Hike-in Required
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Here's an interesting fact: Crater Lake, the deepest lake in North America and Oregon's only National Park, is roughly 280,000 times larger than Little Crater Lake.  Nevertheless, this little gem is certainly worthy of a visit.  Similar to its larger, more famous counterpart, this lake is impressively deep for its size (45 feet) and it has remarkably clear waters.  Unlike Crater Lake, however, this meadow spring wasn’t formed by volcanic action.  The origin of Little Crater Lake was a suppressed layer of pressurized water that reached the surface when a minor fault in the earth slipped and formed a crack.  As the crack formed and the water was pushed upward, the ground’s top layer of softer siltstone was slowly eroded, eventually creating the present day Little Crater Lake.

Late June or early July is a great time to visit the lake, when the adjacent meadows are fully lit up with incredible wildflowers such as California corn lily, Arctic lupine and western bistort.  And don’t miss Timothy Lake and Clackamas Lake, the area's other hidden aquatic treasure and headwaters to the Clackamas River.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

NW Forest Pass


Crystal Clear lake. Wildflower meadows. Numerous nearby camping options.



Pets allowed



Big vistas
Geologically significant


Nearby Adventures

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon
Mt. Hood + Clackamas River Area, Oregon


A nice little side trip to very pretty little lake. The road is pretty rough going in, but doable. I took my poor little tent trailer in there without damage.
Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

You May Also Enjoy

Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley National Park, California