crater lake ski & snowshoe

Mar 10, 2021 | Cross Country Skiing, Oregon, Snowshoe

Land acknowledgement:

Ancestral land of the Molala and Klamath, and now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde

At a Glance

Crater Lake National Park offers a variety of winter sport adventures from the southern entrance and the Rim Village. The 33 mile loop around the lake is considered one of the great ski routes in the US, though skiers and snowshoers should be aware that several avalanche hazards exist on this route. This is the backcountry, and you need to be prepared to navigate and handle emergencies on your own. Know your limits. Shorter trips to Discovery Point and Sun Notch make for good day trips.

Adventure options

Mellow: Snowshoe or ski out to Sun Notch for views of the Phantom Ship.

Balanced: Complete the circumnavigation on skis or snowshoes over three to five days.

Epic: Circumnavigate the lake on skis or snowshoes in one long day. While the FKT on skis is just under 7 hours, it was accomplished with a snowmobile laying down the tracks in advance. Expect to spend 12+ hours at least on the mountain, and be prepared to spend the night in the backcountry as many unforseen complications can happen.

Need to Know

Parking pass required: National Park entrance pass required to enter; sno-park pass for skiing in adjacent national forests.

Overnight camping permit required: Yes. Free permit must be obtained in person from the ranger station between 8 am and 4 pm. (During Covid, permits are self issued and are available 24 hours a day.)

Day permits: None.

Water: Water is limited to what you can melt from snow in the winter. Carry water accordingly.

Nearest Campgrounds: Closed in winter.

Adventure Overview

Please: Always remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles when recreating on public land. Our actions not only impact the land; they influence others to better care for these lands when we lead by example. Please see additional route cautions at the bottom of this page.

Terms of Use: As with each adventure guide published on, should you choose to use this route, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check current local weather, conditions, and land/road closures. While using, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, carry proper safety and navigational equipment, and of course, follow the #leavenotrace guidelines. The information found herein is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed., its partners, associates, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individual users hiking or following this route.

About The Author

About The Author

Teri Smith is starting her third act as a photographer, writer and adventure seeker in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more here.