fee $35
Considerations:  Snow on Trail into July; Sheer Cliff Edges
Season:  Year Round


Hike the Crater Lake National Park Garfield Peak Trail for a birds eye view of the clear blue waters of Crater Lake below.


This unique lake sits in the ancient caldera which formed after Mount Mazama blew its top nearly eight thousand years ago.  Comprised entirely of snow melt and rainwater, its waters are clean and clear.  A completely unique treasure, Crater Lake National Park is best understood by making a short stop at the Sinnott Memorial Overlook between the Rim Visitor Center and the Crater Lake Lodge.  Not only does the overlook provide excellent information about the park’s geology, it also provides stunning views of the lake and Wizard Island.

While there is plenty of parking available at the Rim Village Visitor Center, we recommend arriving early as it may fill quickly, especially if you are visiting on a weekend.

Rim Village Visitor Center to the Crater Lake Lodge

The Garfield Peak Trail is accessed from the Rim Village Visitor Center.  Simply follow the paved trail which runs between the Visitor Center and the Crater Lake Lodge.  Although not technically part of the Garfield Peak Trail, taking this route leads directly to the Garfield Peak Trail.  It also provides fabulous views and photo opportunities of the lake.  Selfie time!  Because we had never before seen a sight like this we lingered quite awhile to enjoy this stretch.  The large, remarkable deep blue waters of the caldera are mesmerizing.

The Garfield Peak Trail

The trail starts at the far end of the Crater Lake Lodge.  Easy to follow, the trail offers a mostly exposed, moderately strenuous hike up to the peak.  There is not much vegetation.  As such, there are varying views of nearby as well as distant mountain peaks on the way up.  From the peak, however, the views are 360 degrees of wow!  On a clear day hikers can see mountain peaks in both Oregon and California.  On a clear day you can see California’s Mount Shasta!  Even with these amazing views, the true star of the show remains the lake.

The dazzling, deep blue color of the water is simply astounding.  Nowhere else have we witnessed anything like it.  From the vantage point of Garfield Peak the famous Phantom Ship is also now clearly visible.  This rock feature is not viewable from either the Sinnott Memorial Overlook or the Crater Lake Lodge.  It is truly a treat to view this feature, and observe the lake in its entirety, from Garfield Peak.

The end of the trail is a nice rocky expanse.  There is plenty of room to hang out, so we took a long break up here to take it all in before heading back down the rocky trail.

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information

© 2019 Grey Otter Outventures, Inc.

Garfield Peak Trail Slideshow

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Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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