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Category: US National Parks

Garfield Peak Trail

Garfield Peak Trail

Crater Lake National Park

On our final day in Crater Lake National Park, we checked out of Crater Lake Lodge, and simply walked to our trail. Garfield Peak Trail begins just off of Rim Village Drive adjacent to the lodge, though we wouldn’t reach the trailhead sign for 0.2 miles. With easy access from the lake’s south rim, the trail is convenient and popular. Garfield Peak was named after James Rudolph Garfield, who was Secretary of the Interior when the park was established in…

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Watchman Peak Trail

Watchman Peak Trail

Crater Lake National Park

Visiting Crater Lake National Park in late July means dealing with snow. Yes, somewhat hard to believe, but it’s true. When we arrived in the park, some hikes were still closed due to snow. Luckily for us, a park ranger we met on our lake tour mentioned that Watchman Peak had opened two days ago! So that’s where we headed that afternoon. Watchman Peak Trail is a 1.7 mile out and back hike with views of Crater lake, including the…

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Cleetwood Cove Trail and Boat Tour

Cleetwood Cove Trail and Boat Tour

Crater Lake National Park

Planning and Disappointments One activity we wanted to do in Crater Lake National Park was to get out on Crater Lake itself. The park does tours of the lake, and also has shuttles to Wizard Island. The island is a 316-acre landmass within Crater Lake and has several hiking trails. Months before our visit, we reserved tickets for the boat tour, including the Wizard Island shuttle. Visitors can only get to the shoreline of Crater Lake via a steep 2.1…

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Plaikni Falls & Pinnacles Trails

Plaikni Falls & Pinnacles Trails

Crater Lake National Park

Pinnacles Road runs through the southeast part of Crater Lake National Park. This road was once the eastern entrance to the park, but has fallen into disuse. Along the road are a couple of must-see attractions: Plaikni Falls and the Pinnacles. Plaikni Falls Trail, a 2.0 mile hike dotted with wildflowers, ends at a waterfall. Pinnacles Trail is a unique 0.8 mile hike that features pumice spires, remnants from the area’s volcanic past. We had just finished hiking Mount Scott,…

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Mount Scott Trail

Mount Scott Trail

Crater Lake National Park

So far in Crater Lake National Park, we had hiked some lesser known trails like Boundary Springs. It was finally time to do some more “popular” hikes. Today we decided to hike Mount Scott, a 4.3 mile out and back trail located on the eastern side of the park. The trail ascends 1318 feet, and features views of Crater Lake and the surrounding mountains. Mount Scott is the highest point in Crater Lake National Park at 8929 feet and is…

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Boundary Springs Trail

Boundary Springs Trail

Crater Lake National Park

The average July rainfall in Crater Lake National Park is around one inch, the lowest of the year. So, it was just our luck that it was raining on our first few days in the park. We wanted to go backpacking in the northwestern section of the park (on Bald Crater Loop), but the rain and threat of thunderstorms put a stop to that. Instead, we decided on a 5.4 mile out-and-back dayhike to Boundary Springs. Boundary Springs Trail is…

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Mazama Campground

Mazama Campground

Crater Lake National Park

Our drive from Redwood National & State Parks to Crater Lake National Park was uneventful, other than a few stops to see some carnivorous plants and wildflowers. We spent seven days in the park, which was enough time to see *almost* everything. Our plan was to spend three nights at Mazama Campground on the southern side of the park. Mazama is the largest and most centrally-located campground in the park. When we visited, it was managed by Xanterra, a concessioner…

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Stony Man Trail

Stony Man Trail

Shenandoah National Park

We don’t usually hike in the winter. It’s cold (obviously), and daylight is lacking. Ice and downed trees often close off Skyline Drive, so you can’t access most of Shenandoah National Park. We had been trying to hike for weeks in Shenandoah, but the central district had been closed. I’m not a fan of winter and was eager to put it behind me. Finally, with some warmer weekend weather, we found ourselves hiking Stony Man Trail. It was getting warmer…

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Best Hikes, Itinerary and Planning Guide

Best Hikes, Itinerary and Planning Guide

Redwood National Park

Crater Lake National Park was at the top of Kristin’s bucket list for a long time. We started planning a visit, and decided to include Redwood National Park, since it’s relatively close. And we ended up enjoying Redwood more in many ways. Redwood is unique because it’s not just a national park – it also includes three California State Parks: Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek. Managed collectively, they’re known as “Redwood National and State Parks.” The primary mission of…

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Restaurants & Accommodations

Restaurants & Accommodations

Redwood National Park

For us, vacation planning includes making a list of restaurants we’re interested in, along with a rating of how interested we are in each one. Some places turn out to be duds, while others are truly amazing. We’ll visit anything from a hole-in-the-wall to a food truck to the occasional higher end establishment in search of great food. There are no restaurants or lodging (aside from campgrounds) in Redwood National & State Parks. In 2010, Redwood Hostel, previously the only…

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