If you’re looking for the best day hike in Crater Lake you don’t have to go far from the Crater Lake Lodge to find this beauty. Located right past the Lodge is Garfield Peak, which overlooks the mesmerizing Crater Lake and gives you views as far as the eye can see.
The hike itself has quite a bit of elevation but around every corner, you will see picturesque views of Crater Lake. As you keep climbing and climbing the views will just become more and more dazzling. Right up until you reach the top and then you’ll have 360 views of the whole National Park along with the deep blue lake.
If it is your first time going to Crater Lake National Park then get your camera ready! Once you hike up to the top of Garfield Peak you’ll see the color of the lake from above and be absolutely mind blown by its dark deep blue color. It’s indescribable and you’ll have to see it to believe how beautiful it truly is.
When you’re at the top of Garfield Peak you will get a feel for the deep blue color and how clear the water really is. Take it all in and spend some time at the top once you’ve made it up there.
Garfield Peak is the best day hike in Crater Lake, Oregon
No matter where you go around Crater Lake you’ll get amazing views! With lots of lookout points around the lake, you will have plenty of opportunities to take great pictures. But if you’re looking for that perfect view then you should definitely head up Garfield Peak and get that money $hot.
When you look at the lake you’ll see two very different and unique islands which you’ll get great views of during the hike. Wizard Island and Phantom Ship are the two islands that are located on the lake and you’ll notice the names are quite fitting for both of them.
An interesting fact about the lake is that it is the deepest lake in the United States at 1949 feet. Once you hike up to Garfield Peak you will truly see how crazy deep the lake is.
There isn’t a bad time to hike up Garfield Peak (apart from during thunderstorms) but we definitely recommend hiking up for sunrise or sunset as you’ll get the sun just peeking over the mountains in the morning or just setting over them in the evening. Plus you’ll get great reflections with the clear water of Crater Lake, which will make for amazing pictures! #instaworthy
It’s not the standard waterfall view at the end of the hike like we got at Ramona Falls or Tamanawas Falls. But Crater Lake is very unique in its own way since it’s a former volcano that transformed into a crater that then filled up with water and became what we now know as Crater Lake.
Practical information about Garfield Peak
Distance: 5.5 km return / 3.4 miles return
Elevation: 325 m / 1069 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 2-3 hours return
Difficulty: Moderate (But depending on the weather, it can get extremely hot up there in the summer)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail
This is the first hike where we felt like we actually got sunstroke. So please bring water and a hat when you go hike Garfield Peak. We did it in the middle of summer and it was very hot! Plus the fact you’re so high up and exposed increases your risk of getting sunstroke! So make sure to be prepared for any type of weather.
Jo, unfortunately, got a migraine attack and got sick after doing this hike so it’s no joke, make sure you’re prepared for all types of weather.
In case you forget to bring food or anything else you may need for the hike you can stop at the Crater Lake Lodge or at the shop next to the parking lot. You will definitely want some snacks while you’re at the top enjoying the view! Just make sure to not feed any of the animals. Any food you pack for the hike, please pack it back into your bag! 🙂
The route itself is very easy to follow and you basically just climb the northwestern ridge of Garfield Peak all the way to the summit with a bunch of great lookout points.
You can also find more information about the hike here.
How to get there from Bend
It’s basically a straight shot from Bend and takes only about 1.5 hours.
- You’ll go south on the 97.
- Then turn off onto the 138.
- After, you’ll turn off onto the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway and enter the National Park (where you can buy the America The Beautiful pass if you haven’t already).
Before you go
If you have the America The Beautiful pass then fantastic! But if you don’t, it’s absolutely worth purchasing it since it allows you access to ALL national parks in the US for a full year! The pass is 80$ and most parks are 25$-35$ to access – we’ll let you do the math 😉
There are lots of amazing hikes in the National Parks of Oregon (and the rest of the US) so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth purchasing the national pass. Ramona Falls and Tamanawas Falls are just a few of them!
What to bring
If it’s sunny you will literally be in the sun the ENTIRE time so plan accordingly! Hiking boots aren’t necessary but definitely recommended as it’s pretty steep and gravely. We both wore our hiking boots!
- Water, water, and more water!!
- Sunscreen of some sort is a must on a sunny day.
- Food if you get hungry during the hike or want to have a picnic after!
- A hat is ideal on a warm day!
If you forget anything there is the Crater Lake Lodge and the tourist shop where you’ll be able to pick up most of the things mentioned above!
Other useful info
- We highly recommend checking the operating hours and season as it may be closed in the winter due to heavy snowfalls. Please check here before you embark on a trip to Crater Lake.
- Remember to purchase the America The Beautiful Pass if you plan to visit multiple National Parks.
- Here is also a great list of items you could use for hiking if you’re thinking you may be missing something for your future hikes!
We hope you enjoy Garfield Trail as much as we did and that you’re slightly more prepared than we were! Enjoy and stay safe out there!
Dom & Jo