Wizard Island

Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park: Address, Phone Number, Wizard Island Reviews: 4.5/5

Wizard Island
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Island in Crater Lake.
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162 reviews
Very good

Houston, TX6,206 contributions
It's hard to miss Wizard Island. From every lookout point on the Rim Drive, you can easily spot it. However, for some of the best views, you will want to hike the 1.6 miles round trip Watchman Peak Trail.

We came to Crater Lake on July 20 and 23 and had gorgeous weather.
Written August 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cynthia K
Westville, IN2,978 contributions
I heard about the boat tour that drops you off on the island to hike. I was bitterly disappointed that the boat tours weren't running while we were there. So, we had to look at the Wizard from numerous overlooks. I took lots of pictures! ;)
Written August 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Los Angeles, CA211 contributions
Wizard Island is a cinder cone on Crater Lake. The island offers several hikes, allowing you to climb to the top of the cinder cone (and into its caldera) and to work your way around the island. There is also swimming (brrrr!) and fishing.

The only way to get to the island is via one of the early morning boat tours. Boat tours departing after noon don't allow hikers to disembark on the island. Consequently, the island is an excellent place to find solitude, beauty, and a unique view of the lake. My children (8 and 11) were thrilled with the entire experience.

That said, the Wizard Island visitor needs to be prepared for the day:

Rangers and the boat guides caution prospective hikers that return seats on the boat are on a space-available basis, though everyone is guaranteed a seat back on the last boat of the day (around 4:30). During the busy summer months, that means it's unlikely you'll be leaving before that last boat. Return priority is based on first-off-the-boat, first-back-on, so if you'd like to try for the chance of spending only an hour or two on the island, take the 10 AM tour (get to the trailhead around 8 AM when the boat tour ticket window opens, to make sure you get tickets), be one of the first off the boat at the island, and then be back at the dock in time for the 11 AM tour, when the next big load of hikers arrives. Alternatively, take the 12 noon boat tour (still arrive at 8 to buy tickets), and spend the early morning doing something else.

Since there are no services on the island other than pit toilets, make sure that you have enough water and food for the day AND for the hike back up the crater at the end of the day!!!!! We saw two families with no or little water; they were not happy at all. Sunscreen and a hat are just as necessary. Add a book or a pack of cards to your daypack if you'd like some other amusement, wear sturdy shoes (flip-flops are not a good idea when hiking over the rocky trails), and bring a jacket just in case the weather cools down.

The hike back up the crater at the end of the day was, in our opinions, nowhere near as tough as advertised. The switchbacks are gentle, and if you've spent the day on the island, you're climbing in the cool and shade of early evening. The boat arrived back at the dock at 5:45; after bathroom breaks, we were at the top of the trail by 6:30.
Written August 19, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

London, UK757 contributions
Crater lake is a unique experience, but the boat tour of the lake and 3 hour visit to Wizard Island is a unique experience within this unique experience! You need to make sure that you have plenty of time to get to the Cleetwood trailhead (90 minutes commute time recommended). For example, if you think of Crater Lake as a clock face, the trailhead is at 12-o'clock. The Villages are at 6 O'clock! Morning and afternoon departures. $57 per adult, $35 per child. Next, printout your boat reservation paperwork. You can get reservations from the Lodge at Rim Village, or from the Annie Creek Gift Shop in Mazama Village. Do not rely on cell phone reception in the area to display your paperwork. Present the paperwork to the ticket booth at the Cleetwood trailhead to obtain your actual tickets. Next, carry bug repellent, sunscreen, a hat, a waterproof jacket and your camera, of course. Wear sturdy footwear. The boat is not covered, and there are no covered structures on Wizard. The trail to the boat dock descends around 600 feet. The boat ride travels counter clockwise toward wizard island (at 8 on the dial) and drops you off for 3 hours of exploration. There is a fairly level but poorly marked trail to Fumarole Bay, and a well marked trail with a 750 foot ascent to the peak of Wizard Island. The key to both these trails is sturdy hiking shoes, because both have relatively sharp volcanic rocks that tend to give way underfoot. The weather is very changeable, so be prepared! There are no meals or refreshments available on the cruise, but there are toilets (poorly maintained) on the boat dock and island. Once you are picked up, the boat will continue on counter clockwise around the lake back to the boat dock on the rim. Enjoy!
Written August 18, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Raleigh, NC4,381 contributions
Wizard Island is a volcano inside a volcano! It is a volcanic cinder cone that formed inside the Mount Mazama crater that rises above the surface of the lake and forms an island. It's only accessible via the boat tours through Xanterra. When booking a boat tour, you can optionally add on a side trip to Wizard Island. The boat will drop you off at the dock about half way through the tour and then pick you back up three hours later. From the dock, there are two trails to hike and explore the island. The Wizard Summit Trail is a steep trail that leads up to the summit. It's only about 1 mile up to the top, but gains more than 700 feet in elevation. A series of switchbacks lessen the slope and you will likely be so enthralled by the beautiful scenery from the trail that you won't even notice. The crater at the top of Wizard Island is called Witch's Cauldron, in keeping with the mythological names of park features and the trail makes a loop around the crater. Dead trees line the crater - these trees were killed by dwarf mistletoe, a parasitic plant. The other trail on the island is Fumarole Bay Trail, which leads to the beautiful bay on the west side of the island. This trail isn't too steep, but very rocky and can be difficult to follow. Fumarole Bay is absolutely beautiful, with turquoise water the color of lagoon in Polynesia. If hiking isn't your thing, you can go fishing or swimming in the water near Fumarole Bay. Just be warned, the water is extremely cold - way too cold for me to get in. The boat tours and stops on Wizard Island are only available during the summer - late June to mid September - so be sure to get tickets in advance. This is a can't miss tour.
Written December 23, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Bend, OR134 contributions
We booked our overnight stay a year ahead so we could do this boat ride and hike. We booked the boat ride as soon as they emailed us that we could submit a 'request for reservation'. When the Bybee fire started a week before we were concerned, but it turned out to be a non-issue the day we went--blue skies, calm wind and no view or smell of smoke thankfully!
Timing this hike can be confusing, so here is our 'summary' as it pertains to the 12:45 boat ride (there is also a 9:30am option) --the drive from Bend to the Park entrance was 1 3/4 hrs; the drive to the Cleetwood Cove trailhead was about 20 minutes. You check in there and get your boat passes. (There are porta potties there as well as at the boat dock). Bring HIKING POLES (we are glad we each had TWO), LUNCH, and lots of WATER (I had 3 good size bottles which just lasted me the 6-7 hours we were gone). The 1 mile hike down to the Cove/boat dock took about 45 minutes and is a very nice trail, not too hard of a hike down (but back up at the end of the day feels tough!). It was more shaded and wooded that we thought--really lovely with views, etc. We were about an hour early but enjoyed watching people jump off a cliff into the COLD water of Crater Lake! You check in at the dock for the boat ride, and they leave on time so it is good to be down there timely.
The boat trip to Wizard Island is shorter on the front end than the end of the day (75 minutes). We left at 12:45 and arrived at the Island to start our hike up at about 1:30. We had to be back at the dock at 4:15 for a 4:30 departure, which is plenty of time to hike up to the caldera (45 minutes, 700' el gain over 1.1 miles). It is a pleasant hike--not too strenuous and with LOTS of views! It starts out over lava rock, but soon turns to a nice trail.
At the top you hike around the rim, sit on a log and have your lunch with fantastic views, then hike 45 minutes back down. There are lovely trail potties ;) near the dock. Be sure and dangle your hot, achy feet in the cold water off the dock!!
Then you get to rest 75 minutes as the boat tours the rest of the Lake perimeter--viewing Phantom Ship, the floating log, Palisades, Pumice Castle, etc. (We spotted the fire behind the Lodge about 5pm, but again even that evening the wind shifted and they were getting a hold of it so all was pretty still.)
We hoofed it back up to our car in 30 minutes--and it felt strenuous as it was the 4th part of our 2 hikes, each 700+ el gain and 1+ mile). We arrived at the Lodge at 7pm (20 miles from the trailhead) for a much needed clean up and 8:30 rev for dinner in the Lodge!
We would do this again--the views and perspective from the boat and the Island are spectacular. The boat ride is fun and informative--Ranger Pat was great, and the captains too. Just hiking down and back to the Lake would be fun and different too, although it is somewhat rugged down there.
Written August 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom B
Berkeley, CA407 contributions
Wizard Island is a cinder cone located inside Crater Lake. Wizard Island is located to the southwest side of the lake. Wizard Island can be enjoyed in various ways. First, of course, is the view from the lodge.

Second, is the view from one of the trails that circles around the rim of Crater Lake.

Third, is from a boat. A computer terminal, located in the lodge, can be used to make reservations for the boat ride. Travelers will need to drive to the northern rim of Crater Lake, where there is a large parking lot, and then they will need to take a zig-zag trail to the dock. From, the dock, a boat will take tourists to a dock on Wizard Island, and let tourists out for a couple of hours (and then pick them up).

Fourth, is the hike on Wizard Island to the top of the cinder cone. Once on top, tourists will enjoy the curiously twisted trees that populated Wizard Island, and will also enjoy gazing into the crater in the center of the cinder cone. The crater is not dangerous, and it is not deep. If you wanted to scoot down to the center of the crater and then inch your way up again, it would be easy to do in the time frame of several minutes.

And fifth, one more beautiful aspect of Wizard Island takes the form of the other sights that can be enjoyed from boat that takes you to Wizard Island and to other parts of the lake. The tour guide provides a narration using a loudspeaker. The tour guide is also a careful listener, and he paused to answer questions from elementary school children on the boat.

Wizard Island is best known to most people as a feature of fine art photographs of Crater Lake. In particular, I like photographs of snow-covered Wizard Island in the winter. What I also enjoyed, was the hike to the top of Wizard Island, and the appealing "crunch, crunch, crunch," sound of the red-colored gravel, as I hiked along the trail that spirals around the cinder cone and takes you to the top. The weather-beaten curiously twisted trees on Wizard Island make for fine photos, especially when the background includes the deep blue waters of Crater Lake, and the curved shore of Crater Lake, situated at the base of a steep cliff.

I rank my the hike to the top of Wizard Island, as one of the finest natural-landscape experiences in North America. The accompanying photos show: (1) Withered tree atop Wizard Island; (2) View of Wizard Island from rim of Crater Lake; and (3) View of geologic feature residing in Crater Lake, taken during boat trip to Wizard Island.
Written January 13, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom B
Berkeley, CA407 contributions
WIZARD ISLAND takes the form of a small volcano, with a tiny caldera, situated in the middle of a humongous volcano, known as Mount Mazama which has a humongous caldera, known as Crater Lake. The tiny caldera on Wizard Island does not contain any pond of its own. Wizard Island is actually not anywhere near the middle of Crater Lake. Instead, it is near the western shore. WIZARD ISLAND is arguably the ultimate in scenery on or near the Pacific Coast, because Crater Lake itself is beautiful, where this lake's majesty is enhanced by the symmetrical nature of Wizard Island. Wizard Island is beautiful, because the hike to the top takes you through a landscape of pretty brick-red colored lava cinders.

Wizard Island is accessed by modern motorboats that are run by the national park system. To arrive at the boat dock, you need to be able to climb up and down a relatively steep zig-zagging trail. The trail is easy for children and seniors alike, but if you have arthritis or multiple sclerosis, then I would think twice before taking the trail down to the boat (not to mention climbing back up). The boat lets you off at Wizard Island, where there is another dock, and during the boat ride the driver speaks into a microphone and tells you a geology story. The driver pauses to respond to questions from the passengers, and children will thrill to the fact that their intelligent questions will receive intelligent answers. I have posted two pictures, one of them taken inside of the boat, showing passengers, and my other picture is from a pose taken at the very top of Wizard Island's cinder cone.

The trip to Wizard Island, and the Island itself, is something magical, because tourists will know that they are experiencing something rare and special that few other persons in the United States, or even in California, even know about. A similar chunk of majesty is Secret Beach, which is found in Oregon's Boardman Corridor, and which features some of the most photogenic seastacks on the entire west coast.
Written April 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Avon, OH13,020 contributions
Wizard Island is the volcanic cinder cone rising from the caldera that forms the bottom of Crater Lake and gets its name from its resemblance to a pointy sorcerer’s hat. Rising 760 feet (232m) above the surface of the lake, it is the iconic geological formation that has probably been included in virtually every image ever made of Crater Lake.

Excellent views of Wizard Island can be had from a number of locations along the rim with some of the best at and around Sinnott Memorial Overlook in Rim Village and from Discovery Point and Wizard Island Overlook, 1.3 mile (2.1k) and 4.0 miles (6.4k) west on Rim Drive from the Sinnott Overlook respectively.

During the short summer when the boat tours are running, it is possible to visit the island for fishing, hiking and picnicking but this is probably best left for multi-day visits or a return trip as the process of getting to the boat dock to the island and back would leave little time to see the rest of the park on short visits; however, if this is your goal, reserve tickets well in advance for one of the two boat tours, with quite limited seating, that stop at the island to avoid disappointment.

If one wishes to get a better look at Wizard Island, as well as other feature of the park from lake level, a more practical option may be to take the two hour volcano boat tour around Crater Lake which cruises up close to the island. While same day tickets are possible, reserving tickets well ahead of your visit will help to avoid disappointment. Even though the boat tour is only two hours, the whole adventure will take much longer as one needs to drive 10.7 miles (17.2k) from Rim Village to the Cleatwood Cove trailhead and hike down 1.1 mile (1.8k) to the boat dock; the real challenge is the hike out, a strenuous 700 foot (213m) climb up, over the same 1.1 mile (1.8k) trail taken down.
Written February 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Augusta, Georgia198 contributions
My wife and I recently returned from a 10-day trip to Oregon and our visit to the top of Wizard Island was not only the highlight for that trip, but was one of the best hikes we have ever had the opportunity to do. However, advance planning is required. Also, please note that the boat trips to the island end in mid-August in 2016 due to upcoming dock maintenance. I booked our boat trip 5 weeks in advance by phone for a July 4 weekend excursion and had several options to pick from. That being said, the boats only accommodate 30 people each and there are a limited number of trips per day so it is best to reserve your spots as early as possible rather than hoping to get one of the spots they save for 24-hour advance booking on a first come-first served basis.

Please note that there are spots along the Crater Lake rim where the mosquitoes are very, very active so have your bug repellent ready. They were definitely bad at the Cleetwood Cove trail-head and first third of the hike down to the dock. The hike down to the dock is 1.1 miles and took us only 40 minutes or so. It is a dusty trail. While you wait for your boat trip you can enjoy watching the brave ones jump off a 10 ft. rock into the very cold lake - this is the only place where you can access the lake as most of the rim is 600 to 2000 ft. above lake level. We then took the boat tour that drops you off on Wizard Island for 3 hours. Make sure you pack plenty of water.

We are in our middle 50's and in average shape and it took us 50 minutes to reach the top of Wizard Island. The elevation is ~7000 ft. above sea level so you need to be ready for that if you spend most of your life near sea level like we do. By the way, this trail is not for young children unless you are carrying them in a backpack most of the way! The trail is fairly narrow, has a lot of loose volcanic rock and there are no guards to prevent a very long slide down (you will get seriously hurt if you survive it). And you absolutely need good sturdy shoes (preferably hiking shoes) to navigate it safely.

The views from the top are spectacular and worth every step to get there. Plus you get to say that you were at the top of a volcano within a volcano, albeit one now filled with some of the most amazingly colored royal blue waters you will ever see. We ate lunch at the took and top a bunch of photos before hiking back down in just under 30 minutes so the 3 hours you have is plenty. The hike down does seem much more precarious even though it is the exact same trail.

The only bad part was having to hike back to the rim after the return boat trip - the trail was considerably more crowded at 4 pm than it had been in mid-morning and therefore much dustier. Plus those mosquitoes had not forgotten about us. But nonetheless, this was definitely a hike we will never forget.
Written July 24, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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