Your Guide to a Year of Adventure in Klamath County
No matter the season, Klamath County teems with exciting adventure, outdoor fun, culinary cravings, breathtaking art, and more. Visiting in winter? Bundle up for a day on the slopes or an afternoon of bird-watching in one of the most prolific birding destinations around the region. As the weather warms up, nosh on locally sourced fare in downtown Klamath Falls, enjoy a relaxing paddle along the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail, or go for an invigorating hike at the Lava Beds National Monument or in the scenic Sky Lakes Wilderness.
No matter when you visit, Klamath County awaits with memorable experiences. As you start planning your next trip to Klamath County, here’s a season-by-season guide to the best of the region.
Frolicking in a Winter Wonderland
Bluebird days in and around the Cascades offer no shortage of outdoor adventure every winter. Whether you enjoy snowmobiling through quiet mountain forests, hitting the slopes at your favorite ski area, or bird-watching in the heart of the annual migration, you’ll find much to love about winter in Klamath County. Here’s a rundown of some of the region’s most popular winter outings.
Go bird-watching at Lower Klamath Lake: The placid Lower Klamath Lake sits at the southern edge of the Klamath Basin and, every winter, is ground zero for bird-watchers to spy a variety of migrating species. Of note are the roughly 500 bald eagles that spend winter in the area and, by day, feed in the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. For more, the Winter Wings Festival packs birding clinics, workshops, presentations, and other fun events into one busy weekend every February.
Hit the slopes at Willamette Pass Resort: The most popular ski resort in Klamath County is Willamette Pass Resort, which sits near the eastern edge of the Cascades and is beloved for a mix of runs geared toward beginners and advanced skiers and snowboarders alike. In all, the ski area boasts 1,500 feet of vertical drop across 29 trails—along with sweeping, 360-degree views from its summit.
Snowmobile the forests around Odell Lake: You can snowmobile at Sno-Parks all over Klamath County—but it’s only at Odell Lake Resort, perched on the shore of its namesake lake, that you can rent the machines for an epic adventure. Many miles of trails circle the resort, and some ascend to the rim of nearby Crater Lake National Park—where panoramic views of the astonishingly blue lake await. If you’re looking for other wintry fun in the area, Odell Lake Resort also offers cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and roughly a dozen cozy cabins for overnight stays.
Ready to plan your next winter escape? Bundle up, and check out our insider’s guide to winter in Klamath County.
Experience the Spring Sensations of Klamath County
There’s something undeniably special about spring in Klamath County: The weather warms up, crops at area farms begin sprouting, and area wildlife wakes up from its winter slumber—creating a variety of fun experiences best enjoyed in spring. Here’s a look at how to make the most of this magical time around Klamath County.
Paddle the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail: Scenic waterways crisscross all of Klamath County—but a self-guided paddling trip along the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail stands out for a few reasons. For starters, the trail mostly heads through marshland and riparian forests at the far northwestern corner of Upper Klamath Lake, making it an accessible adventure for even the newest of kayakers, canoers, and stand-up paddleboarders. Beyond the relatively calm waters, however, paddlers enjoy scenic vistas of the Cascade foothills and occasional sightings of herons, otters, beavers, and other species. (When you’re ready to hit the water, learn more about canoeing and kayaking in Klamath County.)
Try locally sourced fare at your favorite Klamath County restaurants: Growing season begins each spring at hundreds of farms across Klamath County, so try fresh berries, herbs, and other locally grown items—including fresh, locally made craft beer—at restaurants and tap houses throughout the region. Learn more, and start planning your culinary adventures with our food and drink tour of Klamath County.
Learn about local history at Tule Lake National Monument: At the southern edge of the Klamath Basin, Tule Lake National Monument tells an important, if somber story about World War II history in the United States. In the 1940s, the present-day national monument was the site of the Tule Lake Segregation Center (where Japanese-Americans were incarcerated during the war) and Camp Tulelake (which served as a detention facility for Japanese-Americans and, eventually, a prisoner-of-war camp). The national monument’s visitor center opens around Memorial Day, and ranger-led tours of the grounds are offered throughout the late spring and summer.
Getting Outdoors on Summertime Outings
Klamath Falls is known as the “City of Sunshine” in Oregon, thanks to the more than 300 days of sun the city enjoys each year. That means clear skies, warm days, and crisp evenings—the perfect weather for outdoor adventure. We’ve put together a few favorite ideas for summer fun around Klamath County—from laid-back outings to adrenaline-fueled thrills.
Visit Crater Lake National Park: It’s the deepest lake in North America, one of the clearest lakes in the world and the heart of Oregon’s only national park: Crater Lake National Park is a must-visit destination where, all summer long, you can hike dozens of miles of scenic trails, stop at numerous viewpoints along the 33-mile Rim Drive, take boat tours that explore the history of the onetime Mount Mazama, and spend a night under the stars. Learn more with our complete guide to visiting Crater Lake National Park.
Go mountain biking on Spence Mountain: In recent years, mountain bikers have flocked to the Spence Mountain trail system, where more than two-dozen miles of trails crisscross their namesake crag near the western shore of Upper Klamath Lake. Trails are suited to beginners and veterans alike, and multiple trailheads make it easy to explore the breadth of Spence Mountains’ pine-covered forests and sweeping meadows. Get started with rentals, recommendations, guidance, and more at Zach’s Bikes, a beloved bike shop in Klamath Falls. And if your curiosity is piqued, learn more with our story on mountain biking in Klamath County.
Spend a night under the stars at Lake of the Woods: You’ll enjoy four seasons of fun at Lake of the Woods Resort in the heart of the Cascades—but there’s something relaxing about a summer weekend under the stars. Spend your day hiking around the lake and paddling its cool waters, take time to roast s’mores over the fire after the sun goes down, and—before retiring to your tent or cabin for the night—take a few minutes to enjoy a little stargazing. Lake of the Woods’ remote location, far from light pollution that might wash out the skies, makes it a great place to watch for constellations, shooting stars, and other cosmic wonders. If you’re feeling enchanted, get the skinny on stargazing throughout Klamath County.
Enjoying Autumn Escapes
As the temperatures cool, leaves turn, and harvest season arrives, fall brings a relaxed kind of joy to Klamath County. In that time between the warmest days of summer and the first, frosty days of winter, autumn is a great stretch to get outdoors, learn about local history, or sometimes do both on that same outing. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite fall activities around Klamath County.
Bask in the Lunar Landscapes of Lava Beds National Monument: Klamath County enjoys crisp, sunny fall days—the perfect weather for enjoying aboveground and underground adventures alike at Lava Beds National Monument. Choose between short treks into underground lava tubes or aboveground hikes that traverse lava flows, scattered stands of juniper and pine, collapsed lava tube trenches, and other fascinating landscapes. And with school back in session, you’ll enjoy a welcome dose of solitude on the trail and in the visitor center—where exhibits discuss the Modoc War of 1872-73, local geology, and other topics.
Enjoy fall foliage in the Sky Lakes Wilderness: With pristine alpine lakes dotting three lake basins in the southern Cascades, it’s only natural the Sky Lakes Wilderness would be a popular summertime destination. But come back in late September and early October for electric foliage displays—when the leaves of bushes and maple trees turn vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange.
Take a self-guided walking tour of downtown Klamath Falls: Whether you’re visiting Klamath Falls for the first time ever or the first time in a few months, catch up with the city on a walking tour of downtown Klamath Falls; the fascinating, self-guided trip covers historic buildings that date back decades, public murals that share the region’s storied history, and other curious attractions (such as utility boxes decorated to honor the birds for which Klamath County is so famous). Learn more about some of the public art around Klamath Falls.