Why Is Everyone Beginning to Move to Klamath Falls?
Nestled amidst a spectacular alpine setting in southern Oregon, Klamath Falls is a popular destination for the outdoor set. The town averages more than 300 days of sun a year, inviting adventure-minded types to take full advantage of the natural playground. Indeed, few places in the state can deliver so much year-round outdoor adventure. In the summer, warm days beckon for paddling trips on area lakes and hikes through the pine forests. During the winter, sunny days and lots of the white stuff make it an excellent snowsports destination. Spring and fall, meanwhile, are sublime, with a few rain showers intermixed with cool but sunny days; all in all, there are very few “bad” weather days.
In addition, because it receives just 28 inches of rain a year, Klamath Falls avoids the infamous gray gloom that shrouds much of the Pacific Northwest each fall and winter. It’s also southern Oregon’s cultural hub, with lots of options for entertainment (theater, museums, and live music), as well as excellent restaurants and—of course–breweries.
No surprise, then, that similar to Bend in decades past, Klamath Falls is drawing more and more people—many of them visitors so taken with the region’s beauty, lifestyle, and outdoor access that they decide to stay. With a service area of over 63.000, Klamath Falls and the Greater Klamath Basin has many advantages of small-town living (i.e., almost no traffic to speak of) with the amenities of a bigger city: two colleges, top-notch medical facilities, and a burgeoning food-and-drink scene that spans breweries, a winery, and great restaurants.
Another draw? Unlike many other mountain towns in the West, real estate prices remain low, the cost of living is reasonable, and there is no sales tax. Here, a look at the town’s broad appeal, from its seemingly infinite adventure options to cultural pursuits and more.
Options for Outdoor Adventure Abound
Hikers love Klamath because of the easy access to endless trails, which showcase waterfalls, mountain peaks, volcanic terrain, and breathtaking vistas. Right outside of town, you can hop on the Pacific Crest Trail, explore Crater Lake, or wander through the breathtaking Sky Lakes Wilderness Area. Those looking for more of a challenge can bag an iconic peak like 9,184-foot Mt. Thielsen or 9,495-foot Mt. McLoughlin.
If your idea of fun is spending time on the water, you’ve got plenty of options there, too. For leisurely paddling trips, the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail is a popular spot where kayakers, SUP enthusiasts, and canoeists explore its flat water. Paddlers craving more ambitious outings can join a raft trip nearly every month of the year on the Klamath River, choosing from a single day to multi-day options.
In addition, Klamath Falls is known for its world-class angling, enticing fishing enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. One of the most popular spots is Lake of the Woods, a gorgeous high-mountain lake.
A Winter Wonderland and Dark Sky Delight
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The downhill set doesn’t have to go far to get their fill of winter fun on the slopes: Willamette Pass Ski Resort is one of four ski areas within a two-hour drive of Klamath Falls. For snowy adventures on foot, Crater Lake National Park is a must-do. Every winter, the ancient volcano gets hammered with snow, making this a perfect spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Snowmobile enthusiasts, meanwhile, can take advantage of 800 miles of trails for snowmobilers in the region. Approximately 360 miles of those are found by Lake of the Woods and Fish Lake.
Winter is also an ideal time to marvel over Klamath Falls’ spectacular night sky. Minimal light pollution (as well as clearer skies during winter) makes for one of the best stargazing locations in the country. Seeing the Milky Way stretching over Crater Lake is undoubtedly a sight that has inspired repeat visitors—and likely some permanent residents.
All in all, it’s a pretty impressive outdoor playground that’s virtually in the backyard of those lucky enough to call Klamath Falls home.
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This city is filled with parks that show off the beauty of the region—as well as provide a convenient way to get a nature fix when a full-day adventure isn’t doable. Connecting the parks is an extensive network of hiking and biking trails that are ideal for exploring around town; two highly recommended options are the Moore Park and Spence Mountain Trail Systems.
Trails and bike paths also connect to numerous museums and art around town, such as the Favell Museum, which showcases the story of America’s West, including Native American history and contemporary Western art.
Meanwhile, Klamath Falls’ burgeoning culinary and brewery scene is steadily gaining new fans—and providing yet another reason why it’s such an attractive place to settle down. A growing list of top-notch breweries, bars, and restaurants, from eclectic to family friendly, offer a choice for every palate and occasion. A few must-stops include the Klamath Basin Brewing Company, the Waffle Hut & Eatery, and the Gathering Grounds Roastery and Cafe.
So why are people beginning to move to Klamath Falls? The better question may be, what took them so long?
Written by Douglas Scott for Matcha in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.