Just over a hundred miles south of Bend, the blown-out shell of Mount Mazama holds the hypnotically beautiful CRATER LAKE, formed after an explosion 42 times greater than that of Mount St Helens. You won’t forget the first time you peer over the volcano rim: the biggest island on the lake, Wizard Island, is actually the tip of a still-rising cinder cone, and the so-called Phantom Ship is a jagged volcanic dyke that, in dim light or fog, resembles a mysterious clipper on the water. In its snowy isolation, the lake, at a depth of nearly 2000ft, is awe-inspiring; in summer, wild flowers bloom along its high rim.

Regular boats cruise the lake, reached via the sheer, mile-long Cleetwood Cove trail (June–Oct) which provides the only access to the lake surface (700ft down). The trail is on the north edge, but visitor facilities are clustered on the south edge at tiny Rim Village. Other activities include scuba diving (June–Sept; free permits) into the depths of the deep, blue lake.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Where to stay in LA: an area by area guide

Few regions of the world have been as idealized and mythologized as California – and yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. The glamour, surf beaches and…

22 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

The 15 most spectacular sights in Southwest USA

A vast expanse of stunning desert scenery, the Southwest is arguably the USA’s most spectacular region. For splendour and sheer scale, the landscape consisten…

06 Jun 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The most beautiful places in the USA – as voted by you

The most beautiful places in the USA – as voted by you

We asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to vote for the most beautiful locations in the USA. Now the results are in. This gallery showcases the top ten most…

31 May 2017 • Lottie Gross camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month