The Insider's Guide to
Crater Lake's Backyard
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Be Prepared

Be Prepared!

A well-prepared boatsman

A well-prepared boatsman on Four Mile Lake

©Janet Tarjan Erl

The rugged combination of nature, weather, and remoteness account for part of Crater Lake’s Backyard’s magnetism, but they also can conspire to turn a fun outing into a survival challenge—if users are not prepared.

Regular users of our area’s natural resources recommend that everyone follow these guidelines:

  • Water, water, water – Take  it and drink it, lots of it.  This means everyone, including paddlers and fishermen.
  • Mosquito repellant – Find one that works and use it.
  • Safety in the sun – Our higher elevations and our lakes intensify and reflect sunshine, so wear sunglasses, a good hat, and sun screen.
  • Maps & GPS – Keep reference materials handy and stay oriented.  Respect private lands.
  • Dress in layers – A beautiful spring morning can become a wet, cold afternoon.
  • Communication – Cell phone reception is spotty around our mountains.  Tell someone where you’re going and your expected return time.
  • Common sense – Don’t leave food out and don’t lure wild animals and birds with goodies.
  • Be aware – Changing winds affect water conditions and safety; changing weather may require an alternate plan.


Wilderness and outback hikers, bikers, and horseback riders face additional challenges and should be equipped with the Ten Essentials:

  1. Navigation (map and compass)
  2. Fire (matches or lighters)
  3. Signaling Device (whistle or mirror–three blasts on a whistle repeated at intervals is a recognized distress signal)
  4. Sun Protection (sunglasses and sunblock)
  5. Insulation layers and rain shell (extra clothing)
  6. Nutrition (extra food) and hydration (extra water and/or the means to make more)
  7. Illumination (flashlight/headlamp)
  8. First Aid Kit, including necessary prescription medications
  9. Emergency Shelter (lawn-and-leaf-sized trash bag, space blanket, tarp, bivy sack, or tent)
  10. Knife
  11. Bonus: Repair Kit, including tools specific to your activity (boating, cycling, hiking, etc.)

Our area is so entrancing and captivating that explorers can lose track of time. Know what time the sun sets and plan any day-trip adventures to return before dark. If you don’t reach your destination by the half-way time, then simply shrug your shoulders and head back. There’s always another day!