Crater Lake National Park, Part 2

After spending the morning driving the Rim Drive around Crater Lake and seeing the lake from all its glorious angles (see previous post), we had time to explore some non lake areas of the park. Crater Lake only makes up 10% of the park, so there is much to be explored besides the lake. We were able to fit in a couple of short hikes (think waterfalls and wildflowers!) before checking into the Mazama cabins.

Plaikni Falls Trail (Pinnacles Road)
This short easy 2 mile (round trip) hike took us to a beautiful waterfall, complete with wildflowers, butterflies and lush greenery. Although the weather was quite warm when we started the hike, the trail through the forest was nicely shaded and the hike turned out to be very pleasant. This trail is for everyone, I saw people of all ages and abilities, even families with strollers on this trail (it’s labeled as wheelchair accessible). The waterfall area at the end provides a nice shaded spot to rest and marvel at the scenery. This trail is very popular, but didn’t feel crowded. Maybe it felt a bit crowded at the waterfall, but people kept coming and going, so there were ebbs and flows of people.

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Beginning of Plaikni Falls Trail
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The trail winds its way through a fir and hemlock forest with high cliffs providing a beautiful backdrop for the hike
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The hike was nicely shaded with some gradual uphill walking at the end
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Plaikni Falls
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Butterflies/moths flew by creating pops of color
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Crystal clear water flowed downhill through rocks and wildflowers
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Many of these butterflies (moths?) stopped along the trail near the waterfall
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Plaikni Falls up close and personal

Castle Crest Wildflower Trail
This trail is a very short and very pretty 0.5 mile loop that passes through a creek, wildflower meadow, and forest. Since this area is described as a wet meadow with plenty of water everywhere, there is plenty of lush vegetation … as well as PLENTY of mosquitos. So be prepared (unlike us), cover up and put your mosquito repellent on.

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Lewis Monkeyflower
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Native flagstones on the wettest spots

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After we counted our mosquito bites checked in to the Mazama cabins, we made our way to Annie Creek Falls Picnic area to have dinner.

Annie Creek Falls Picnic area
We found this “picnic area” about five miles south of Mazama Village. Maybe more picnic tables were hidden throughout the trees, but we only found two tables for this entire picnic area. Annie Creek Falls can be seen down a gorge (south side), but it’s far away and hard to see. Looking down the gorge is pretty, but on this particular day the smoke was thick and ominous.

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Smoky skies
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Getting dinner prepped
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Looking down at Annie Creek Falls through the smoke filled canyon
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Annie Creek Falls seen between the trees

Pinnacles Overlook
This overlook is easily accessed from a pullout just a bit south of the entrance (south).

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Interesting formations!

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That night we stayed at the Mazama cabins and although it was nice to take a shower, I would have preferred to stay in our campervan. I think it was the general cleanliness of the room that didn’t sit well with me. The sheets and towels were clean enough, but the walls and windows could have benefitted from a wipe down. So, I don’t know if I could quite recommend staying at the cabins.

The following morning we headed to Lava Beds National Park …what…a…place! I can’t wait to post about it next!

If you’re interested, check out another post about our Crater Lake visit (Crater Lake National Park).

More posts:
Lava Beds National Monument
More Lava beds National Monument Caves

12 replies to “Crater Lake National Park, Part 2

  1. Absolutely gorgeous! You managed to capture these beautiful butterflies with you camera, that is a feature I’ve never been able to do! It looks like you’re having a wonderful summer. Did you go to Lassen Volcanic National Park? Or did the fires, and bad air quality make you change your plans? You were planning on going there mid July, if I remember right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much! We did end up going to Lassen, visiting Lava Beds on the way. After reading your great posts I really wanted to visit Castle Crags and do some hiking in the area, but the heat and smoke prevented us. For sure, next time. Have a great day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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