Crater Lake National Park, located in southern Oregon, is known for its stunning blue waters and awe-inspiring caldera.
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the lake is by visiting the Cloudcap Overlook. The reason this spot is so great is that it has the highest road-accessible overlook in the park. Cloudcap Overlook provides a Western view across the Crater Lake.
Cloudcap Overlook Location
Physical Address: Rim Drive, Crater Lake, OR 97604
GPS Coordinates: 42.934885, -122.048345
The Cloudcap Overlook is located on the rim of the caldera and offers breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. To get to the overlook, take Oregon Route 62 to either the park’s north or south entrance. From there, follow the Rim Drive to the overlook, which is on the eastern side of the lake. The drive takes about 40 minutes from the park’s south entrance and visitor center. There is a parking area at the overlook, but it can fill up quickly during peak season, so be sure to arrive early.
It should be noted that you can only get to the Coudcap Overlook when the Rim Drive is open. While Crater Lake National Park is open year-round, the Rim Drive is not. The park’s northern entrance and Rim Drive close during winter – usually between early November until the beginning of June.
What To Do at Cloudcap Overlook
At the Cloudcap Overlook, visitors can expect to see stunning panoramic western views of Crater Lake, including Wizard Island and the Phantom Ship. Mount Scott – Crater Lake National Park’s highest point – towers behind you. On a clear day, the water appears an incredible deep blue color that is truly breathtaking. This is because Crater Lake is extremely deep, and in fact it is the deepest lake in the US. There are also a few trailheads near the overlook, the closest being the Mount Scott Trail.
The Mount Scott Trail is a 4.2-mile out-and-back trail that starts opposite the Cloudcap Overlook entrance. It is an easy-to-moderately challenging route, and it takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to complete. The steady climb up towards Mt Scott offers 360-degree views of the mountainside and lake below.
Weather at Crater National Park
Crater Lake National Park has a high-elevation, mountainous climate. The park is open year-round, but the weather can vary greatly depending on the season.
As mentioned above, the park’s famed Rim Drive shuts down from November through May, usually reopening around Memorial Day. The date varies, and greatly depends on the amount of spring snow they got. The park receives an average of over 500 inches of snow each winter. When I visited in 2022, it didn’t open until after the first week of June… and we got there June 2nd. It was a bummer, to say the least.
The reason I mention this is because there is no way to access the Cloudcap Overlook when the Rim Drive is closed off. It is a 40-minute drive from the southern Visitors Center, so a hike to it is out of the realm of possibilities for most as well.
In the summer months, typically June through August, the weather is generally mild with daytime temperatures ranging from the low 60s to the low 80s Fahrenheit. Nights can be cool, with temperatures dipping into the 40s.
Fall, September through November, can be a great time to visit the park as the weather is still relatively mild and the fall foliage is beautiful. However, as the season progresses, temperatures can drop and snowfall can occur.
Spring, March through May, can be a challenging time to visit the park as the snow melts and the roads can be muddy. Some roads and park facilities may still be closed due to snow. However, as the season progresses, the weather starts to improve and the wildflowers start to bloom.