Sinnott Observation Station: Crater Lake

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

Milennia ago,  volcanic Mount Mazama collapsed, forming Crater Lake in its caldera. From its perch 900 feet above the crystal blue waters, The Sinnott Memorial Observation Station stands watch. The park named it for Nicholas J. Sinnott who served Oregon as a US Congressman in the early 1900s.

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With some time to kill before boarding our trolley for the Rim Tour, we explored the other buildings in the village, taking the stairs behind the Visitors Center down to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook.

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The Sinnott Memorial Observation Station is built into an outcropping on the cliff face of the caldera wall. The National Park Service built it in 1931 and it was the first NPS building constructed as a museum. Its stone masonry design set the architectural standard for future buildings at Crater Lake National Park.

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The viewing area has an open-air balcony with a spectacular view of the lake, and you are 50 feet below the rim, so the view is a little different than what you can see on the balcony of the lodge.  The museum exhibits, which highlight the history of Mount Mazama and the formation of Crater Lake, are located in the center of the observation room and around the walls.

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Back in the village, at the conclusion of our trolley tour. We stopped in the Community Center building for some Ranger-led crafts and free cookies in celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.


Location: Crater Lake, Oregon
Designation: National Park
Date designated/established: May 22, 1902
Date of my visit: August 25, 2016

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