An Insider’s Guide to Moore Mountain

Situated along the in-skirts of town, a mere skip-and-a-jump across the Link River from downtown Klamath Falls, Moore Mountain is a humble yet hugely charismatic outdoor destination buzzing with recreational opportunities.

At 458 acres, it’s not the largest park in the area. And with about 28-miles of trails, it might not garner as many headlines as some of the other major destinations in Klamath County (like Crater Lake, Lava Beds National Monument, or the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge). But what Moore Mountain might lack in prestige, it more than makes up for in proximity. What it lacks in size, it counteracts with seriously well-designed trails. What it lacks in national or regional draw, it rectifies with refreshingly down-to-earth vibes and subtle yet stunning natural beauty.

In short, Moore Mountain is a must-visit for any trip to Klamath County. So, here’s how to make the most of Moore Mountain (plus a little history of how it came to be).

How Moore Mountain Came to Be

Overlooking Upper Klamath Lake on a beautiful spring day. Photo by Kamrin Nielsen

Moore Mountain didn’t always have a top-notch trail network. In fact, twenty years ago, it was more “potential” than “polished”—a scenic greenspace without tons of natural beauty yet little in the way of clearly defined paths or park amenities.

But that didn’t stop one ambitious group of visionary trailblazers from striving to transform Moore Mountain into the miniature outdoor mecca that it is today.

The Klamath Trail Alliance is the group largely responsible. The KTA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to grow the network of recreational trails in beautiful Klamath County. For the last 15 years, Moore Mountain has been one of these trail networks. KTA has been hard at work designing and developing trails, volunteering their time, and spearheading measurable (by literal miles) progress. Today, Moore Park is about three-quarters of the way to completion. The bulk of the hard work has been done. What remains are a few clarifying cosmetic details like improving signage in the western part of the park and planning a few reroutes to improve trail flow.

According to Kevin Jones, Vice President of KTA and the chief adviser on Moore Mountain trail upgrades and expansion, the goal of developing Moore Mountain was always to improve the quality of life for locals and visitors alike. “The vision was to build it out as a place for locals and visitors to experience and explore and see wildlife and—even within seconds of downtown—feel like you’re so far from downtown.”

With the help of countless volunteers, that vision has slowly become a reality. Today, Moore Mountain and Moore Park offer a gloriously convenient and captivating escape on the edge of Upper Klamath Lake.

According to Jones, “Moore Mountain is just an awesome little park. Located right in the city, you can ride or hike the trails for a couple of hours and then ride right into town to have a beer and pizza at Rodeos. There are excellent views of Klamath Lake, of downtown, and it’s just an easy-access way to go on an adventure and enjoy the outdoors without leaving town.”

We’ll toast (and ride!) to that!

Why Moore Mountain Is Worth a Visit

Enjoying a pleasant family stroll through the Moore Mountain Trail System. Photo by Kamrin Nielsen

Aside from the unbeatable proximity to downtown, there are a few other standout attributes that make Moore Mountain memorable.

In terms of scenery and terrain, Moore Mountain is a bit of a beautiful anomaly. According to Jones, “It’s an unusual park in that here in Klamath, we’re situated on the east side of the Cascades—which is typically the dry side. Moore Park is almost like the demarcation line between dry and wet. Half of it is lush and green with tall pines, firs, and cedars. The other half has a lot more sages, junipers, and desert-like character.”

What this means for visitors is impressive ecological diversity, plenty of wildlife viewing, and huge birding opportunities.

Another alluring aspect of the mountain is the sheer history you’ll find throughout. Moore Mountain is home to centuries of human history. Littered throughout the mountain are mysterious vestiges of bygone eras, including an old sawmill from the early 1900s as well as a collection of ancient, abandoned cars stitched into the forested hillsides of the mountain. At the very tip of nearby Putnam Point, there was a huge Native American settlement from the days when the Klamath, Paiute Yahooskin, and Modoc tribes once roamed the area. At the base of the mountain, the Link River is home to its own unique & interesting history.

Moore Park also features a fun and inviting mix of various other park amenities, including soccer fields, tennis courts, large picnic areas with barbecue pits, day camp areas, and a state-of-the-art playground. Not to mention, there’s a bicycle skills course, an 18-hole disc golf course, and a boat launch for canoeing and fishing in Upper Klamath Lake. In other words, it’s fantastic for the entire family.

Finally, the star of the show at Moore Mountain is undoubtedly the trail system itself. The work that KTA has done over the last 15 years has been both exceptional and exceptionally thoughtful. The trail system isn’t some “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” sort of trail-building methodology. On the contrary, the trails here are almost painstakingly considered. As Jones says, “The trails at Moore Mountain are purposefully stacked. You could go up there on a weekend and only see four people when in reality there are sixty people. It’s just that the trails are so stacked and looped upon one another.”

In fact, one of KTA’s major goals was to make more hubs at trail intersections so that visitors could have more optionality. Most of the trails aren’t very long, after all. Linearly speaking, each one is actually pretty short, with the longest registering in the 4-5-mile range. That’s why thoughtfully-considered trail junctions with multiple trails branching from these hubs became the modus operandi for shaping the trail system at Moore Mountain. These junctions not only make it easier to navigate the mountain but also to maximize the mountain—allowing mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers to get more bang for their buck.

Who Will Love Moore Mountain

Hitting the bike skills park at Moore Mountain. Photo by Kamrin Nielsen

Moore Mountain is a hub for recreationalists of all stripes and beckons both locals and visitors alike with its diverse flora and distinct character.

Hikers love the easy, in-town escape. Trail runners can fly down the rocky, technical, lava-rock trails. Birders can spot everything from bald eagles on the upland slopes of Moore Park, to black-crowned night herons, western grebes, and snowy egrets from the hills and shore areas of Moore Park.

For mountain bikers, Moore Park holds a special appeal. There are lots of interesting wooden features, fun drops, and tons of highly technical trails. As Jones says, “If you can ride the trails at Moore mountain, you can ride anywhere. Because there are a lot of really hard and super fun trails here.”

At the end of the day, Moore Park is a local’s mountain with a warm, welcoming, beckoning call to visitors of all outdoor-minded persuasions.

For Jones, he calls Moore Mountain a “good second-day adventure.” If you’re visiting Klamath County for Crater Lake or Spence Mountain or some other world-class destination, and you’re looking for something to do after to extend your stay, Moore Mountain is about as good of a pick as you can get. We look forward to seeing you on the trails!

Written by Ry Glover for Matcha in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.