Why Klamath Falls is Dubbed Oregon’s City of Sunshine

February 18, 2022 Klamath Falls, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

The sunniest city in Oregon is located in the south-central region of the state and borders northern California. Klamath Falls enjoys well over 300 days of sunshine each year, and is known as the state of Oregon’s “City of Sunshine”, a name Klamath Falls holds proudly. The city of sunshine sits on the southern shore of Upper Klamath Lake, nestled in the Klamath Basin on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains and is said to have the best climate in Oregon.

The historic 6-story Oregon Bank Building in Downtown Klamath Falls with blossom trees in a courtyard in front.

The historic Oregon Bank Building in Downtown Klamath Falls.

Klamath Falls has an urban population of approximately 42,000, though the city population is only about 22,000. The difference in numbers is that Klamath Falls today is actually composed of two different communities, Linkville and Altamont. Linkville, founded on the Link River that connects Lake Ewauna to Upper Klamath Lake, was renamed Klamath Falls in 1893, and has evolved into the City of Klamath Falls, while Altamont sits on the east side of present-day Klamath Falls. Even though postal addresses for Altamont now read Klamath Falls, and you really cannot distinguish a difference between Altamont and Klamath Falls while driving, the U.S. Census still recognizes the two as separate towns, so to get an accurate population count you should add the two together.

Steeped in history, the area offers an outstanding array of natural and cultural wonders. Just sixty miles south of Crater Lake, and forty-five miles north of Lava Beds National Monument, south central Oregon is unsurpassed for beauty and diversity of activities. Klamath Falls offers a variety of outdoor recreation such as cycling, mountain biking, birding, golfing, fishing, hiking, kayaking and canoeing, and in winter months snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. All of which can be done with the sun shining on your back. Klamath Falls also offers a plethora of arts and culture with numerous antique shops, museums, and plays and musicals at the local theaters.

The many natural wonders found in Klamath also attract tourists and recreational visitors to the county. Discover what makes Klamath Falls so sunny and how the weather provides year-round livability in the high desert landscape.

Klamath Falls Weather

Two sail boats participating in the San Juan 21 on Upper Klamath Lake.

Two sail boats participating in the San Juan 21 on Upper Klamath Lake.

Many people think of Oregon as a largely rainy state due to the western valleys toward the Pacific Ocean. Klamath Falls elevation sits at roughly 4,100 feet, located on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range with a very different weather pattern than the coast or valleys along the I-5 corridor. Much of the precipitation in the area comes in the form of snowfall during the winter months, typically November through February. In fact, Klamath Falls only averages about 13 inches of rainfall in a year, compared to the cities on the west side of the Cascades who can see over 30 inches of rain in a year. And though Klamath sees an average of 37 inches of annual snowfall,  Klamath Falls weather typically brings warm summers and mostly clear winters. Often thought to be some of the best weather in Oregon. Summer temperatures in Klamath Falls are mild, with a dry heat usually ranging from mid-80s to high 90s and refreshingly cool nights.

The High Desert Landscape

Wooden sign for the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge with dry sage grass in the background.

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge is part of the high desert landscape much of Klamath Falls sits on.

Klamath Falls Oregon elevation of 4,094 feet is considered the high desert, named for its dry terrain, high elevation, and sunny days. Klamath County’s 6,000 square miles are about 75 percent national forest. The mixture of evergreen forests, lakes, marshes, wetlands, rivers, and high desert sage and juniper provides a beautiful backdrop for the city of Klamath Falls. The Klamath Basin is home to six national wildlife refuges supporting more than 350 species of resident and migratory birds. We also have Oregon’s largest body of water, Upper Klamath Lake, covering 96 square miles.

Contrary to popular belief, the high desert region makes up roughly a quarter of all land across the state located east of the Cascade Rang and south of the Blue Mountains. This type of drier landscape provides the perfect elements for Klamath Falls to be dubbed the sunniest place in Oregon and with nearby Crater Lake this place is definitely worth visiting with year-round activities the whole family can enjoy!