3 Days Bend to Crater Lake Road Trip

bend to crater lake

Oregon, which is on the West Coast of the United States, is regarded as one of the nation’s states with the most stunning natural scenery. The Beaver State has many picturesque landscapes, but waterfalls, mountains, lakes, and rivers are just the beginning. And one of the most picturesque drives of all is from Bend to Crater Lake National Park.

From Bend to Crater Lake, here is a 3-day driving itinerary.

Bend, Oregon

The lovely town of Bend, where we are departing from, must be discussed first and foremost. One of the most picturesque places in the United States is Bend., nature-wise. This small community is surrounded by majestic mountains, gushing waterfalls, thriving evergreens, and much more. Additionally, you can spend some time taking in all of Bend’s natural beauty before starting your road trip.

Adventurers will enjoy climbing a volcano at Newberry National Volcanic Monument and spelunking in the Lava River Cave. Smith Rock State Park is a great destination for rock climbers. Additionally, the trail leading to Tumalo Falls is a must-see for hikers.

Mount Bachelor

The Cascades Lake National Scenic Byway will be your first stop after leaving Bend. You’ll then see Mount Bachelor not too long after that.

Since Mount Bachelor is Oregon’s largest ski area, winter is actually its peak season. You’re sure to find a slope that suits you with 3,700 acres of skiable land. Even if you don’t enjoy skiing, Mount Bachelor offers a variety of other winter sports, including dog sledding, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

Surprisingly, Mount Bachelor can experience snowy weather right up until June. There are numerous reasons to visit this imposing mountain even after the snow has melted. Why not try out some exciting white water rafting while you’re there, go for a scenic chairlift ride, or explore one of the stunning hiking trails?

*Note: Due to hazardous driving conditions caused by snow or ice, parts of the Cascades Lake National Scenic Byway frequently close. Be prepared to slightly alter your route if you decide to take your Bend to Crater Lake National Park road trip during the winter.

The Land of Lakes

While “The Land of Lakes” isn’t an official term for any part of the You’ll understand what we’re talking about if you’ve driven the Cascades Lake National Scenic Byway.

You will pass a string of glistening lakes about halfway through your drive. On this byway, there are at least a dozen of them, and each one has something exceptional to offer. We’ll just share a few of our favorite places because it’s unlikely that you’ll have the time or energy to visit them all.

bend to crater lake

First off, there’s Devil’s Lake. Despite its ominous moniker, this lake is one of the most beautiful ones along this scenic byway thanks to its emerald green hue. While it’s great for a picturesque paddleboarding or kayaking adventure, many visitors just opt to have a picture-perfect picnic at this Oregon lake instead.

Then, there’s Elk Lake, which is arguably the most popular lake on the route – and for good reason. This particular body of water is renowned for its breathtaking views of the stunning lake and the nearby mountains. You can see the Three Sisters mountain range as well as the adored Mount Bachelor from this location.

Cultus Lake is somehow picture-perfect and underrated at the same time. It resembles an artist’s palette that comes to life with its brilliant blue waters, spotless white sand, and vibrant green trees.

Last but certainly not least, we want to mention Wickiup Reservoir. If you want to spend some time on the water, this reservoir is a great place to stop. There’s just so much to discover at Cascades Lake, the largest body of water on the Cascades Lake National Park Scenic Byway. You can boat, fish, windsurf, and do other water sports here to your heart’s content.

After you’ve had your fill of Oregon’s stunning lakes, you can continue your drive from Bend to Crater Lake National Park. You won’t have to travel very far to get to your next stop, which is a blessing.

Crater Lake National Park

Finally, you’ll reach Crater Lake National Park, your ultimate destination. There are numerous ways to enjoy this one and only national park in Oregon. It is an especially beautiful location.

This national park’s crown jewel, the brilliant blue Crater Lake, is tucked away in the Cascade Mountains. Despite your temptation, swimming is not advised because the water is surprisingly chilly all year long.

Instead, the majority of visitors favor taking in Crater Lake’s scenery from a distance. Take on the 2.6-kilometer Watchman Peak Trail, the 5.5-kilometer Garfield Peak Trail, or the 8-kilometer Mount Scott Trail to get breathtaking views of this sparkling body of water.

A trip on a boat on Crater Lake is an additional choice. You must hike the arduous 3.5-kilometer Cleetwood Cove Trail to get there, so be aware of that before you set out. If you’re up for the challenge, you can hike your way down and board one of the breathtaking boat tours offered by Crater Lake National Park.

There are several boat tour options available from the end of the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which, incidentally, is the only trail in Crater Lake National Park that leads to the water. Sailing around the lake’s edge is an option, as is taking a boat to Wizard Island, a tiny volcano island in the middle. You really can’t choose a bad boat tour at this national park in Oregon because both options are fantastic.

Flying Non-stop from Bend to Crater Lake National Park

Assume for a moment that you have a private jet and can travel between Bend, Oregon, and Crater Lake National Park in the shortest amount of time by flying in a straight line. Because of the curvature of the Earth, the shortest distance is actually the “great circle” distance, or “as the crow flies” which is calculated using an iterative Vincenty formula.

  • Flight distance: 93 miles or 149 km

Driving is roughly 1.2 times as far as flying in a straight line because flying is 18 miles shorter than driving on roads.

Since a plane travels much more quickly than a car, the flight time is only a fraction of the time it would take to drive.

Despite the fact that this private flight is only a short distance away, you might be considering making a reservation for a commercial flight. In that case, your travel time would actually need to take into account how long it would take you to get to your local airport, wait for security, board and taxi on the runway, take off from the other airport, and arrive at your destination.

Conclusion: Bend to Crater Lake

Now, now that you know how to get from Bend to Crater Lake, you can begin your family and friends’ road trip! And there you have it! The Bend to Crater Lake Drive offers four unforgettable stops! As always, feel free to ask any questions in the comments.

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