Fourmile Lake features some of the best hiking in Klamath County. U.S. Forest Service

How to Spend 3 Days in Klamath County (According to a Local)

Klamath County is an untapped mine of outdoor recreation. With a reputation of being untamed and wild, the region gives those who explore south central Oregon access to world-class fishing, and epic kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and mountaineering. A trip to Klamath County will rejuvenate your soul and inspire you to return to the region again and again.

"The town has transformed in recent years to an outdoor mecca, with the entire community pitching in to help each other out to be successful," says Mike Angeli, who has run The Ledge outdoor store in Klamath Falls since 2003. “This is a fantastic small town with big goals and heart.”

Angeli has helped countless adventurers find the perfect destination—as well as the perfect gear—for trips in the stunning landscape of Klamath County. His store is an adventurer’s paradise, complete with a climbing gym and gear for any trek. With Mike’s help, we have created the ultimate three-day Klamath experience, ideal for anyone looking to explore the majesty of the region.

DAY 1

Where to Get Caffeinated

"Klamath Falls runs on coffee and outdoor recreation," Angeli says. “Nearly everywhere you go, you not only will find a great cup of coffee, but you will also be able to talk to staff and locals and get tips on great adventures.” While there are dozens of places to get amped up for a full day of adventure, Angeli highly recommends stopping by the local shop known as Gathering Grounds. At this small and cozy spot in a fun corner of downtown you can start your day with a delicious cup of coffee made from locally roasted beans.

Where to Find Nearby Adventure

Collier Park is a great way to access Spring Creek, which is an excellent paddling destination.  Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau

In order to get to know the spirit of the region, your first adventure in Klamath County needs to be on the water. Collier Memorial State Park in Chiloquin is home to Spring Creek, where you can watch as the cold turquoise water bubbles up through pumice rocks from the spring below. The creek current isn’t too strong, and allows paddlers to go upstream without much effort for a fun out-and-back trip. The park itself is located at the convergence of Spring Creek and the Williamson River, so if you’re hunting for a trophy trout, this isn’t a bad place to start looking.

"Spring Creek is a classic kayaking destination, with some of the best views in the state of Oregon thanks to the turquoise water," Angeli says. “Just remember to be mindful of staying upstream from the picnic area, as downstream is only for expert paddlers.”

In addition to fun on the water, the park is fascinating to explore on its own, as it features an outdoor logging museum that displays equipment used in the region that dates as far back as the 1880s. A relocated pioneer village brings you even further back in time to a scene from the area’s earliest settlements.

Plan for a picnic lunch and enjoy the area’s towering pines. Hikers and mountain bikers will find a 10-mile primitive trail that connects the park to the nearby Jackson F. Kimball State Park. Travel through the connecting Winema National Forest via a Forest Service road. No matter what you like to do, you can easily spend a day in the park getting to know this scenic section of Oregon.

Where to Unwind

After a day of adventure, unwind at Klamath Basin Brewing Company.  Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau

After a day of picnicking and paddling, head over to the Klamath Basin Brewing Company, where a geothermal brewed beer is waiting for you. Geothermal brewed beer? Let’s start at the beginning: Exceptionally pure water flows from the Cascade Mountains and Crater Lake into the area’s underground rivers. The brewery uses the water and a geothermal heating system—that is, using hot water underground—to heat the pure water in the beer-brewing process. This unique brewery is conveniently located in downtown Klamath Falls and has an incredible beer selection, as well as excellent dining options and lively entertainment.

Where to Get a Good Night's Rest

For your first two nights in Klamath Falls, stay at the Cerulean Hotel. After paddling and a few beverages, staying at the Cerulean lets you walk back from the brewery and enjoy a comfortable room near the water. If you aren’t ready to call it a night, the hotel is right downtown, giving you access to parks, restaurants, and more of the fun stops in town.

DAY 2

Where to Get Caffeinated

To start your second day in Klamath Falls, hit up The Daily Bagel, which is located right downtown and serves coffee, bagels, and sandwiches. Open at 6 a.m., you can get an early start here before hitting the road for an epic hike.

Where to Find nearby Adventure

Your best bet for a memorable hike around Klamath County is to go to Fourmile Lake in the Sky Lake Wilderness Trail System. This 113,849-acre wilderness occupies the crest of the volcanic Cascade Mountains from State Highway 140 to Crater Lake National Park,and includes three major lake basins. From the summit of the 9,495-foot Mount McLaughlin you’ll get an incredible view of southern Oregon. The high-elevation wilderness is mostly forested with red fir, western white pine, and mountain hemlock, but you’ll also find grassy meadows to explore and dozens of sub-alpine lakes. The area is known for its elk herds that call the northern third of the region home in the summer and early fall, as well as black bears, cougars, and coyotes.

For hikers looking to explore the region with a day hike, one of the best options is the Blue Canyon Trail, which will take you to several mountain lakes just northwest of Upper Klamath Lake and about an hour and a half from Klamath Falls. In addition to the scenic setting filled with Shasta fir, mountain hemlock, and western white pine, this trail is attractive because it’s nearly flat, enabling just about anyone to enjoy the journey. You’ll hit Blue Lake about two miles from the trailhead, followed by Horseshoe, Pear, and Island lakes. If you want to add some additional (and more challenging) miles, you can connect to the Pacific Crest Trail as well.

Where to Unwind

Feast on handmade pizzas at Rodeos Pizza and Saladeria.  Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau

After wandering through the beauty of the Cascades, head back into town and enjoy the huge selection of pizzas found at Rodeos Pizza and Saladeria. Feast on handmade pizzas while sipping on a beverage from the great beer and cider selection before heading back to your room at the Cerulean Hotel.

DAY 3

Where to Get Caffeinated

After two days of exploring, sit down for a more substantial breakfast at the Waffle Hut. Here, your mouth will water over the amazing sweet and savory Belgian waffles, as you wake up with a strong and bold cup of coffee.

Where to Find Nearby Adventure

After filling up on amazing waffles, hop on two wheels and enjoy the nearby biking trails, maintained by the Klamath Trails Alliance. At Spence Mountain, about 15 miles from Klamath Falls, mountain bikers (as well as hikers and trail runners) will find 18 miles of trails to explore, varying in difficulty from easy to expert. The Moore Mountain Trail System is even closer to Klamath Falls—it’s on the southern tip of Upper Klamath Lake—and it features excellent views of both the lake and the Klamath Basin. Road cyclists have endless options. A favorite ride is to the small town of Merrill (about 20 miles southeast of Klamath Falls) via Hill Road. This is a nice, pretty loop that winds its way through farmland, next to mountains, and alongside the Lost River.

Where to Get a Good Night's Rest

You can play the 18-hole Arnold Palmer Golf Course at Running Y Ranch Resort.  Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau

Finally, reward yourself with a stay at the Running Y Ranch Resort just north of Klamath Falls. Here you will find incredible amenities, like a full-service spa, trips to Crater Lake, an 18-hole Arnold Palmer Golf Course, and much more. Refresh and relax after your three adventurous days discovering the timeless beauty of Klamath County.

Written by Douglas Scott for RootsRated Media in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.