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The Road Bell Traveled: Crater Lake (OR)

Updated: May 16, 2021

DESTINATION: Crater Lake RV Park


ELEVATION: 2,566 feet

VEHICLE: 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer

TRAILER: 2016 Jayco Jayflight 174BH


WEATHER: Mostly sunny and dry

TEMP RANGE: low 26º – high 80º

DATE ARRIVED: Thursday Apr 8th

DATE DEPARTED: Thursday Apr 22nd


4/7/21 On the road again to Oregon. Stopped in Salem to spend the night at Springtime Alpaca Farm through Harvest Hosts, but didn't really see alpacas. Go figure.

4/8/21 Finished the long drive to Crater Lake. Discovered the mouse had FOLLOWED US TO OREGON. Good grief.

4/9/21 Drove 25 miles to Shady Cove for groceries and laundry. Got coffee and explored the town. Brewed Awakenings has the best waffles on a stick.

4/10/21 Rearranged trailer items again to make things more liveable. Cold today. Stayed inside.

4/11/21 Hiked Mill Creek Falls (pretty) and Barr Falls (so-so). Visited Union Creek and Natural Bridge viewpoint. A bit of a walk but worth the effort. Bell is now obsessed with watching Lost.

4/12/21 I caught the mouse! Thank heavens it’s finally over. Getting warmer. Turned on the fans for the first time.

4/13/21 Actual real work to do today. Drove to Shady Cove for a better phone signal for a conference call. Stopped at Phil’s Frosty for chicken fried steaks.

4/14/21 Left early for Crater Lake National Park. Long, windy drive in the snow. Both spectacular and bitingly cold. Small crowds, easy parking. Visitors Center closed.

4/15/21 Added a few days to our reservation. Decided to take an impromptu overnight trip to visit Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass. Spent the day exploring the lovely town of Ashland.

4/16/21 Up early to walk through Lithia Park and get breakfast. Disappointed in Grants Pass. Drove home and stopped for more chicken fried steak at Phil’s.

4/17/21 Matt began chatting up the neighbors. Drove to Shady Cove to have lunch at Phil’s. Again.

4/18/21 Drove up several side roads to explore to Rouge Siskiyou National Forest. Walked a bit on Yellow Rock trail toward an old pioneer homestead but didn't make it.

4/19/21 Cut Bell’s hair. Skype call with friends. Hiked the Avenue of the Boulders trail.

4/20/21 Shady Cove for chicken fried steak #6. I kid you not.

4/21/21 Began cleaning up to leave. Hiked the Rogue River for about a mile. Bell is now obsessed with watching The Good Place.

4/22/21 Asked for a late check out. Stopped at the Oregon Vortex “House of Mystery” which was a complete waste of time and money. Began heading south toward California.


Travel Info

We stayed at Crater Lake RV Park, also known as Prospect Pioneer RV Park. It had a slight old-fashioned feel and really nice people running the show. Quite a few of the folks around were long-term, and we were placed on a row of pull-throughs with high turn over.

Our #3 site was closest to the restroom/shower building, which was actually really nice and convenient. The water was hot but the pressure was mediocre. However we didn't feel comfortable sitting at our site's picnic table with so many people wandering by.

The longer you stay at this particular park, the more the nightly rate goes down. Something to keep in mind, though there isn't so much to do in the area that you need more than a week or so.

Nearby Prospect, OR was a disappointment and felt a bit too much like Deliverance for my taste. A small general store, laundromat, gas station, and post office were available. But all of these were truly just for emergencies– for example, you couldn't get a full week's groceries, the gas pumps definitely looked questionable, the post office had very limited hours, and the laundromat looked quite scummy. SO! Down Hwy 62 to Shady Cove with many more options, and –finally!– a car wash. Our favorites were Phil's Frosty and Brewed Awakenings.

Our RV Life app had us drive around the northern side of Crater Lake to drive in: southeast from Eugene on Hwy 58, south on 97, west on 138, and finally southwest on 62. In retrospect it would have been easier to go directly south on I-5, and eastbound on Hwy 62.


Activities Nearby

Crater Lake National Park: of course the highlight of the area. From the NPS website: Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.

Mill Creek Falls and Barr Falls: a special two-for-one outing with a pair of ~200' waterfalls just a short distance apart. The hike is barely a leisurely walk, and accessible for anyone regardless of abilities.

Avenue of the Giant Boulders: Taking the opposite direction of the falls from the same trailhead puts you at this awesome remnants of volcanic power. These boulders were thrown all the way from Mt. Mazama –more than 20 miles away– when it erupted 7,700 years ago and created the caldera now known as Crater Lake.

Rouge River Natural Bridge: The Natural Bridge is a point located along the upper reaches of the Rogue River. Here the river disappears underground into a 250 foot lava tube. All of the water reappears at the surface further down the river, just beyond the natural bridge.



• Spring was definitely in full swing during our Crater Lake stay, and we saw a variety of new birds, including scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, and Brewer's blackbirds.

The higher elevation and southern latitude also began to showcase new trees we weren't accustomed to seeing very often, such as ponderosa pines. We also loved seeing the giant cones of the Western White Pine.

• Crater Lake National Park offers a Junior Ranger program, but due to COVID we were unable to participate as usual. Instead, we had to print the booklet online, and then scan/email the pages to receive a badge in the mail. The rangers responded promptly and the badge arrived very quickly (back home).


Bell's Eyewitness Report


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