Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Garfield Peak Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

View to Wizard Island from Garfield Peak (bobcat)
Crater Lake Lodge from the Garfield Peak Trail (bobcat)
Granite prickly phlox (Linanthus pungens), Garfield Peak Trail (bobcat)
View to Union Peak and Mt. McLoughlin from Garfield Peak (bobcat)
Shasta knotweed (Polygonum shastense), Garfield Peak (bobcat)
The trail to Garfield Peak shown in red (bobcat) Courtesy: Google Maps
  • Start point: Rim Village Trailhead
  • Ending Point: Garfield Peak
  • Hike Type: In and out
  • Distance: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1115 feet
  • High Point: 8,054 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Seasons: Summer into Fall
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes


Hike Description

Even though this is a short hike, and it begins right at the popular Rim Village, it is one of those "don't miss" opportunities if you are visiting the national park, giving 'more bang for your buck' than many longer hikes in the area. You'll get a high up view of the entire rim of Crater Lake and Cascade peaks beyond. A variety of wildflowers are in bloom during the short growing season here, and pikas, yellow-bellied marmots, and deer are commonly seen on this trail. Try doing this hike on a clear day early in the morning, before the crowds begin to work their way up. During the summer, there are biweekly afternoon ranger-led hikes to the top of Garfield Peak. This is also a spectacular winter snowshoe in good weather.

You can begin or end your hike by visiting the small but classic stone-walled Visitor Center and then by taking a paved trail down to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook, which offers expansive views of Crater Lake and explains the geology of the lake and ancient Mount Mazama. Return to the Rim Trail and head east towards the Crater Lake Lodge, getting views of Crater Lake all the way. Walk along the walled path in front of the lodge and keep left at an intersection once you pass the Lodge's balcony. The trail drops to a saddle and then becomes a wide, unpaved route as it rises up Castle Crest, named for the various rugged crags along its profile. In summer, meadows here bloom with lupine, paintbrush, and arnica. In the fall, bloomers include cream bush, Shasta knotweed, snakeroot, and rabbitbrush.

The trail makes a couple of short switchbacks and then two more as it climbs the crumbling ridge of Castle Crest, here composed of volcanic breccia. Continue across an exposed face, making two more short switchbacks, and listen for pikas squeaking in the talus below. Switchback up and loop back in a meadow that blooms with seep-spring arnica in the summer. Keep heading up along the ridge crest, or just below it, as you reach a zone of scattered whitebark pines with a few subalpine firs. Through mid-summer, there will still be large patches of snow on the trail here. When the path ascends the ridge crest, you'll see various fantastic breccia formations on the steep slope leading down to the edge of the lake. Then, the path keeps to the south side of the crest before it switchbacks up and traverses to the summit area of Garfield Peak.

The views here extend in all directions. Below and to the east, Eagle Point and the Phantom Ship frame Chaski Bay below the precipitous, foreboding Dutton Cliff. Immediately to the east along the ridge, Dyar Rock and Applegate Peak form, with Garfield Peak itself, the Eagle Crags. Beyond them, is Mount Scott., the highest summit in the vicinity at 8,929 feet. Directly across the lake is Llao Rock, with The Watchman and Hillman Peak rising behind Wizard Island. Farther afield, you can see the wide expanse of Klamath Lake, with Union Peak and then Mount McLoughlin to its right. The snow-capped tip of Mount Shasta is on the southern horizon, while to the north, Mount Bailey's rounded profile and Mount Thielsen's pointed pinnacle are distinctive.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • $30 per vehicle entrance fee to Crater Lake National Park - good for 7 days - or America the Beautiful Pass
  • No pets


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • Oregon’s Best Wildflower Hikes: Southwest Region by Elizabeth L. Horn
  • Oregon: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Hiking Southern Oregon by Art Bernstein & Zach Urness
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Craig Hill & Matt Wastradowski
  • Beer Hiking: Pacific Northwest by Rachel Wood & Brandon Fralic
  • Pacific Northwest National Parks & Monuments: The Creaky Knees Guide by Seabury Blair, Jr.
  • Trails of Crater Lake National Park & Oregon Caves National Monument by William L. Sullivan
  • 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Day Hikes in the Pacific Northwest by Don J. Scarmuzzi
  • Hiking Oregon’s Southern Cascades and Siskiyous by Art Bernstein
  • 76 Day-Hikes Within 100 Miles of the Rogue Valley by Art Bernstein
  • Hiking Oregon by Donna Lynn Ikenberry
  • 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon by Douglas Lorain
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Hiking Central Oregon & Beyond by Virginia Meissner
  • 100 Oregon Hiking Trails by Don & Roberta Lowe
  • Oregon's Southern Cascades: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill

More Links

Page Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.