hike: Crater Lake – Garfield Peak
One of the Crater Lake National Park’s highest points, Garfield Peak offers outstanding panoramic views of Crater Lake, the Klamath Basin, and the Cascades.
This hike description is an excerpt from my “I Heart Oregon’s Seven Wonders” guide book.
Distance: 3.4 miles (roundtrip)
Elevation gain: 1,010 ft.
Hike type: out and back
Located directly east of Crater Lake Lodge along the caldera rim, Garfield Peak towers above Rim Village. Named in honor of James R. Garfield, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior, during his visit to the park in 1907. Usually covered in snow from October to July, check with the park’s ranger station for current conditions. As with other trails at Crater Lake National Park, dogs are not allowed on this trail.
To reach the trailhead, follow the paved path past the lodge.
The rocky trail climbs along the side of Garfield Peak, with hemlocks and Shasta red fir trees along the lower portions of the trail.
Along the way up, openings in the trees provide views of the Klamath Basin to the south. Pikas (small mammals with rounded ears that are related to rabbits) and yellow-bellied marmots live in the rocky slopes along the trail.
Heading back towards the lake, the trail follows the steep walls of the rim before turning and beginning the final ascent near the 8,054’ summit. Whitebark pines and subalpine fir trees dominate the upper portions of the peak. Panoramic views include Crater Lake and Phantom Ship (a small island in the southeast part of the lake), Mount Thielsen with its pointy spire to the north, and Mount Scott to the east. In July, alpine wildflowers bloom along the upper portions of the trail.