Crater Lake is known for its massive, stunningly clear lake located right in the crater of a volcano. But surrounding this beautiful area in southern Oregon are many wonderful tumbling waterfalls to seek out. After exploring the well-known landmark, here’s how to get out and find the best waterfalls near Crater Lake.
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: 130 ft
Passes: Crater Lake National Park Fee
This beautiful stroll is a great Crater Lake hike for everyone as the wide and well-maintained trail passed through beautiful forest and ends at a fall surrounded by grass and wildflowers.
Bird watching is especially popular and many benches are available to stop and rest if needed. The clear water that tumbles over the rock is from the popular Crater Lake nearby and a must-do.
Barr Creek Falls Viewpoint
Distance: 1.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 160 ft
Two waterfalls near Crater Lake reward adventurers of all skill and age and bring the dog as they are allowed on a leash. Located near Pearsony Falls State Park, the beautiful forest around the falls creates a peaceful environment to enjoy the tumbling water.
Many access points to the river make this spot a perfect place to spend a few hours having a snack and playing in the water on a warm day. In the fall, the leaves change a brilliant yellow for perfect photo opportunities.
National Creek Falls Trail
Distance: 0.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 150 ft
After spending the night at a nearby campground, this hike is perfect for the entire family as it is short and mostly flat with a big reward at the end. Wildflowers are in abundance in the spring and there is a good chance for a wildlife encounter.
This short hike is located on the west side of Crater Lake, just north of Union Creek.
Distance: 0.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 170 ft
This large waterfall, tumbling out of an old lava flow and into a deep pool below, is one of the most popular waterfalls in Oregon and well worth the easy hike.
Less than a mile and almost flat, this is a perfect spot to stop and stretch your legs before heading into Crater Lake National Park is approaching from the north.
Blue Grotto Trail
Distance: 2.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 250 ft
Open year-round, this beautiful hike follows the edge of a lake to the sight of a seasonal waterfall close to Crater Lake.
Visit during the winter or after heavy rainfall and a beautiful display of water tumbles over the cliffside. Along the way, keep a lookout for birds as this is a popular spot for bird watching.
Pearsony Falls Trail
Distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 200 ft
Located near the Mill and Barr Creek Falls Trailhead, this short hike leads to a fairly short waterfall close to Crater Lake, but it is still well worth the effort.
Camping is available in the area making this the perfect spot for a weekend camping trip.
The trail is well maintained and wide for an easy stroll to enjoy nature and the surrounding forest. Keep a lookout for birds as this is a popular spot for nesting.
Knob Falls Trail
Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
Of all of these waterfalls near Crater Lake, this waterfall hike is longer than some, but still great for kids and families as the trail is well maintained.
Follow the Rogue River up to the falls, with plenty of places to stop and take a dip in the cool water. The beautiful Siskiyou National Forest does not disappoint as this trail runs right through the beautiful forest where many different birds can be seen if you are patient enough.
Distance: 7.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 230 ft
Located near Prospect, this longer trail is popular with the locals as a running trail, so be careful when going around bends in the trail. Beautiful views of the river reward hikers the entire way up the trails to the falls at the end.
As it is sunk into a small gorge, the river is the perfect example of how water eats away rock and carves a path over time.
Rough Rider Falls Trail
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 740 ft
Big rewards await hikers at the end of this lightly used trail near Prospect. A few downed trees along the trail make for slow going in some spots, but it’s do-able.
The waterfall at the end of the hike through the beautiful forest is large and perfect for photos. Be sure to bring lots of bug spray as mosquitoes are in abundance near the end of the trail.
Boundary Springs Trail
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 475 ft
A wildfire swept through part of this trail in 2015 and evidence of the destruction is still seen, but the wildflowers that grow every year in its wake are breathtaking.
Though rated at moderate, this trail is somewhat easy except for the drop-down to the springs at the end. Located just north of Crater Lake, right off Hwy 230, and not crowded, this is a great waterfall hike near Crater Lake to see the beautiful scenery.
Stuart Falls Trail
Length: 11.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1440 ft
Passes: Crater Lake National Park Fee
Travel through the quiet meadows and forest of Crater Lake National Park on this quiet and peaceful hike, which is one of the best things to do in Crater Lake National Park.
The elevation gain is due to a ridge that must be passed over, also a perfect place to stop for a snack halfway through as the views are quite nice. The waterfall at the end is large and well worth the effort of making the journey.
Muir Creek Falls via Muir Camp
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 610 ft
This trail can actually be a bit challenging as it has not been worked on in some time, downed trees mean climbing, crouching, or finding a path around. However, because the trail is not used much, it is very quiet for those looking for more solitude in their wilderness adventure.
The views of the river along the way and the falls at the end, though, make the trip well worth the detour when seeking out the best waterfalls near Crater Lake.