Crater Lake: overwhelmingly yet sublimely beautiful. Moody. At times brilliantly blue, ominously somber; at other times buried in a mass of brooding clouds. The lake is magical, enchanting - a remnant of fiery times, a reflector of its adjacent forested slopes, a product of Nature's grand design.
Few places on earth command overwhelming awe from observers, but Crater Lake, in south central Oregon, certainly does. Even in a region of volcanic wonders, Crater Lake can only be described in superlatives. Stories of the deep blue lake can never prepare visitors for their first breathtaking look from the brink of this 6 mile wide caldera which was created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. Even seasoned travelers gasp at the twenty-mile circle of cliffs, tinted in subtle shades and fringed with hemlock, fir, and pine: all this in a lake of indescribable blue.
Today, the nation's fifth oldest national park serves to stand as a memorial to time. In 1902, Congress decided that Crater Lake and its surrounding 180,000 acres were to be 'dedicated and set apart forever as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States.' The passing of this legislative act had been a 17 year effort, championed by Crater Lake's primary promoter, William G. Steel. The act (16 USC 121) also required that measures be taken for the 'preservation of the natural objects....the protection of the timber....the preservation of all kinds of game and fish,' and as well as for use by 'scientists, excursionists, and pleasure seekers.'
NPS National Parks Service