Ride the Rim – Crater Lake

For several years, I’ve been considering doing the bike ride around Lake Tahoe. Elevation gain is challenging for me, though, and I’ve only gotten to about 35 miles in one ride, so the idea of a smaller lake as I prepare was enticing. Last year at the Travel and Adventure Show in Santa Clara, I heard about “Ride the Rim,” an event held two Saturdays a year at Crater Lake in Oregon. This event is a supported event where the road is shut down to cars for the majority of the ride. Five stops offer riders water, snacks, light bike support and first aid. Generally held two consecutive Saturdays in September, it’s a very popular event for bikers, attracting about 3,500 bikers this year for just ONE of the days.


The campsite at Mazama Village. Photo credit: Lisette

I made reservations at Mazama Village Campground well in advance of the event, almost as soon as the dates were announced. This campground is about seven miles from the lake, and has full amenities: flush toilets, water, showers, camp store and a small restaurant. The sites are bigger than you expect when booking (it says 12X12 ft. but they’re much larger), and offer plenty of privacy with trees in each and every site. When you arrive you get to select from the available sites (you can’t book the individual sites, but you book in a blanket category).

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One of many photo opps on the ride. Photo credit: Lisette

I arrived on Friday before the event, and set up camp, preparing for an early start on Saturday – since I’d heard parking was tricky. Rather than parking at the start, I parked early at the Rim Village – so that I’d be near the restaurant and lake at the end of the ride. Side note: The Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room is often full, so advanced reservations are basically a must on weekends.


The north end of the lake. Photo credit: Lisette

I proceeded counter-clockwise around the lake, enjoying gorgeous views along the way and stopping to take a lot of pictures. It’s a total of 33 miles and approximately 3,585 feet in elevation gain. You can find a map of the route and stops here.  Most of the riders are very obliging and don’t mind snapping some shots for each other. I met one bold unicyclist who was attempting the loop with great agility. I definitely wasn’t aiming for speed on this ride, but rather, wanted to take it slow and really enjoy every moment of this event. Having the road to yourself as a cyclist is a rare treat, so doing this stunning ride with two-thirds of the route closed to vehicles was amazing.


Ride selfie! Photo credit: Lisette

Overall, I loved the event, and would definitely consider doing it again next year. I highly recommend training properly before you participate, get your camping reservation early, and be sure to pack lots of layers for the ride – it starts COLD and gets pretty warm by the end.


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