Summer Snow at Crater Lake

Crater Lake SM12-321

In winter time, when storms are predicted for Crater Lake, it is best to stay away. High winds, freezing temperatures, and mountains of snow inundate the lake and its caldera in the winter. In summer, matters stand differently. If storms predicted, that can often be the best time to go to the lake. Few things more beautiful than Crater Lake during the clearing of a summer storm.

Storms are actually fairly rare at Crater Lake in the summer. In the winter, the lake is blanketed in clouds and fog for much of the season. In the summer, it's bright and sunny most of the time. A summer storm is a rare occurrence. It is spectacle not to be missed.

Forecast for last weekend at Crater Lake was snow showers, with possible clearing on Saturday evening and on Sunday. The forecast was a bit off for Saturday: there was no clearing on Saturday evening, but there were a few brief interludes of the storm in the afternoon. Otherwise, it was breezy, chilly, and snowy. In the evening, the snow came down at a pretty good clip. Several inches fell during the night, sprinkling a white power on tree branches and across exposed ridges.

When I arrived at Crater Lake National Park on Saturday afternoon, some snow had already fallen:

The trees guarding the road to the rim were decorated with white powder:

A temporary break in the storm was upon us, opening the lake to view. Wafts of mist, however, still drifted across the lake:

One advantage of a summer snow storm at Crater Lake is it gives one a chance to drive to more points around the rim of the lake than would normally be the case in winter. During much of the year, the road around Crater Lake is closed. The road usually closes sometime in October, and remains closed until late May or early June, when the road around the western side of the rim begins to open. Only in July does the road around the entire lake open.

On this first weekend in summer, the western section of the road was open. This gave access to one of the best vantage points in the Park — Discovery Point:

The break in storm was brief, as clouds began to converge over the lake:

After the clouds had completely covered the sky, an intense snow shower began:

There was another break toward evening:

Then the skies darkened and the snow fell promiscuously once again. I would not see the sun again until morning. But it was well worth the wait:

Trees decorated with freshly fallen snow always add something special to photos of Crater Lake:

The skies would darken again that morning, although this time very little snow came down:

It was strange to walk about in Rim Village on the first weekend of summer and see freshly fallen snow on the steps to the bathroom or on tables and chairs outside the gift shop and cafe: