Wheelchair Access @ Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon
The water was so blue I felt like I was gazing at the eternal pool of life. I had come to Crater Lake National Park once before when I was a child and seeing beautiful aftermath of a violent volcanic eruption again sent wonderful memories rushing over me. It was worth the 40 miles trip each way from Highway 97.
The most populated area is where the lodge, café/gift shop and visitor center is located, which are all wheelchair accessible with paved walkways, cub cutouts and a few handicapped parking spots. However, there are inclines. A wheelchair accessible public restroom is in a building near where the tram parks offering the standard stall setup. The lodge is impressive and beautifully maintained but the draw for people is the scenic promenade that runs along the lake’s border with look out points and informational boards. The promenade is paved and wheelchair accessible for most. Some parts have fairly steep slopes, making it challenging for someone if alone. However, another path that runs parallel to the parking lot is nearly level is an option to avoid the steep sections but doesn’t have the view. Additionally, natural elements erode parts of the walkway so roll with caution. The views of Crater Lake at the promenade are the best you will get in the park outside of driving around it, but there is still more to see in this National Park. Remember, being a National Park means free admission for permanently disabled U.S. citizens with the lifetime Golden Access Pass.
One of the longest wheelchair accessible hiking trails is the Godfrey Glen Trail, which is a 1 mile loop with a grade no higher 9%. The trail itself that travels through an old-growth forest with views on the canyon is packed dirt with a few minimally soft spots. When it’s wet it becomes muddy and much more challenging but with little to no moisture many manual wheelchairs will be able to enjoy this trail. Power wheelchairs will have no difficulties.
The Annie Creek Canyon Trail at the Mazama Village is mostly wide and flat for the first ¼ but then the decent into the canyon becomes inaccessible. The Vidae Fall Picnic Area has wheelchair accessible picnic tables, parking and restrooms and here the Crater Peak Trail is low grade and wide for the first 100 yards. The trail is packed dirt so again when wet it’s much more challenging. The trails accessible section ends at a bridge under an old-growth forest. Further up the road at the Lost Creek Campground is the Grayback Motor Nature Trail, is an old wide and flat service road. Only tent camping is permitted here but restrooms are accessible, showers are unknown. At the end of Pinnacles Road is Pinnacles Trail—another packed dirt trail that is moderately flat. The trail leads to the end of the park with great views of the canyon and volcanic spires and then one must turn around and go back as it’s not a loop. The trail is wide enough for most wheelchairs but use caution along the cliff’s edge.