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Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower

Southern Oregon Cascades, Oregon

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Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower

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  • The trailhead at the bottom of the previous Rim Drive road.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • - Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Snowpack on the trail in early July.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Great views all the way up and down the trail.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • - Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Steps leading up to the Watchman Tower.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Watchman Tower.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Expansive valley views with Mount Shasta (14,179') in the distance.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Looking north at Mount Thielsen (9,182').- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • On top of one of the highest peaks in the park.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
  • Unobstructed views of Crater Lake and Wizard Island.- Watchman Trail to Watchman Tower
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views.
Cons: 
Large crowds.
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Region:
Southern Oregon Cascades, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
399.00 ft (121.62 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.60 mi (2.57 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
7,579.00 ft (2,310.08 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Watchman peak offers one of the highest accessible viewpoints on Crater Lake's caldera rim, second only to Garfield Peak.  

The first part of the trail follows the level roadbed of the original Rim Drive. After leaving the road you will start your trek southeast through mountain hemlock and whitebark pines. After a short distance the trail starts to switchback and you'll begin climbing a steep and rocky path until it reaches the peak and the fire lookout station. Sitting at 8,013 feet, the lookout station has been used for surveillance of the surrounding forests since 1932 and is still in use today.

An overlook beside the fire lookout affords excellent aerial views of the lake, the caldera, Wizard Island, and distant peaks including Mount Thielsen and Mount Shasta.

Note: Snowpack can remain on the trail into July.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(32 within a 30 mile radius)

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