Golden Gate Photo - Crater Lake Gallery
Fine Art Photography from Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.


Crater Lake began about 500,000 years ago as Mount Mazama, a progressively building volcanic cone along the Cascade Range. Mount Mazama eventually attained an elevation of 12,000 feet (3,650 meters). About 7,700 years ago, cataclysmic eruptions, 42 times greater than those of Mount St. Helens in 1980, spewed volcanic ash over 5,000 square miles. The eruptions covered parts of 8 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces with 6 inches of ash. Some local areas were buried in over 50 feet of ash. After the volcano's magma chamber had emptied, the top of the mountain collapsed in on itself, resulting in a caldera. The caldera rim elevation currently stands at about 8,000 feet (2,450 meters), 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) off the original height of Mount Mazama. Up until about 4,000 years ago, volcanic activity within the caldera prevented the formation of a lake and built the cinder cones Wizard Island and the submerged Merriam Cone. Over the last 4,000 years, the volcano has been quiet, and the lake began to fill the caldera. Crater Lake is now the deepest lake in the United States with a maximum depth of 1,932 feet (589 meters) and an average depth of 1,500 feet (457 meters). Crater Lake was established as a National Park in 1902.

Discovery Point View

Discovery Point View

Looking across the southern rim from Discovery Point shows the steep inner slopes of the caldera. There is only one trail leading from the rim to the lake, located on the north side of the caldera. On average, Crater Lake receives 44 feet (13.4 meters) of snowfall. The winter of 1998-1999 was an above-average year for snowfall. When this photo was taken in July 1999, there was still over 10 feet of snow along the rim of the caldera and the road to the east side of the rim was still closed.

Print No. A99NW-21-2

Whitebark Pine and Wizard Island

Whitebark Pine and Wizard Island

This remnant of a Whitebark Pine is unfortunately typical in the area. Its downfall was largely the result of exotic Asian blister rust. The blister rust, along with the mountain pine beetle, are diseases that are seriously threatening forests across the western US. For more information and research on these pines, visit the Crater Lake Institute and Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation.

Print No. A99NW-20-11

Pumice Point View

Pumice Point View

The lake is surrounded by a lush pine-fir forest. Studies of pollen in the lake indicate that the forest began to form 400 years after the eruption and collapse of the caldera, but soon disappeared for 1,000 years, only to return to stay these last 6,000 years. Changing local climate is the likely cause, with a drier, warmer period forcing the forest to temporarily recede. This locality is named for the volcanic deposit pumice.

Print No. A99NW-20-12

Discovery Point View

Discovery Point View

Looking across the southern rim from Discovery Point shows the steep inner slopes of the caldera. There is only one trail leading from the rim to the lake, located on the north side of the caldera.

Print No. A99NW-21-2


More Volcanoes along the Pacific Ring of Fire:
Cascade Volcanoes of Oregon
Cascade Volcanoes of Washington
Mount Rainier
Mount St. Helens
Cascade Volcanoes of California
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