I stopped at the Steel Visitors Centre which is before you get to the rim coming in from the south. There are limited exhibits here but I watched two films - one on snowploughing and the second on the history of the park. The snowploughing one is still quite relevant even at the beginning of July, as it takes four months to snowplough and clear all the roads in the park, so even now part of the rim drive is still closed, and there is plenty of snow in places.
The other film told the history, Crater Lake was formed by the eruption of a volcano, Mount Mazama which is part of the Cascade range including Mt Saint Helens, Mount Shasta, Mt Rainier. But the eruption here caused a collapse of the mountain to form a caldera, or crater. This crater filled up with snow melt and precipation to form a lake- but there are no streams that run in and because of the high rim nothing can flow out, so that the lake maintains its level by precipation and evaporation. Its the deepest lake in the USA.
There are stories from the local Indian tribes about the eruption, and it was a place of spiritual importance. Several groups of miners rediscoverd it in the 19th century. It became a national park through the persistance of William Gladstone Steeel in 1902.
I drove up to rim village and my first view of the lake - the first view was a little disappointing - but it did get better. I walked around as far as the Lodge.There is also a Visitors Centre here, and an exhibition that is down steps below the rim. I went to the Rim Village cafe - it wasn't exciting so I decided just some coffee as I had supplies in the car, but it must have been one of the worst cups of coffee I've ever had.
I drove back down to Mazama Village and check-in. I headed back up, and drove around the rim drive, well as far as Cloudcap, as the road was still closed here due to snow. There are lots of plenty of stopping points to lookout over the lake and enjoy the amazing views. There was still snow so it made it look really stunning and slightly magical. I drove back to Rim Village and found a quiet spot to watch the sunset - two deer got within 3 feet which was nice. The lake was lovely to watch in the changing evening light - but the cold and insects were bothering me, so I gave up on the sunset and retreated back to the car.
I did however enjoy sunrise the next morning from Rim Village which was actully better given the direction. I had an early morning hike down the Cleetwood Trail before anyone else.
Though I enjoyed my time at Crater Lake, I think I would spend a few days later in the summer and to be able to enjoy a few more hikes without all the snow, and to do the whole rim drive. I glad I only allowed for a short visit at this time of year as the snow reduced the options of what to do. But I would go back. The vies were incredible. While there were plenty of people at Rim Village, it was easy to get away from the crowds here, and enjoy the peace and silence that is reflected in the still blue waters of the lake.