Rim Drive
About
Scenic 33-mile drive which must be taken in a clockwise direction since areas of it are one-way.
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PandaHouston
Houston, TX6,206 contributions
The only way to circumvent Crater Lake is to drive the 33 mile Rim Road. If you are starting early in the morning like we did (around 6:30 am on July 21), would recommend doing this clockwise.

There are lots of lookout points and overlooks which allow you magnificent views with VERY LITTLE EFFORT. If you do want to take some hikes, you can as well. The hikes range from easy to moderately difficult.

If you go to the Rim Village Visitor Center, there are actual toilets. Also a nice spot to sit in front of Crater Lake if you've packed some food.

You can easily visit Crater Lake in a day if all you do is drive the Rim Drive and you are afforded incredible views of the Crater Lake.
Written August 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kevan j
Norman, OK1,140 contributions
The Rim Drive is one of the great things at Crater Lake as it allows you see the lake from so many angles without your needing to walk very much. There are overlooks all around the lake with plenty of parking and only short walks to the edge. It also gives you the chance to look away from the lake and see the other beautiful things in the park, as much of the road is on the other side of the hills or trees from the lake. We stopped at Discovery Point, Watchman Overlook (great views of Wizard Island and the Devil's Backbone), Merriam Overlook (close up views of Devil's Backbone), Palisade Point and Skell Head Overlook. All of these were amazing. Unfortunately, when we visited in early July, the Rim Drive between Skell Head and Sun Notch was not yet open, so we missed a few places. One thing that really puzzled me was that most of the visitors to the park seemed to congregate at the Rim Village and at the Cleetwood Clove Trailhead, leaving all the great overlooks on the Rim Drive to us and a few other lucky travelers. Niiccce!
Written July 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Colin Archibald
Kingston, TN4,465 contributions
A must do for visitors to Crater Lake. Many people simply drive up to the Rim Village and go no further. They are missing so much. The drive around the Rim Drive allows you to see the lake from different perspectives and the light hitting the lake at different angles gives variations in the color. Don't miss it.
Written August 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cynthia K
Westville, IN2,997 contributions
I read the "about" section near the top of this listing. Crater Lake Rim Drive is 33 miles of TWO WAY TRAFFIC. Unless there's construction, which this year there was not.

This road goes all the way around the lake & the views are outstanding! Many pull offs. Some inexplicably have the information boards missing. Some are accessible.
If you look at the map in the brochure, it will tell you which overlooks have bathrooms. Most are pit toilets.
Vidae Falls is right off Rim Drive on the Southern end of the lake. Don't miss Sun Notch, The Watchman, Cloudcap overlook & Pumice Castle overlook.
The East side of the drive usually opens by July, so if you want to take the whole drive, keep this in mind.
This is a "must do" while visiting the park!
Written August 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

FlyBalletGuy
New York City, NY105 contributions
The one essential thing to do at Crater Lake is the Rim Drive. It will take about 2.5-3 hours at an unrushed pace, stopping to admire the view or take pictures, but longer than that if you plan to make long stops or hike.

The moment the weather and visibility are good, do the drive - they may not be later. I woke up on my last day (after horrible visibility from a fire all the previous day) to find a beautiful clear morning, so I threw on clothes, jumped in my car and drove from 6 am to 8:30. It was one of the best choices I made that visit.
Written July 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

iamhere555
united states127 contributions
If you have limited time or are visiting early in the season when the east rim is closed, it's still worth the visit. Stunning lake views are available on west rim drive like Watchman Overlook and others. The Rim Village cafe and gift shop and bathrooms are also on the west rim.

If you have the time, drive the east rim. Waterfalls (Vidae falls is visible right from the road), wildflower garden at Castle Trestle Trail, volcanic spires at Pinnacles, the only access to the lake water via Cleetwood Cove Trail (2 miles one way) and lovely overlooks like Phantom ship and Pumice Castle are all on the east side. There were still patches of snow on the east rim drive in July and we saw some families pull off the road for snow play.
Written July 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

redhead_roaming
Seattle, WA2,352 contributions
Before traveling, while looking online, I was really confused as to what direction you're supposed to travel as I felt like I was reading vague posts about only being able to drive certain directions in some sections. Ignore that - you can drive both ways the entire way around.

I think the Rim Drive is the main thing to do and the most bang for your buck, while in the park. They say to estimate about 2 hours to do the entire thing with stops & breaks and such, and I would say that's about accurate, though with babies in the car, we didn't do as many stopping/looking and got done much sooner.

There are some areas you lose cell coverage but it's momentarily and it's not like you'll get lost while driving.

We did a drive in crummy conditions with limited visibility and a drive with beautiful clear skies and both times, the drive was easy to do.
Written April 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

CentralCoast2
Baywood Park, CA389 contributions
Rim Drive is a must for anyone visiting Crater Lake. You won't be able to appreciate the majesty of the lake without taking the Rim Drive. It is a two lane road, with a drop off on one side that circles the lake. There are lots of vista points were you can safely stop to appreciate the views.
Written November 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

swearengen
Colonia, NJ808 contributions
Took the ride around Rim Drive a couple of times. Many pullouts and lookouts give you different views and perspective. Can [potentially get crowded to the point where you might not find parking, but we didn't run into that problem. Loved it.
Written July 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WillieMacfan
Healdsburg, CA638 contributions
If you get to Crater Lake, this is a must drive. 33 miles circumvents the lake. Multiple turnouts to pull off the road and take a look. Entire drive takes about an hour unless you decide to take hikes or picnic.

When you enter the park you are given a newspaper with map and information about areas to view.
Written August 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Rim Drive (Crater Lake National Park) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go