Grand Canyon National Park vs. Crater Lake National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Grand Canyon National Park and Crater Lake National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park Overview

Grand Canyon National Park, in northern Arizona, encompasses 278 miles (447 km) of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. Located on the ancestral homeland of 11 Associated Tribes, Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world—unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers visitors on the rim. South Rim and North Rim are open 24 hours. Daily updates >

Crater Lake National Park Overview

Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity—fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and one of the most pristine on Earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Trails

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the United States. With over 1,000 miles of trails, there is something for everyone. The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park. It is a relatively easy hike with gentle grades and well-maintained trail. However, it should not be taken lightly as the descent into the canyon can be challenging. The South Kaibab Trail is another popular option. It is shorter than the Bright Angel Trail but much steeper. Hikers should be aware of the dangers of hiking in the heat and be sure to carry plenty of water. The North Rim Trail is less crowded than the other trails but is more difficult due to its higher elevation. Finally, the Hermit Trail is considered to be one of the most difficult trails in Grand Canyon National Park. It is longer and steeper than the Bright Angel Trail and has very little shade. Hikers should only attempt this trail if they are experienced and in good physical condition.

Best Hikes At Grand Canyon National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Grand Canyon Rim Village to Hermit’s Rest 424.8912 1 out and back 4.5
Desert View Visitor Center Trail 10.9728 1 loop 4
Coconino Overlook 141.732 1 out and back 4
Uncle Jim Trail 222.8088 1 loop 4
Dripping Springs via Dripping Springs and Hermit Trail 796.7472 5 out and back 4.5
North Kaibab Trail to Redwall Bridge 801.9288 5 out and back 5
Tanner Trail 1611.7824 7 out and back 5
South Kaibab, Tonto and Bright Angel Trail 1034.796 7 point to point 5
South to North Kaibab Trail 1966.8744 5 point to point 5
Point Imperial 6.7056 1 out and back 4.5

Hiking Overview at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. If you’re looking for an easy hike, the Rim Village Trail is a great option. This paved trail winds its way around Crater Lake, offering stunning views of the lake and mountaintops. For a more challenging hike, try the hike to Wizard Island. This strenuous 8-mile round-trip hike takes you to the top of Wizard Island, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Crater Lake. No matter which trail you choose, Crater Lake National Park is sure to provide an unforgettable hiking experience.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Crater Lake National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Godfrey Glen Trail 19.812 1 loop 4
Crater Peak Trail 360.8832 3 out and back 4.5
Annie Creek Canyon Trail 92.964 3 loop 4
Castle Crest Wildflower Garden Trail 36.8808 1 loop 4
Dutton Creek Trail 317.9064 3 out and back 4
Lightning Spring Trail 395.9352 3 out and back 4
Pacific Crest Trail and Alternate Loop 1211.8848 5 loop 4.5
Lady of the Woods Trail 33.8328 1 loop 3
Stuart Falls Trail 438.912 3 out and back 4
Union Peak Trail 512.9784 3 out and back 4.5

Wildlife at Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is home to an incredible variety of plants and animals. Nearly 2,000 species of plants and more than 300 species of animals can be found within the park boundaries, making Grand Canyon one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. Amongst the towering cliffs and raging rivers, you can find elk and mule deer roaming the forested plateaus, bighorn sheep climbing the rocky mountainsides, and pronghorn antelope running across the open grasslands. In the skies above, you may spot bald eagles soaring on updrafts or golden eagles hunting hares from a vantage point. In the depths of the canyon, you might see black bears foraging in riparian areas or cougars stalking their prey. Grand Canyon National Park is truly a wildlife paradise!

Wildlife at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. You can find everything from eagles and ospreys to elk and deer. The park also contains a number of sensitive plant species, including the western white pine and the Crater Lake lily. In addition, Crater Lake is an important stopover point for migrating birds. Every year, hundreds of thousands of birds use the lake as a resting place during their journey north. As a result, Crater Lake is teeming with life, and there is always something new to see.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Grand Canyon National Park Weather Considerations

Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. And it’s no wonder, with its stunning views and rich history. But when is the best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the wildflowers that blanket the canyon floor each spring, then March or April is the best time to go. However, if you’re not a fan of crowds, you may want to avoid peak season (July and August), when the park is busiest. December through February is considered the off-season at Grand Canyon National Park, so you may find lower prices and fewer crowds during these months. But keep in mind that the weather can be cold and snowy at this time of year. So, when it comes to Grand Canyon National Park weather, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation.

Crater Lake National Park Weather Considerations

Crater Lake National Park is a beautiful place to visit all year round. However, the weather can vary greatly depending on the time of year. The best time to visit Crater Lake National Park is from June to September. During these months, the weather is warm and sunny, making it perfect for hiking, swimming, and enjoying the views. However, Crater Lake National Park can also be crowded during this time of year. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, late September to early October is a great time to visit Crater Lake National Park. The weather is still pleasant, but the crowds have typically dispersed by this point. The worst time to visit Crater Lake National Park is from November to May. During these months, the weather is cold and often snowy, making it difficult to enjoy the park’s many activities. If you do decide to visit Crater Lake National Park during these months, be sure to dress warmly and bring plenty of supplies.