How to get to Crater Lake without a car?
April 16, 2011 3:03 PM   Subscribe

How can I get to Crater Lake from Portland OR, without having to rent a car?

I'm traveling around the Pacific Northwest this summer, and would like to take Amtrak and buses as much as possible.

I know I can catch a train to Chemult or Klamath Falls, but not sure what the best way is to get to campsites inside the park. Any ideas?

One more caveat. Public transit is awesome, but I'm not so comfortable with hitchhiking.

posted by juliaem to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (7 answers total)
It's a pretty remote place, so not sure if there is a good way.

I don't know if you'd be comfortable with this, but you could try posting a ridesharing thing on a local Couchsurfing group. At least that way you get a chance to look at people's profiles and references beforehand.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:06 PM on April 16, 2011

Although when I was there, I do recall seeing tons of tour buses in the parking lot. So you might be able to join one of those in a nearby city, if you don't mind paying and being on their schedule (and hanging with lots of old folks).
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:07 PM on April 16, 2011

Best answer: Catch a trolley from Klamath Falls?

Doesn't sound cheap ($25/head), but sounds doable.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 4:03 PM on April 16, 2011

You'll need to go with a tour group. How about the Crater Lake Trolley?
posted by TheNewWazoo at 4:22 PM on April 16, 2011

Keep in mind that if there's a government shutdown, all national parks will be closed, including Crater Lake. Until that looks resolved one way or the other, write in pencil.
posted by curious nu at 4:37 PM on April 16, 2011

Best answer: Remember, Oregon is a big damn state. From K-Falls to the lake is about an hour's drive - if you want to camp inside the park, you'll need a car to do it on your own schedule. If all you want to do is see the lake, yeah, the trolley's the way to go, but if you want to get to a campsite at the lake you'll have to get yourself there by car.

Also, be aware - "summer" at Crater Lake is a very short window of time that starts late in the season. The weather's good typically starting in about May or so, but the snow doesn't completely clear (and the road around the lake isn't completely plowed) until late June or early July. This was a pretty snowy winter, too, so if you're going early summer as opposed to later, don't be surprised if you can't get around the lake or to some of the camp areas.
posted by pdb at 10:40 PM on April 16, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I may have to switch up my plans a little bit, but I'm glad to know what's out there.
posted by juliaem at 9:30 AM on April 17, 2011

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