Top 10 Absolute Must-Do Things After Visiting Crater Lake
Crater Lake National Park is the deepest lake in North America, and one of the deepest in the world. The lake itself is awe inspiring with its brilliant sapphire blue waters, but the adventures to be had in this region of southern Oregon are unparalleled. Here are the top ten must do adventures after visiting Crater Lake National Park.
More National Parks
No trip to Crater Lake or Klamath County is truly complete without also taking a trip to Lava Beds National Monument – just across the Oregon-California border. Hard-core spelunkers, families, and people wanting to experience the underground world for the first time can find it all at Lava Beds National Monument, which has more than 700 caves to explore, hiking trails, campgrounds, petroglyphs, Native American history and more.
Would you like to see a Guinness Book of World Records? Only 20 miles south of Crater Lake sits Train Mountain and Klamath and Western Railroad which was recognized in the 2004 Guinness Book of World Records as the longest miniature hobby railroad with 35 miles of 7 ½ inch gauge track. On Saturdays during summer months Memorial Weekend through Labor Day Weekend Klamath and Western Railroad offers free miniature train rides to the public. Great fun for kids of all ages and those young at heart.
With the Cascade Mountain Range to the west and high desert landscape to the east the region just south of Crater Lake has some of the best cycling variety on the west coast. Mountain bike at newly developed Spence Mountain or Moore Mountain Trail Systems, peddle along some incredibly scenic, low traffic country roads, or do a bit of both by trying out the 109-mile-long OC&E Trail, the longest state park in Oregon! Built on an old railroad bed, the first 17 miles of the trail are paved passing through Klamath Falls. Then grind some gravel as you make your way through Oregon’s Outback. Whatever way you prefer to peddle RideKlamathRide.com can help guide you to the best routes.
Learn about the area’s history
You can spend hours, or even a few days, learning about the history of the Klamath Basin with five museums to choose from, plus an audio tour that retells the history of the Modoc Indian War. In the community of Fort Klamath just south of Crater Lake is the closest museum which offers your first look at remnants of early Klamath Basin settlement times. The Klamath County Museum, Baldwin Hotel Museum, Favell Museum and Historic Downtown Walking Tour, all located in downtown Klamath Falls, offer a variety of history including Native American artifacts, iconic architecture, and a Japanese Balloon Bomb. The true history geek will find solace at the Merrill Museum and the Malin Historical Society in the southern area of Klamath County.
There’s no doubt that the blue water at Crater Lake is what brought you there, but unless you are going to take an icy dip or a guided boat tour with a Park Ranger, bringing a personal floatation device or water craft into the caldera is illegal. The good news is that Klamath County has no shortage of waterways to play in. There are many waterways close to Crater Lake, but one must do is the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail, a marked 9.5-mile paddle that winds through the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.
Visit a local gallery
Two Rivers Art Gallery and Gift Shop in Chiloquin is a beautiful gallery with local, unique pieces featuring over 80 different artists. The art gallery also doubles as a full-service visitor center for those visiting the small community of Chiloquin. The galleries namesake comes from the two rivers, the Williamson and Sprague, that converge amongst the towering pines in the picturesque town.
While hiking Cleetwood Cove may be on the top of your to do list when visiting Crater Lake, there are no shortage of trails and scenic vantage points in Klamath County to add to that list. There are 214,783 acres of designated wilderness areas with 500+ miles of hiking trails in Klamath County. Not to mention the famed Pacific Crest Trail travels over 100 miles through the county with 5 easy access points, including one at Crater Lake. At the top of your must-hike list should be Spence and Moore Mountains. Two multi-use trails systems with spectacular views of Upper Klamath Lake and the Crater Lake mountain range. The trails systems include advanced hikes as well relaxing beginner and family friendly trails.
There is nothing like the feeling of a great golf shot, especially if it is executed under the sunny high desert skies. About 50 miles south of Crater Lake, following the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, is Running Y Ranch Resort. Running Y Ranch Resort features the only signature Arnold Palmer-designed golf course in Oregon and is a premier Southern Oregon golf resort. Golfers from around the world flock to the resort annually to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of what has become one of the most renowned members of Palmer’s “Sweet 16.” The Resort also has a mini golf putting course which is great for kids and even those more advanced at golf. This is not your usual putting course. Sporting water hazards, sand traps and sneaky breaks, this putting course challenges even the most seasoned putting pros.
Go on an adventure
Book a trip with one of Klamath County’s premier adventures. Crater Lake ZipLine is fun for the whole family with their 9 zipline canopy tour and Sasquatch Hollow for the younger adventurers. Real Oregon Experience is great for a guided paddle or fishing trip, while Sky Lakes Wilderness Adventures can keep you on two feet or two wheels offering guided hikes, bike tours, paddles, and snowshoe adventures.
If you’re visiting Crater Lake National Park in the summer months, chances are you’ll be driving all the way around the 33-mile Rim Drive, and if you do, you’ll likely stop at the Videa Falls pull out on the east side of the lake. While there are two waterfalls within the park, these three falls are must-sees if you’re a waterfall fanatic. From the North entrance you’ll come to highway 138, also known as the “waterfall highway”, about 20 miles west you’ll come to the first fall, Whitehorse Falls. Continuing west you’ll find Clearwater Falls and Watson Falls. Fun Fact: Watson Falls is the third highest fall in Oregon.