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Backpacker's Delight - Oregon
If every there was a beautiful state, it is Oregon. Hitting the trails in Oregon is a great way to get out and experience the beauty of this green, rainy state.

Oregon offers hikers some of the most challenging and beautiful trips in the Pacific Northwest. With many different trails and terrains to choose from, Oregon holds wonders to explore in the forms of mountains, forests and sand dunes. A portion of the Pacific Crest National Trail (this trail covers a total of 2,655 miles!) runs right through the middle of Oregon and covers the Rogue River National Forest, Crater Lake National Park, and Mount Hood National Park, all of which have their own spectacular trails and formations.

Crater Lake National Park plays host to over 500,000 visitors annually, many of whom come to marvel at the beauty of the blue waters of the lake. Known as "the Gem of the Cascades", Crater Lake was originally created when a volcanic eruption occurred 7,700 years ago. Mount Mazama erupted and then caved in, creating the crater which gives Crater Lake its name. Many visitors only take the time to see the lake from their cars on Rim Drive, but this National Park offers those who are backpacking in Oregon much more than just a pretty view. If you are trekking in Oregon, this is not a spot to be missed. We give it a huge thumbs up. If possible, try to see the lake on a clear night.

Rim Drive is a 33 mile road that encircles Crater Lake. It offers access to many trails and 20 scenic outlook points along the way. Rim Drive is only open in the summer (closed during the rest of the year due to snow and ice buildup) and can lead you to trails such as those going up to Mount Scott and Crater Peak. The Cleetwood Cove Trail is also located off of Rim Drive, and this trail offers hikers the only direct access to Crater Lake.

The five mile round trip hike up Mount Scott, which has an elevation of 8,929 feet, can show you some of the best views in the area. This hike can be one of the most strenuous you'll find in Oregon, but you will be rewarded by the relative solitude and the view once you reach the summit. The view of Crater Lake is especially nice in the early morning, so getting up at dawn to hike this trail may be worth it!

Hiking the trails and roads of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon can offer all backpackers an excellent trip – just be sure to obey the rules of the National Park system. Biking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing are all allowed in this park, but be careful not to disturb the wildlife or foliage – protected national parks have a finely balanced ecosystem and must be taken care of in order to thrive. There are many places to go trekking in Oregon, but this is definitely a good place to start.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals to preserve your travel experiences.
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