Good Job Oregon: Crater Lake Doing Car-Free Days for Second Year in a Row

What’s the best way to experience a National Park? Not in a car.

While many National Parks are often only accessible by four wheels, once you get there, the point isn’t to stay in them, which make programs that advocate for two-wheeled and pedestrian traffic all the more important. Crater Lake National Park in Oregon knows all about that, going into its second year of offering a few special car-free days so that people can enjoy the scenic route around the lake without the hassle of automobiles. The park just hosted a car-free weekend on its East Rim Drive over the summer solstice weekend. Now that’s a way to celebrate the change of seasons.

“Last year, Crater Lake National Park and Travel Oregon collaborated to open Crater Lakeĺs East Rim Drive to non-motorized traffic for the inaugural year,” Crater Lake National Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman announced in a press release. “After an outpouring of positive feedback from the many people who participated in this rare opportunity, we decided to make it an annual occurrence, but to split it up into three separate weekends to accommodate as many people as possible.”

The East Rim Drive provides an opportunity for numerous vantage points of the deepest lake in the United States, and on a route that’s usually populated by cars, the chance for a car-free weekend is a dream for cyclists; it’sáno surprise that park officials decided it was good enough of an idea to continue doing regularly.

Beyond the weekend in June, there are more car-free days scheduled for this year: Saturday September 20th and Saturday September 27th. The plan is keep the third and fourth Saturday in September reserved from here on out for these special car-free days, giving the chance for walkers, hikers, runners, cyclists and any other form of non-motorized traffic to take advantage of the scenic views of the lake without cars.

How do you take advantage? The vehicle-free section in September will begin at North Junction Headquarters to the Steel Visitor Center. Visitors can park at either end of the section.

And if you’re not in Oregon, why not see if your own local national park would be interested in doing something similar? Exploring the outdoors on two wheels instead of four is always a good idea.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Amadeus

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Diane L.
Diane L.about a year ago

Kamia, good point, but if that had been the case when I visited, I wouldn't have visited, period because we stopped on our drive back home from Reno and went out of our way after clearing the California/Oregon border at K. Falls to visit the park. We were on a time limit to get home, so we couldn't have stayed somewhere for an extra night. We had called ahead to Bend to make sure we had a motel room by the time we got there, so it would have been very problematic if we had not made that as well.

Diane L.
Diane L.about a year ago

I'm glad that I read this twice and didn't take the "title" as it implies! I've visited Crater Lake, and if it wasn't accessible by car, I wouldn't have gotten there, nor am I able to ride a bicycle around the lake, but they do have trails for visitors to walk down to almost the edge and great vantage points with telescopes. It's a magnificent place, that's for sure! The day I was there, there was an active forest fire on the slope of the mountain on one side, and visitors had to drive around thru a much longer route than normal. It was a bit "scarey" to think we might get "stuck" inside a fire zone, but it wasn't large and was under control shortly, but a lot of thick smoke if you were on the "wrong" side of the wind!

Winn Adams
Winn Adamsabout a year ago


Tammy D.
Tammy D.about a year ago

Wonderful! I hope they just keep increasing the number of days. Places like this could institute a shuttle bus that would pick up from a parking lot at the entrance, or elsewhere. Most of these places charge for parking, so why not just pay for a shuttle? It could be electric or whatever, and that would make it car free all the time. Yay!

And, by the by, if you haven't been to crater lake, go! It's awesome!

Vivianne Mosca-Clark
Vivianne Mosca-Clarkabout a year ago

Sounds good to me.

Kamia T.
Kamia T.about a year ago

Good grief - it's only a few days a year, not like 24-7, and every national park has a website where you can look and find any special days or programs they're hosting, As a nation, we need to fall out of love with our automobiles, because whether we like it or not, the day is coming when we either won't be able to afford the gas, or there won't be enough fuel left.

Janet B.
Janet B.about a year ago


Alvin King
Alvin Kingabout a year ago


John chapman
John chapmanabout a year ago

I'm all for bikes, & other alternate means of transportation.

But what's this going to do for famalies that have traveled long distances to enjoy our Parks.

Only to arrive & discover that they've been unlucky enough to have arrived on a car free day?

Janis K.
Janis K.about a year ago

Thanks for sharing.