Crater Lake – Ride the Rim

Crater Lake Ride the Rim Route MapCrater Lake National Park is the only national park in the state of Oregon and offers a unique destination for hiking, cycling, and (in winter) cross country skiing. The park is justifiably popular, which makes bicycling the rim of the crater pretty intimidating because cyclists must usually share the narrow no-shoulder road with two-way traffic and RVs.

Thankfully, for two Saturdays each September the park closes the majority of the road to all vehicle traffic and creates paradise on two wheels. This event is known as Ride the Rim, and the best part? It’s free.

Ride the Rim 2017 will occur on two dates:

  • Saturday September 9th
  • Saturday September 16th

Registration is free for the first 6,000 attendees, but a National Park entrance fee is still required.


The event is so well-organized, the only planning you really need to do is finding a great place to stay. My favorite options are camping or renting a whole house.


  • Mazama Campground is inside the Park, has hot showers, and only 7 miles from the ride. This campground is popular, so if you haven’t booked months ahead of time, you’re probably out of luck.
  • Diamond Lake Campground is just outside the Park, and has 11 miles of paved bike paths. Reservations are not accepted during September, but in the past there has always been tons of available spaces to camp during Ride the Rim. First come first served, though!


The Ride

The ride is not for the faint of heart. It includes 25 miles of car-free roads and a total of 3,500 ft of elevation gain! When you finish you can either:

  1. Take the free shuttle back to the start where you left your car. (Shuttle info.)
  2. Ride 25 miles back the way you came. (More fun than it sounds.)
  3. Complete the rim loop by riding an additional 8 miles. Keep in mind that you’ll be sharing this section of road with cars. If it’s important for you to ride the full loop, it’s probably best to do this part first thing in the morning when your legs are fresh and cars are less frequent.


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