Top 10 Things to Do in and Around Klamath Falls
The hardest part about planning your trip to Klamath County isn’t figuring out what to do; it’s wondering how to fit it all into one trip.
Do you want to enjoy a summertime hike through lava flows on one of the world’s most famous hiking trails, try mountain biking in the Cascade foothills, dig into the region’s history at museums and national monuments—and then recap your day over regional craft beer and locally sourced fare? (That’s to say nothing of a day trip to Crater Lake National Park.)
You can do it all in Klamath County, where a variety of landscapes—mountainous forests, scenic lakes, wide-open farmland, and more—make it all possible. We’ve already put together a list of 14 things to do while in Klamath Falls—but if you’re looking for additional ideas and need a little inspiration, we’ve rounded up the top 10 things to do in (and around) Klamath Falls.
Sample Farm-to-Table Fare Grown in the Klamath Basin
Spend any amount of time around the Klamath Basin, and you’ll quickly see just how important farming is to the region’s communities. Roughly 1,000 farms around the basin raise livestock and grow hay, barley, wheat, potatoes, onions, and other crops. Eventually, much of that output lands on plates at eateries around the county, cementing Klamath as a region where “farm-to-table” isn’t simply an expression; it’s a way of life.
Looking for a taste of the region? Green Blade Bakery is owned by former ranchers who bring a bit of the farm to every scone, pastry, and loaf of bread they produce. Rodeos Pizza and Saladeria, meanwhile, uses scratch-made dough and fresh, locally sourced ingredients in its beloved lineup of creative pies. And Terra Veg Vegan Eatery makes its fluffy flatbread in-house, pairing it with a lineup of thoughtfully crafted, plant-based Lebanese dishes.
Hike a Portion of the Pacific Crest Trail
In all, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) stretches 2,650 miles between the Canadian border at its northern terminus and the Mexican border at its southernmost point. Hiking that whole span is a pipe dream for most of us, but did you know you can hike a scenic portion of the PCT in the heart of Klamath County?
The PCT—named because it generally follows the crest of the Cascade Range for much of its length—covers a particularly beautiful stretch of scenery in Klamath County. From the Summit Sno-Park and Trailhead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, hikers can walk south—quickly crossing OR-140 before heading into the heart of several lava flows on the flanks of Brown Mountain. Here, the trail is surrounded on either side by otherworldly piles of lava rocks, creating a dramatic sight with every step. On your way back, Mount McLoughlin towers over the trail.
The Brown Mountain Lava Flow hike, as it’s most commonly known, is a six-mile trek that alternately darts between thick forests and craggy lava flows. In these stark stretches, the trail has been smoothed over and covered with red cinder to facilitate easier hiking. And while the 6-mile hike (round-trip) gains about 650 feet, it’s all gradual—making the trek a favorite for hikers of all skill levels.
Go Hiking or Backpacking in the Sky Lakes Wilderness
West of Klamath Falls, in the heart of the Cascade Range, sits the dramatic Sky Lakes Wilderness. This region comprises three lake basins in the Cascades and is known for the pristine quality of its bodies of water; Environmental Protection Agency studies in the 1980s and 1990s found that the Sky Lakes Wilderness was home to some of the most chemically pure water in the world.
Plenty of trails entice hikers and backpackers to explore the relatively untouched wilderness and swim in its namesake lakes.
The 6-mile Blue Canyon Trail to Horseshoe Lake hike, for instance, heads through forests of hemlock and Shasta red fir to a trio of scenic lakes—including Round Lake, Blue Lake, and the trail’s namesake pond. The Sky Lakes Basin via Cold Springs Trail, meanwhile, passes an astonishing half-dozen lakes (and offers occasional views of Luther Mountain) in about seven miles. And the easy Puck Lakes via Nannie Creek Trail (clocking in at about 5.5 miles round-trip) takes hikers to the southern shore of the 24-acre Puck Lake along a mostly flat trail.
These hikes can be quite popular in summer, so consider a jaunt in late September or early October for more solitude and colorful fall foliage. Learn more about hiking the Sky Lakes Wilderness—as well as other federally designated wilderness areas around Klamath County.
Try Mountain Biking at Spence Mountain
In recent years, mountain biking has become one of the most popular outdoor activities around Klamath County—and with the scenic Spence Mountain trail system at the heart of it all, it’s easy to see why.
In all, 28 miles of well-signed trails crisscross Spence Mountain near the western shore of Upper Klamath Lake; options range from fast, flowy single-track paths for beginner riders to more technical challenges (such as rock gardens, berms, and more) for veteran cyclists. Along the way, occasional views of Mount Shasta and the wider Klamath Basin emerge between stands of fir and pine. And if you need rentals, recommendations, or guidance, Zach’s Bikes is an essential stop in Klamath Falls.
Curious about Spence Mountain and other trails in the region? Learn more about mountain biking in Klamath County.
Stargaze the Night Away
Klamath County mostly sits far from large cities and at high elevations—Klamath Falls is about 4,100 feet above sea level, for instance—making the region an idyllic destination for nighttime stargazing. So if you want to view constellations, shooting stars, and other cosmic wonders, you have plenty of options for doing so.
Perhaps the region’s most popular stargazing destination is Crater Lake National Park, where starry night skies positively glow from around the rim of Crater Lake. The park’s lack of light pollution and high elevation in the Cascade Range make it a popular spot to marvel at the night sky.
If you’re up for a little adventure, consider backpacking into the Sky Lakes Wilderness in the heart of the Cascades; the wilderness area’s many lakeshores make prime stargazing spots, and the lack of light pollution from nearby communities creates ideal conditions on clear nights.
And if your family’s summer getaways bring you to the likes of Odell Lake, Crescent Lake, or Lake of the Woods, take a few minutes to head to the lakeshore after you’ve put the fire out for the evening; nighttime views are typically pristine when clear skies abound.
Curious to learn more? Check out our piece on where to go wilderness camping and stargazing around Klamath County.
Attend a Kite Festival in the Heart of Winter
You read that headline right: Every February, Lake of the Woods Resort hosts a weekend-long kite festival in the heart of the Cascades.
It’s a quirky tradition befitting the free-spirited nature of Klamath County. Each February, usually around Valentine’s Day weekend, hundreds of visitors descend on Lake of the Woods for all kinds of fun—breakfast buffets, live music, and plenty of kite-flying from atop the resort’s ice-covered lake. Semi-professional kite flyers are on hand to put on fun shows, and attendees can join the fun with their own kites. (Naturally, kites are available for purchase at the resort.)
Enter a Winter Wonderland at the Bill Collier Ice Arena
Want to strap on a pair of skates? Open-ice sessions welcome skaters of all skill levels, and lessons can help boost your skills. Families, meanwhile, have plenty of options for enjoying the ice together; hockey sessions take place throughout winter, for instance, and father-daughter skate sessions are offered monthly between November and March. As an added bonus, adults can try their hand at curling lessons.
And if you’d rather watch the on-ice fun, an annual ice show takes place each February and spotlights a figure skating competition led by world champions and Olympic athletes.
Find more ideas for winter fun around the region with our insider’s guide to winter in Klamath County.
Explore Klamath County History at Museums, Monuments, and More
Klamath County is steeped in history—from the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin Bands of Snake Indians who have called the region home since time immemorial to the ranchers, farmers, and loggers who settled in the area throughout the 1800s and 1900s. So if you want to really understand the Klamath region’s storied past, make time for some of the many museums of Klamath County.
The Klamath County Museum, housed in downtown Klamath Falls, is the most logical place to start; the museum is home to Native American artifacts, relics from European-American settlement, vintage photographs, and other exhibits. Collier Memorial State Park, meanwhile, hosts the open-air Logging Museum, which dives into the roles that the railroad and logging played in the development of modern-day Klamath County. And the visitor center at Lava Beds National Monument explores regional history through artifacts, exhibits, interpretive displays, and more.
Paddle the Upper Klamath Canoe Trail
Upper Klamath Lake, which sits just north of Klamath Falls and at the eastern base of the Cascade Range, measures nearly 30 miles long and nearly eight miles wide—making it the largest freshwater body west of the Rocky Mountains. So if you’re looking to get on the water, it can be tough to know where to begin.
Fortunately, the 9.5-mile Upper Klamath Canoe Trail offers an easy, laid-back introduction to the scenic lake. Canoers, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders can put in at a pair of boat launches and explore a mix of marshland, riparian forest, and open water at the northwest corner of the expansive lake. The water is typically calm, making the trail accessible to even the newest of paddlers, and sightings of eagles, herons, raccoons, beaver, and other species of wildlife aren’t uncommon. For other ideas of where to paddle, check out our guide to the water recreation in Klamath County.
Imbibe in Klamath County’s Craft Beer Scene
Over the years, craft beer has taken the Pacific Northwest by storm—and Klamath County has enjoyed a beer boom of its own. Today, the county is home to two craft breweries and bustling pubs pouring a mix of regional beers and locally made suds.
Today, Mia & Pia’s Pizzeria & Brewhouse is the oldest brewery in Klamath Falls; the brewery started more than 25 years ago, crafting its first beers on converted dairy equipment, and is today known as much for its easy-drinking ales and lagers as for a menu chockablock with hearty pizzas and filling sandwiches. And Skyline Brewing Company founders Ty and Ry Kliewer craft a wide range of beloved beers in a vintage dairy building on the family farm; Skyline doesn’t run an on-site taproom, but its beers are common at taprooms and restaurants around Klamath Falls.
Speaking of taprooms: You’ll find plenty of beer bars, taprooms, and pubs that pour award-winning brews from throughout Klamath County and the wider Pacific Northwest. The Falls Taphouse opened in the autumn of 2020, pairing an excellent section of regional beers with on-site food carts, rooftop dining, and cozy fire pits for an altogether enjoyable experience. And in June 2022, Growler Guys—an Oregon-based chain of beer bars with outposts in five states—opened its first taproom in Klamath Falls; there you can find roughly 60 beers, ciders, seltzers, cocktails, and more on tap—all with an emphasis on Pacific Northwest producers.
Thirsty yet? Get the skinny on the top breweries and bars in Klamath County.