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