Winter Activities

Two people snowshoeing in deep snow along road
Rim Drive is closed to vehicles in winter and re-designated a ski and snowshoe route.

Photo by Mike Connolly

Most days in November through May, opportunities are abundant for winter recreation or simply playing in the snow at Crater Lake National Park. Join a popular ranger-guided snowshoe walk, or ski in solitude along a designated route. Winter activities in the park also require knowledge of winter safety. Whatever activity you choose, please watch this winter safety video of the hidden dangers that snow may present.

Winter Backcountry Camping
Cross-Country (Nordic) Skiing
Ranger-Guided Snowshoe Walks
Downhill Skiing

Lake Viewing and Road Closures

The park receives an average of 42 feet (13 meters) of snow per year. It is open year-round, 24 hours a day but the north entrance road and Rim Drive are closed to wheeled vehicles in the winter. The west and south entrances are plowed daily as needed, and are open to automobiles throughout the year.

Winter time offers excellent opportunities for lake viewing and photography. However, picture-perfect days with lake views are not the average experience in winter. The lake is obscured 50% of the season by clouds and snowstorms. The 3-mile road to the the rim, beginning from the visitor center, temporarily closes when the road is not safe to travel. Even on a clear day when the lake is visible, a prior snowstorm or icy conditions could delay opening the gate for uphill traffic to Rim Village and lake views.

Here is a simple checklist to do before driving to the park on a winter day:

  1. Preview the weather forecast on your day of travel.
  2. Check the current conditions for road closures and other alerts.
  3. Check the Rim Village webcam to see if Crater Lake is visible.
Ranger leads visitors in a snowshoe walk through the forest.
Ranger leads visitors in a snowshoe walk through a sub-alpine forest.

NPS photo

Ranger-Guided Snowshoe Walks

Ranger-guided snowshoe walks are fun way to learn about the park. The walks last two hours and cover one to two miles of moderate-to-strenuous terrain. Most walks begin at Rim Village and explore the forests and meadows along the rim of Crater Lake. The ranger determines the route.

Participants must be at least 8 years of age, and no experience is necessary. Space on each tour is limited, and advance reservations are required. Click here for more details and reservation information.


Many opportunities for sledding can be found throughout the park but there are no designated sled hills or snow play areas. Select a location with a gentle slope that is free of trees and other obstacles. The slope should end with a flat landing for safe and easy stopping. One popular spot is the open meadow south of Crater Lake Lodge. For your safety, sledding, tubing, and tobogganing are prohibited in the caldera and on all roadways within the park where vehicle traffic may occur and in all parking lots.

Winter Safety Please watch the video and read about snow dangers such as cornices, and tree wells.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Snowboarding and downhill skiing are allowed in the park but are absolutely prohibited in the caldera. The park does not have any chairlifts. All downhill skiers and snowboarders must hike up to a destination before riding down a slope. Be familiar with the up and down routes, and potential dangers. Know how to self-rescue. Assisted rescues in avalanche areas, and from places hard to reach may take more than 24 hours.

Avalanche terrain exists in the park but there is no formal avalanche forecasting. If you choose to be in avalanche areas carry probes, snow shovels, and avalanche transceivers. Taking an avalanche course is recommended.

Winter Fat Tire Biking

Park regulation prohibits the use and operation of fat tire bikes on winter trails within the park.

Last updated: September 15, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604


541 594-3000

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