Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

An All American Road.

Are you ready for a road trip? An eye-popping, do-you-see-that road trip? If so, steer the family to the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, a 500-mile stretch of natural beauty from Crater Lake National Park to Mt. Lassen in Northern California. This All-American Road focuses on more than eruption points. It’s an asphalt ribbon that wander past lakes, wetlands and history, all against of a backdrop of volcanoes. There are many places to visit and things to see between Crater Lake and Mt. Lassen National Parks.

Fort klamath

The first stop on the way to Crater Lake, this historic area is located in the lush Wood River Valley, only 17 miles south of Crater Lake National Park. Just north of town lies the Wood River, a spring creek that bubbles up from the ground. It is highly regarded for its native Brown and Rainbow Trout. Fort Klamath, established in 1863, was the first military post in the region. The guardhouse (museum) contains fort relics, pictures, and houses a small gift shop. Visitors can also learn the history and see the gravesites of Modoc Chief, Captain Jack and three of his warriors who fought off the U.S. Army in the most expensive campaign in the West – the Modoc Indian War of 1872-1873. Re-enactments are staged during the summer months. Contact the Klamath County Museum at 541-883-4208 for more information.

Upper klamath lake

Soon you’ll reach the shore of Upper Klamath Lake and the edge of the Upper Klamath Wildlife Refuge. Klamath Lake is one of Oregon’s largest bodies of fresh water, covering 133 square miles. The lake and the refuge are situated in the heart of the Pacific Flyway, which attracts more than 350 species of birds, including Sandhill Cranes, Pelicans, and Bald Eagles. During peak migration more than a million birds travel through. The West Side Road passes through portions of the Fremont-Winema National Forests, in the shadow of Mt. McLoughlin, and connects with Highway 140 along the lake.

Rocky point

Rocky Point is nestled on the shore of Upper Klamath Lake as you continue down the West Side Road. The West Side Road passes through portions of the Fremont-Winema National Forests, in the shadow of Mt. McLaughlin, and connects with Highway 140 along the lake where you turn left and head southeast to Klamath Falls. Places of interest along the way include Point Comfort Lodge & Cabins, constructed in 1912 and recently restored. It is one of the few remaining GREAT LODGES of the West, and the Grand Dame of Klamath Lake.  Call 831-475-7306 for reservations. You’ll also want to check out Rocky Point Resort. They offer southern Oregon’s finest facilities for fishing, hunting, boating, camping, RV camping, wildlife and photography enthusiasts. Beautiful sunsets and spectacular views make your delicious meal at the resort complete. Rocky Point Resort just celebrated its 100th Anniversary. For more information, call 541-356-2287.

Klamath falls

Located at the intersections of Hwy 140 and Hwy 97, Klamath Falls has a rich and sassy history. Local museums have richly preserved the past – visit the Klamath County Museum and the Baldwin Museum or Favell Museum – a western and native American artifact museum. A Downtown Old Town Walking Tour is a great way to see the diverse architectural, Art Décor, and murals depicting historical events and places. Klamath Falls is more than a great vacation destination – enjoy state-of-the-art business, education and medical facilities plus small town quality of life.

Lava Beds National Monument

You will find over 700 caves and many volcanic features, which resulted from a tectonic plate slowly sliding beneath the Pacific Ocean under the continental plate (hundreds of miles away).  Lava Beds sits on the northern flank of the Medicine Lake Shield Volcano.  Here you will also find Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields, as well as excellent bird watching opportunities to the north at the Tulelake and Lower Klamath Wildlife Refuges.  Contact the Lava Beds National Monument for more information at 530-667-8113.

Oux Kanee Scenic Overlook

Meaning “people of the lake”, you can see views of volcanic activity, falcons and red-tailed hawks, and the headwaters of Spring Creek, which contains Mare’s eggs, an endemic form of algae resembling small, brown jellyfish bodies.  You will see sweeping views of Mt. McLoughlin, Tableland, Pelican Butte, and the Williamson River.  To reach Oux Kanee Overlook, travel 33 miles north on Highway 97 from Klamath Falls to the top of Spring Creek Hill and then proceed west for one mile on Forest Road 9732.  Contact the Chiloquin Ranger District for more information at 541-783-4001.

Mountain Lakes Loop Trail

There is some controversy over the origins of this area.  Many believe that the Mountain Lakes Loop Recreation Area resides inside of a caldera, formed in much the same way as Crater Lake.  While it cannot be proved, it also cannot be completely refuted at this point and the geologic research is continuing in this area today.  This 7.2 mile trail offers views of 8 peaks, the remnants of heavily glaciated shield volcanoes, lava cones, and lakes.  Repeated glaciations shaped the land, gouging out of bed for many small lakes, known as cirque lakes or tarns, each with their own unique setting.  Contact the Klamath Ranger District for more information at 541-883-6714.

Mt. McLoughlin

Extensive glaciation on the northeast side of this composite volcano has exposed the interior structure, including two solidified conduits that once supplied lava to the summer crater.  The best estimate for its age is 100,000 years old.  A 7 mile path to its summit also links to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.  The peak of Mt. McLoughlin reaches up to 9,496 ft.  Contact the Klamath Ranger District for more information at 541-883-6714.

Crater Lake National Park

Seventy-seven hundred years ago, the soufflé=like collapse of Mt. Mazama, a composite volcano that stood at 12,000 feet, left a caldera that filled up with water and snow melt over a few centuries for form Crater Lake.  Crater Lake is the deepest fresh water lake (1,943 ft.) in the continental U.S.  Since the collapse, there have been several eruptions that have partially filled the lake (erupted under water) and one that boke the surface, Wizard Island.  Stop by the Steel Visitor Center for information to explore this 183,225 acre Park and watch a video.  541-594-3000.

So you want to visit Klamath County?

This guide will show you why Klamath is the perfect spot for your vacation!