Crater Lake National Park is in Southern Oregon. 8,000 years ago, Crater Lake was a very tall mountain. It was 1,000 feet taller than Mount Hood. Scientists gave it the name of Mount Mazama, but Native Americans called it Moyaina. This means “big mountain.”
How did a mountain become a lake? The mountain was a volcano. There was a big explosion, and the volcano erupted. The top of the mountain fell. It made a large hole. Later, the hole filled with water from rain and snow. The water is very clear, and the lake is very deep — 2,000 feet! It is the deepest lake in the United States.
Crater Lake is a very special place for Native Americans. They have many stories about the lake and the mountain. In one story, a spirit named Llao came from the Below-World to Mount Mazama before there was a lake. He saw Loha. She was the daughter of a chief of the Klamath people. Llao fell in love with Loha, but she didn’t like him. Llao became angry. He tried to burn the Klamath people by throwing fire from a hole in the mountain.
Several medicine men went to the mountain. They gave themselves to Llao. They wanted to make Llao happy again. But the spirit from the Above-World told them to stop. The spirit fought Llao. It pushed Llao back into a hole in the mountain.
Then blue water flowed out of the hole. It filled the top of the mountain. It made a beautiful lake, and this lake was very special for the Klamath people. It was a place where many Native Americans went to pray.
- “Cultural History.” Oe.oregonexplorer.info, oe.oregonexplorer.info/craterlake/history.html.
- Rosen, Julia. “The Creation of Crater Lake.” Travel Oregon, Travel Oregon, 26 Apr. 2018, traveloregon.com/things-to-do/destinations/lakes-reservoirs/creation-crater-lake/.
- Image: “Crater Lake” By Epmatsw [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.