“A short yet fulfilling trail offering expansive views of Crater Lake and Wizard Island.”
— QuinTCM TCM
Lake · Views
Although the trail gains good elevation over a short distance, the views are great and kids will feel a sense of accomplishment from reaching the peak.
The trail is located along West Rim Dr., 3.7 miles north of Rim Village. A parking lot is located just north of the trail at a place called Watchman Overlook. It is also possible to reach the trail from the Rim Village by following a foot traffic-only trail that follows the rim of the crater. That trail is listed here as Pacific Crest Trail Alternate North.
From the parking lot at Watchman Overlook, head south a short distance to the obvious and wide trail listed here as Pacific Crest Trail Alternate North. Follow this trail for a short distance west as it slowly ascends. After about 0.3 miles, the trail to Watchman Peak diverges from Pacific Crest Trail Alternate North and turns slightly south while Pacific Crest Trail Alternate North will continue west.
Follow the trail to the peak as it begins ascending in earnest. Continue ascending through the switchbacks to where the trail ends at the peak. A fire lookout sits on top of The Watchman and serves as a museum, as well as a fire lookout. Check the park website for information regarding the operating schedule of the lookout.
The views at the top are expansive and offer a really good opportunity to see the lake as well as Wizard Island. This trail is popular, so expect crowds during peak travel seasons.