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Cleetwood Cove Trail opens at Crater Lake

The National Park Service has given a tentative go-ahead to a major rehabilitation of the Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only trail that accesses the lake, along with improvements to the boat dock area at Crater Lake. [Mail Tribune/file photo]
Boats float on Crater Lake at the dock area accessed by the Cleetwood Cove Trail. AP PHOTO.
The steep trail is the only one that leads down to the water

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK — The Cleetwood Cove Trail, which provides the only access to Crater Lake, opened Friday, just in time for the 4th of July weekend

The most popular and heavily used trail at Crater Lake National Park, the steep trail begins from the Cleetwood Cove parking area along Rim Drive and drops 700 feet in 1.1 miles.

Because of its steepness and elevation — nearly 7,000 feet above sea level — some hikers can experience exhaustion or other problems, especially returning from the lake to the Rim Drive parking area. The trail is hot and only partially shaded, so people are advised to bring and drink plenty of water, along with energizing snacks, sun protection and sturdy footwear.

There are no restrooms on the trail or along the lakeshore. Restrooms are located in the trailhead parking area.

Ranger-guided concession lake boat tours, which generally operate from the boat docks at the end of the trail, are not being offered this summer.

To protect Crater Lake’s internationally known clarity and decrease the possibility of introducing invasive species, only bathing suits and basic clothing may be worn in the water. All other items, including personal life jackets, snorkeling gear, wetsuits, kayaks and paddleboards are prohibited.

For more information about the Cleetwood Cove Trail, visit www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/cleetwood-cove.htm.

Visitors are reminded that long lines are possible at both the North and South (Annie Creek) entrance stations. To avoid lines, which can often require waiting an hour or longer to enter the park, visitors are urged to arrive early, before 9 a.m.

Parking is limited in Rim Village, where guest services include the Crater Lake Lodge, which is open only to registered guests, the Rim Village Cafeteria-Gift Shop, and the Crater Lake Natural History Association sales office.

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