While taking a road trip down the Oregon Coast, I decided to take what turned out to be a several hour detour to Crater Lake National Park. Although it was well worth the drive, it was somewhat disappointing due to some of the views being hazy because of a forest fire in the area. Unfortunately a lot of the smoke settles within the crater, and obstructs a lot of the best views of Wizard Island. It ended up clearing up a little towards the end of the day, but I would definitely suggest calling ahead to see what the conditions are like before making the haul out there.
The Cleetwood Cove Trail is a must if you want to get down to the water, which you’d be a dumbass if you don’t. Although the trail is only 1 mile, it is a very steep and strenuous switchback. Bring a LOT of water with you… while the trail is has amazing views the entire way down, it is VERY dusty and it isn’t long before your mouth is dried out and tastes like dirt covered butthole. If you end up running out, they do sell water bottles once you reach the bottom. Just to give you an idea of the difficulty of this trail, I witnessed 5 people being carried up on stretchers while on the way down. A couple just twisted an ankle, but the rest simply couldn’t make it back up.
If I didn’t scare you away from this trail already, the payoff is well worth it. The water is a very beautiful deep-blue. I tried to climb out onto a rock and slipped (again… shocking), and nearly sliced the top of my finger off, but instead of being a baby about it (ok, I was a bit of a baby… some would say a lot of a baby… I don’t like cuts, ok?!) I simply walked over to the ranger station and got a Band-Aid and Neosporin like a goddamn macho-man, and I was ok after that (besides a lot more complaining).
Beyond that, I did several other shorter hikes and checked out the lodge (which has amazing food… get the reuben sandwich). I also did the Castle Crest Wildflower trail, which is pretty much a mosquito paradise. The wildflowers were nothing spectacular, and looked like they’d been trampled and shit on by the local bears, so I pretty much ran through the trail as fast as possible while trying not to get bit. If you’d like to press your luck and check it out, I wish you luck. Take a lot of bug spray on this trail.