Tucked in the Mount Hood National Forest is Little Crater Lake.
When I first came across it on Google, I was intrigued. I had been to Crater Lake, which was of course amazing, and I wondered what was Little Crater Lake. I asked a few of my native Oregonian friends- they had never heard of it. It turns out Little Crater Lake is aptly named…it’s much, much smaller than Crater Lake in diameter, but also very deep at around 45 feet deep. Yes that’s feet, not inches. And it is freezing cold. I think they said the water was 34 degrees…brrrr! I actually thought Little Crater Lake felt colder than the water at Crater Lake.
The depth gives Little Crater Lake this amazing turquoise blue color, none of my iphone photos really could do the color justice.
From most of the photos (including mine) that I’ve seen of it, Little Crater Lake looks like a small, ordinary lake. But up close, you see shallow water that immediately veers off into an abyss. There were a few fallen trees, but you really cannot see the bottom.
I am proud to say that I jumped into this freezing water. And one must jump in Little Crater Lake to experience it. You can’t ease into it, your body just won’t let you.
Even a few seconds of dipping my feet into the water, when the weather was a horrid 100 degrees back in Portland and most of Oregon was scorching, left me running back to shore. The water was cold, but man it felt so clean.
The other cool thing about this campground?
There’s a trail, about 1/2 mile from Little Crater Lake that takes you to the head of Timothy Lake where it looks more like a river than a lake. The water there is also pretty cold.
And yes, I accidentally hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, in my bathing suit and wet shoes.