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Roads closed at Crater Lake, entrance fees reduced for winter

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK — People wanting to drive around Crater Lake will have to wait until next year.

Crater Lake National Park officials closed Rim Drive and the North Entrance Road Friday in preparation for winter. Park spokeswoman Marsha McCabe said the roads, which have elevations from 5,850 to 7,960 feet above sea level, receive an average of more than 40 feet of snow each year.

Neither Rim Drive nor the North Entrance Road are plowed from fall to late spring because of deep drifts, avalanche risk and other dangerous conditions.

The North Entrance Road and Rim Drive will reopen in late spring or early summer of 2019. Exact dates for road openings depend on snow depths each year. During a typical year, the North Entrance Road opens around Memorial Day, while the complete 33-mile Rim Drive usually doesn’t open until late June or July.

Effective Friday, the park began charging its reduced winter entrance fee — $15 per car or motorcycle, and $10 per person. The fees are good for 7 days, and are collected at the Annie Creek Entrance Station or the backcountry office at park headquarters in Munson Valley. Also available is an annual park pass for $50 — the cost will increase to $55 beginning Jan. 1. The pass is honored at both Crater Lake and Lava Beds National Monument. Passes for Lava Beds are also accepted at Crater Lake. An America the Beautiful Pass, good for entrance to all national parks for one year from time of purchase, is available for $80. Passes can be purchased online prior at www.recreation.gov/.

McCabe notes Crater Lake National Park is open 365 days a year. Highway 62 and the Munson Valley Road, which leads to Rim Village and lake viewing access, are plowed throughout the winter. During heavy snowstorms the road from park headquarters to Rim Village is sometimes closed to allow plow operators to focus their efforts on the remaining roads.

McCabe suggests that people planning to visit the park in fall, winter and spring be prepared for winter road conditions by carrying chains and knowing how to use them. Visitors can check current visibility and road conditions on the park’s webcams at www.nps.gov/crla/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.

Visitors are also reminded that gasoline is not available from mid-October until late May.

The Rim Cafe and Gift Shop in Rim Village will transition to winter hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, beginning Monday. The facilities are open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Snowshoes are available to rent during the winter months.

The Steel Visitor Center at park headquarters will switch to its winter hours, also 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, beginning Monday. The visitor center is open year-round except for Christmas.

Winter recreational opportunities at Crater Lake National Park include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ranger-led snowshoe walks, which will begin in December provided there is enough snow. Reservations can be made by calling the Steel Information Center at 541-594-3100. The walks are free, and snowshoes are provided, but space is limited.

For more information about winter conditions, services and programs in Crater Lake National Park, see www.nps.gov/crla.

Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net or 541-880-4139.