Where to Kayak in Klamath Falls

Kayaking in Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath Falls is known for outdoor recreation and kayaking is a top water sports activity in the area. With over 300 rivers, lakes, and streams in the county, there’s little wonder why kayaking Klamath Falls is a top activity among outdoor enthusiasts. As an aerobic sport kayaking works your back, shoulders, arms, hands, abdomen, chest and heart, and is a fun and easy way to get in a low-impact workout outside while taking in the fresh air. With a beautiful landscape and many natural wonders near Klamath Falls, it’s clear why people would want to experience the view from right on the water.

Top Things to see when Kayaking in Klamath Falls

Crater Lake National Park from Klamath Falls is a short and easy trip. Klamath Falls is well-known for its close vicinity to Crater Lake National Park and while there are boating adventures offered at Crater Lake, kayaking on Crater Lake is forbidden. Swimming or wading is allowed in the lake via access only from Cleetwood Cove Trail, however absolutely no water crafts, inflatables, snorkeling gear, etc (including personal floatation devices) are allowed in the lake in order to preserve it’s clarity and keep out invasive species. Crater Lake is preserved as a scenic and scientific wonder, not as a recreational lake. Luckily, while kayaking in Crater Lake is not possible, Klamath Falls has plenty of opportunities to paddle in the water.

Along with kayaking, birding is another top activity to do in the Klamath Basin. Fortunately, the two go hand in hand and you can even paddle through one of six national wildlife refuges. Upper Klamath Lake hosts a 9.5-mile marked paddling trail through a freshwater marsh in the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. The canoe trail winds through a mix of open water and forests of pine and aspen, with prime waterfowl-watching opportunities all year long—especially during spring and fall migration season. Bald eagles, great blue herons, sandhill cranes, mallards, ruddy ducks, and other land-based animals, such as mule deer, muskrats, and Rocky Mountain elk are frequently seen along the trail, and peaks of the Cascade Mountains dominate the horizon to the west. The path is closed to motorized boats, which ensures a quiet, peaceful paddle, no matter how busy the area may be at any given time. An Upper Klamath Canoe Trail map can be found here along with other self guided tours.

The Best Places to Kayak Near Klamath Falls, Oregon

In all, roughly 700 acres of open water enchant paddlers on the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail, but it’s not the only place in Klamath County offering breathtaking views and surreal paddling experiences. Nestled in the Southern Cascades, Spring Creek hosts a true off-the-beaten-path experience for novice and seasoned paddlers alike where you can watch as the cold water bubbles up through pumice rocks from the spring below—not to mention one of the region’s rarest, most unusual species of algae, called “mare’s eggs,” which look like smooth, circular, rocks on the creek bed. The calm, slow-moving creek delivers a peaceful pace, all the better for enjoying its striking, clear blue water. Spring Creek kayaking is a must paddle place if you’re looking for something easy going where you can paddle up stream without much effort for a fun out-and-back trip.

Similar to Spring Creek, the headwaters of the Wood River at Jackson F. Kimball State Park draws awe from all who visit. The four-mile run follows a slow-moving, spring-fed river that’s noted for its remarkable clarity with striking blue turquoise waters. Beginners love the gentle pace and experienced paddlers enjoy the remote nature and solitude of the trip. The Wood River flows between Jackson F. Kimball State Park and the Wood River Day Use Area, and along the way, paddlers pass forests, farmland, and wide-open meadows, with the surrounding Cascades in view above it all. There is not a structured boat launch at Jackson F. Kimball, so please always pack your kayak in, don’t drag it, and launch from designated areas to help prevent bank erosion. Respect private property and posted signs along the way.

In addition, Klamath is home to many other lakes and rivers in the area that also provide great places to enjoy the scenery by kayak. Come find the perfect place for your next peaceful paddle, and if you’re new to paddling and don’t know where to start or want to travel without the bulk of the gear our local guides and outfitters The Ledge Outdoor Store, ROE, and Sky Lakes Wilderness Adventures can help with rentals as well as guided trips and experiences.