If you are ever able to spend a night at Crater Lake in southern Oregon, do it. It’s a large, deep lake formed in the caldera of an exploded volcano. Waking up in the comfortable Crater Lake Lodge back in late June 2002 to go out in the snow and enjoy the sunrise is one of the most sublime memories I can remember. No wonder earlier inhabitants considered it sacred.
Yes, there is still deep snow there in late June; it’s a mountain-top in the Cascades chain, after all, you’re at 2,100 metres above sea level. It gets more snow than just about anywhere in the USA and it persists into July. You can’t see in this photo, but the water of Crater Lake is quite remarkable as a result. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake, so it takes 250 years for the water lost to evaporation to be replaced by snow-fall (and rainfall) alone.
The resulting purity of the water and the exceptional depth (its half a kilometre deep, ninth-deepest in the world) means you can see 20-30 metres down into it, and as a result on sunny days it looks the most incredible cobalt blue colour I have ever seen. It’s a small national park to go and be tranquil, rather than a high-activity destination, but it’s among my most memorable visits and I recommend it.