This was the second time we stayed at the Lodge. We always enjoy going to Crater Lake and really the best way to enjoy it is by staying at the Lodge. There is nothing better than the views, the peace and quiet, the wonderment of nature and of course, the star gazing! We saw so many stars, satellites, shooting stars and constellations! The rooms were small but clean. The front staff was adequate. The dining was adequate. The wait staff was a little slow. You must have the stuffed french toast in the morning! Do I think it's overpriced? Yes, probably, but I would definitely stay again and again just for the pure enjoyment of nature. I remember visiting Crater Lake many times as a child and was always so disappointed in the empty, boarded up lodge, so it makes me very happy to see it open and thriving as it should be. You do need to book approximately a year in advance. I always book my room then plan the rest of my vacation around it. It's worth it!
Reserve now for next year
The faded exterior of the lodge belies the modernization of the interior (electricity, water, smoke alarms, etc.) as the purpose of the 1989 reconstruction was to preserve the style of the original lodge. Although much smaller than many properties in national parks (i.e. Yosemite Lodge at the Falls), Crater Lake Lodge caters to many day tourists and other tourists who like to hang outside on the patio overlooking the lake, thus giving the impression of a very busy place.
And it is busy--very busy for five months of the year. When we made our rservations for July 24-26 on March 22, we were given the very last room: #410, a premium queen lakeview room ($180+10% tax). In fact, the room was due to a cancellation the very morning we tried to make our reservation. Upon checking out, I asked the clerk at the desk when they accept reservations for summer of 2007. "Oh, sir. We started last January." So if you want to stay here, now's the time to act or at least think about it!
Our room was indeed "premium" with two alcoves overlooking the lake. My wife and I could each perch on the large cushions and watch the lake. Although outside noise often wafted through the windows, at night the place is very quiet. We looked into other rooms, even those overlooking the outside parking or footpath and found even the most basic room pleasant, with fans, CD/radios, and sitting area. But we came to explore the lake and listen to rangers/personnel tell stories about the development of the area/lodge, the collapsed volcano, biological forms in the lake. By the way, next year construction of a new village near the lodge will be completed with additional food services and gift shop.
Of course, one must mention the dining room. Although dinner reservations are usually taken the day room reservations are made, and for a specific time, there is often flexibility if you ask the host/hostess the day of your arrival. As previous reports have indicated, it is more about eating than dining. And sharing plates is often an economical way to stretch the dollars. Wine and beer are available as well as limited drinks from the bar. The only table you should really avoid is at the very back, to the immediate right of the service station, where your right arm will do battle with the servers trying to clean up and fetch water or coffee pots. Service is usually very pleasant but the hostess can be downright hostile, especially when one tries to steer away from the dreaded rear table.
Plan your trip as soon as you can for the greatest choices and call the Lodge Company directly. The operator is extremely helpful and patient and will describe each category of room carefully. Yes, the lodge is pricey but you will be part of the scene in a great national park.
Crater Lake Lodge Caveat
Our much-anticipated visit to Crater Lake was badly flawed by a cramped room with a rock-hard bed at Crater Lake Lodge.
Renovations to the lodge made for a charming Great Hall and, of course, the view of the lake was stunning. Food was gourmet quality (and gourmet priced), although a little personality at the hostess desk would have been appreciated. Servers were congenial and attentive.
Our room was another matter, entirely. Our Standard Lake View room, at $160.00 per night, was more like a $60.00 per night room in a budget priced motel. Both my husband and I (at 5'6") were forced to duck under the gables to approach the windows or walk around the bed. Even this would have been tolerable had the bed itself been comfortable. As it was we were forced to cut short our planned two-day stay at the lodge as neither my husband nor I could tolerate a second sleepless night.
Location, location, location
Crater Lake Lodge has been beautifully restored and has improved greatly from what we understand. While the guest rooms are not luxurious, ours was very comfortable with plenty of room for two. Of course, the view is what you are paying for, so take advantage of it and spend some time sitting in a rocker on the terrace overlooking the lake. The dining room was a bit expensive, but the food was very good.
If one is planning to visit Crater Lake, one must stay here for the full experience. The Lodge, although recently rebuilt, is 100% old-fashioned national park elegance. It is grand how it overlooks the lake. The rooms are nothing fancy, but are quite pleasant. We, unfortunately, did not get a room that overlooked the lake and if I went back I would book earlier and pay extra for the view.
When we were there the lodge village area was being rebuilt so there was no where else to eat but at the lodge. The dining room is great if you are into gourmet meals and high prices. However, we were a family of five (three teenagers) and found the dining room not to our liking and desired more down-to-earth food for dinner. Well, we had to go all the way down the mountain (about 45 minutes) to get to another place to eat. However, we did eat breakfast in the dining room and it was delicious, and more reasonable in price.
If you stay at the lodge I would recommend making a point of getting up early (around 5:30-6:00 AM in summer). The lodge is empty and quiet (there is complimenary coffee in the lobby) and one can sit quietly on the patio and enjoy the beauty of the lake in solitude.
A Wonderful Surprise!
I had never been to Crater Lake Lodge before this year, and what a place! A beautiful lodge on the edge of the crater - The great room had 2 fireplaces, waiter service, games, rocking chairs with view of lake, excellent restaurant, nice rooms - loved it! Highly recommend it!