Discover the Deepest Lake on the West Coast

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: July 27, 2023
© and videographer from Ukraine
Share this post on:


Crater Lake is the Deepest Lake on the West Coast
Crater Lake is also the deepest lake in the entire United States.

The West Coast of the United States has some of the most beautiful states in the country. These picturesque states are mountainous and have many clear rivers and lakes. One of the most impressive lakes is located on the West Coast. Did you know that the deepest lake on the West Coast, is also the deepest lake in the country? Follow along to discover the deepest lake on the West Coast and some fun facts about it.

What is the Deepest Lake on the West Coast?

The deepest lake on the West Coast is the deepest lake in the United States! Crater Lake is the deepest lake on the West Coast and is located in Klamath County, Oregon. This volcanic crater lake is one of a kind and has a maximum depth of 1,949 feet. The average depth of this stunning lake is 1,148 feet.

Crater Lake is 6 miles long and 5 miles wide, with a surface area of 20.6 square miles. Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed over 7,000 years ago, which formed the caldera. It’s been filling with rainfall and snowfall for thousands of years. This explains why this beautiful lake is so clean and clear.

Crater Lake National Park - Winter
The deepest lake on the West Coast is Crater Lake with a maximum depth of 1,949 feet.

©Matthew Connolly/

Is it OK to Swim in Crater Lake?

There are so many amazing things to do and see while visiting Crater Lake, swimming is one of them. However, there are restrictions. The only safe and legal way to access the swimming point is by taking the Cleetwood Cove Trail. You can only wear a basic bathing suit and clothing in the water. The water is very clean and clear and to stay that way, park rangers don’t allow the use of personal life jackets, wet suits, goggles, kayaks, and floating devices in the water.

Although swimming is allowed, it’s not always recommended. The water in this lake is always very cold since it’s filled with constant rain and snow. However, if you decide to take a dip, it’s best to do so from June through September.

Are there Fish in Crater Lake?

While there are fish species in Crater Lake, they aren’t native. Currently, you can find kokanee salmon and rainbow trout. These fish were introduced to the lake between 1888 and 1941. Other species were once stocked in the lake, but they didn’t survive. The lake is open for fishing and you don’t need a license to partake! When fishing, keep in mind that only non-organic baits are allowed. This is to prevent the introduction of non-native species.

Where is Crater Lake Located on a Map?

The deepest lake on the American West Coast is Crater Lake, situated in south-central Oregon. Oregon is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. The city of Klamath Falls is the closest city to Crater Lake and is near the year-round accessible southern entrance to the park. Klamath Falls lies approximately 17 miles north of the California-Oregon border.

Animals in Crater Lake National Park

There aren’t many animals that live within Crater Lake. However, hundreds of animal species live in the surrounding area. Crater Lake is within Crater Lake National Park. It’s the fifth oldest national park in the country and has a surface area of 183,224 acres. This national park sees over 700,000 annual visitors. Maybe you’ll be included in that number this year! You can walk the many trails and spot wildlife like the ones listed below.

Crater Lake National Park, National Park, Oregon - US State, USA, Wizard Island
Crater Lake National Park is the 5th oldest national park in the United States.



A lovely animal you can find near the deepest lake on the West Coast is the elk, also known as wapiti. Elk mainly live in forests and are best seen along the edges. They consume plants, grass, leaves, and bark. Interestingly, there are multiple elk subspecies depending on the region. For example, in North America, you can encounter tule elk, Roosevelt’s elk, eastern elk, Rocky Mountain elk, Manitoban elk, and Merriam’s elk. Most of the elk you may encounter in Crater Lake National Park are Roosevelt’s elk. In the state, there are about 59,000.

A large male elk, with a massive set of antlers atop his head.
In Oregon, there are about 59,000 Roosevelt elk.

© Clark

Mountain Lion

One of the largest mammals you can find in Crater Lake National Park is the mountain lion. These ferocious wild cats are found from Canada to the southern Andes in South America. They live in many different habitats but prefer rocky terrain with cover where they can stalk and hunt for prey.

Mountain lions are powerful animals. The size of these agile and fast mammals depends on the region. Some cougars only weigh 100 pounds, while others can surpass 250 pounds.

Mountain lion
Mountain lions vary in size depending on the region.

©Warren Metcalf/

Red-tailed Hawk

Not all animals found in Crater Lake National Park are fierce mammals. There are also a lot of birds, like the red-tailed hawk. These powerful birds are found throughout the Americas. Red-tailed hawks vary in plumage. Some are lighter or darker depending on the region. Their ‘red tails’ are sometimes brown or spotted.

Red-tailed hawks are a sight to see. They have unique vocalizations and are loud birds of prey. Red-tailed hawks have a 2 to 3-second call they release as they fly. They also screech when threatened. Fun fact about this hawk’s screech and call, it’s often used in depictions of bald eagles. However, bald eagles have a softer and high-pitched cry.

Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) sitting on a stick
The red-tailed hawk is behind many of the screeches you hear on screen when a bald eagle is displayed.


Rough-skinned Newt

The last animal on our list is the rough-skinned newt. This North American newt has rough light brown to red skin. However, the underside of its body is bright yellow. As adorable as this news is, don’t touch it! It produces a deadly neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin or TTX. Although the toxic doesn’t kill you with just a touch, you shouldn’t ingest it. Never put your hands in or near your mouth after hanging a rough-skinned newt. Symptoms occur within 15 minutes of ingesting the toxin and include face numbness, lip-tingling, vomiting, and in high amounts, paralysis.

Rough skinned newt
The rough-skinned newt is a highly toxic animal.

©Adventuring Dave/

Share this post on:
About the Author

I have been a professional content writer for 6 years now, with a large focus on nature, gardening, food, and animals. I graduated from college with an A.A, but I am still pursuing a Bachelors of Marketing degree. When I am not writing, you can find me in front of my TV with a blanket, snacks, and my fur babies.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.