Crater Lake Trail Plan

CRATER LAKE TRAIL PLAN

Crater Lake National Park just released its first-ever Trails Plan on February 1, 2017. They are taking public input until March 1.

Tell them YES to building a "Mount Mazama Trail" around the mountain! The park was designed for cars a century ago. Much of the rim is roaded, but a well-designed Rim Trail could be a rival to Mt. Hood's Timberline Trail. The current plan is missing a few key links and needs more backcountry campsites with water, such as Cascade Spring. A Rim Trail with three 5-mile gaps would be frustrating. If they're building a trail two-thirds of the way around the mountain, why not finish the job?

The new plan does address a glaring problem: There is currently no way to hike from Mazama Campground to Park Headquarters, or from the headquarters to Rim Village. I think the connecting trails I proposed in my 2010 plan follow prettier routes. Certainly they are shorter.

Post your comments at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?documentID=76547

At the same site you can see the park plan by clicking "Documents".

I've included a small-format version of their proposal here:


Below is the Trails Plan I proposed to the park in 2010. After writing the guidebook "Trails of Crater Lake" that year I was so frustrated by the trail system I had described that I suggested they could do better. Because the park was originally designed for cars, most of the best real estate on the rim is devoted to parking pullouts, and most of the backcountry trails are nothing more than an old fire roads. A comprehensive plan should connect the trails and give people a reason to get out of their cars.


In some ways the park's current proposal is better than the one I suggested in 2010. They propose building a trail along the rim at Cloudcap. They suggest building a trail to Llaos Hallway -- a canyon of ash pillars that is just scenic enough that people driving into the park from Medford will want to stop, walk, and look. Currently it is illegal to park near Llaos Hallway, and dangerous to bushwhack there.

The park should be congratulated for putting together this proposal -- and people should offer their suggestions for improvement soon.


At left: Llaos Hallway

Below: The full-sized version of my 2010 proposal.





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