Garfield Peak Trail
Garfield Peak Trail climbs from the Rim Village of Crater Lake National Park up to the top of its namesake peak, providing hikers with excellent views of this perfectly blue spectacle and the mountains that surround it. This crater was the result of an eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama around 7,700 years ago, forming the deepest lake in the United States, known for its striking blue color and exceptional clarity.
The Garfield Peak Trail conveniently begins from the Rim Village, making it an easy choice for visitors to the park. This route is suitable for most skill levels, but beginners and small children might find the final climb to the peak a bit challenging. Hikers can and do explore this trail in the winter, but you’ll need appropriate gear. Dogs are not permitted in the park.
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Route Description for Garfield Peak Trail
Garfield Peak Trail is one of the most popular trails in Crater Lake National Park. It begins from the Rim village near the lodge and climbs along a ridge to a peak with a wonderful view of Crater Lake and the surrounding mountains.
Crater Lake was formed over 7,700 years ago when the Mazama volcano erupted and collapsed. The lake earns first prize as the deepest in the country (1,943 ft) and is one of the most shimmering, clearest lakes globally—and the bluest.
Garfield Peak Trail can be hiked most of the year, and it’s suitable for most skill levels. Small children and beginners might find the final climb to the top a bit challenging (and it’s best suited to surefooted adventurers), and winter hikers will want to prepare to contend with lots of snow.
This hike can be combined with the Discovery Point Trail if you want to explore a large portion of the rim over a longer hike. Neither hike on its own takes very long to complete, so doing both is a nice option for fit hikers.
The park is open throughout the year, but some roads are closed in the winter. The Rim Village is the heart of the park, and it’s where your hike will begin. The hike starts from the far east side of the village near the Crater Lake Lodge.
Pass behind the lodge and continue downhill. You’ll enter a hemlock forest that will eventually give way to a viewpoint of the lake. Begin slowly ascending through stands of whitebark pine. You’ll head along the south side of the ridge and then turn left to climb atop the ridgeline. The footing here isn’t always great, so take your time. If you have poles, they’ll come in handy.
Hike along the ridge to a viewpoint before the summit. Turn towards the lake and snap a photo of the view, then continue up the last two switchbacks to reach the true summit.
From atop Garfield Point, admire the lake and the Cascades around it. Applegate Peak rises to the east, and Wizard Island stands in the lake.
When you’re ready, turn back and retrace your steps downhill to the lodge and the starting point.
Hiking Route Highlights
Crater Lake National Park protects the unique Crater Lake, created by the crater left over from the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama over 7,700 years ago. The flanking Southern Cascades only add to its dramatic beauty. Find hiking trails creating a network around the lake and a summer ferry that takes visitors to Wizard Island on the lake’s west side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim in Crater Lake?
Yes, but it’s very cold! Bring a towel and warm clothes to change into after your swim.
Is Crater Lake National Park always open?
The park is open most days of the year, but services and roads close down in the winter months. We’d recommend visiting between mid-June and September if you’re able to.
Is Garfield Peak a hard hike?
We rate this hike as moderate, but it does require a bit of steep climbing on rocky trails. It’s not the best fit for small children or total beginners, but it’s enjoyed by hikers of most skill levels.
Insider Hints for Garfield Peak Trail
- You’ll pass by the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room if you’re hungry after your hike.
- If you plan to do this hike in the winter, make sure you have gaiters, spikes, poles with snow baskets, and potentially snowshoes and ice axes depending on the conditions.
Getting to the Garfield Peak Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for Garfield Peak Trail is on Rim Village Drive.
Garfield Peak Trail Elevation Graph
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Garfield Peak Trail Reviews
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