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Road around Crater Lake opens

Staff reports

Crater Lake's Rim Drive opened today, and many of the national park's trails are open as well.

Below-average snowfall led to the road's earlier opening in comparison to recent years, park officials said in a press release this morning.

Beginning mid-April, road crews start clearing snow to open up approximately 15 miles of the western side of the Rim Drive to give tourists access to the park's north entrance by the middle of June. The entire road is usually cleared by early July.

The Rim Drive's 33 miles take visitors past 20 vista points where Crater Lake can be seen in full.

In addition, the park's Volcano Boat Cruises will open with seven tours every day starting Thursday. The tours take visitors from Cleetwood Cove to Wizard Island.

The Crater Lake Lodge is open seven days a week this summer, and the Steel Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Rim Visitor Center is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Watchman Trail, a trail on the western side of the rim that leads to Watchman Viewpoint, is still closed as snow persists on the path, park officials said. The trail generally opens in the middle of July. Visitors who hike this trail will experience a view of the entire lake from a precipice that acts as a tower on the edge of the caldera. Wizard Island, a mass of volcanic rock that formed shortly after the collapse of Mount Mazama, can also be seen from this point.