July and August are the most popular months for hiking in Crater Lake National Park. Colorful flowers and mild weather greet the summer throngs. One of the best places to view the mid-July flora is on the Castle Crest Wildflower Trail.
The trailhead to this 0.5-mile loop trail is 0.5 miles from the park headquarters. Stop there for directions to the trailhead as well as a self-guided trail booklet that tells you about the ponderosa pine, Shasta red fir, mountain hemlock, lodgepole pine, and rabbit brush along the trail. Wildlife in the area includes elk, deer, foxes, pikas, marmots, and a variety of birds. Peak wildflower season is usually around the last two weeks of July.
A suitable challenge of brawn and breath is the Garfield Peak Trail. The trailhead to this imposing ridge is just east of Crater Lake Lodge. It is a steep climb up the 1.7-mile trail, but the wildflower displays of phlox, Indian paintbrush, and lupine, as well as frequent sightings of eagles and hawks, give ample opportunity for you to stop and catch your breath. The highlight of the hike is atop Garfield Peak, which provides a spectacular view of Crater Lake 1,888 feet below.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel