Why Lake of the Woods Is Worth Visiting in the Off-Seasons
Sure, this high mountain lake nestled in the southern Oregon Cascades might be a mecca for summertime fishing, boating, and paddling. But in-the-know locals and savvy travelers know that visiting in the summer months really only barely scratches the surface in terms of what’s on offer year-round at Lake of the Woods.
Here, we’re unveiling why the shoulder seasons (fall, winter, and spring) are just as grand of times as ever to make a visit to this true Oregon gem. And with its convenient location just 45 minutes from Klamath Falls, getting there is a breeze. It’s leaving that’s the hard part.
Visiting Lake of the Woods in Fall
As the hot summer months give way to crisp autumn air and fall colors in the lower elevations, Lake of the Woods beckons with a more subdued kind of charm.
In other words, there are far fewer people as the seasons start to change! Which, right out of the gates, is one of the best aspects of Lake of the Woods during the shoulder seasons.
Here are a few others:
Daytime temperatures are still warm enough to partake in water-based activities (highs in the high 50’s and low 60’s).
Nighttime temperatures, meanwhile, are perfectly crisp. There’s no better time of year for campfires at Lake of the Woods—cold enough to crave a fire, yet not frigid enough to positively need one. AKA, justttt right.
The best things to do at Lake of the Woods in the fall include:
Lake of the Woods is an angler’s paradise. These inviting waters are home to rainbow, brown and eastern brook trout, yellow perch, Kokanee (salmon), largemouth bass, catfish, and more. Tackle and gear are available at the Resort as are angling licenses.
Put simply, the hiking on offer at Lake of the Woods is incredible. Sprawling throughout this land of evergreen forests, towering mountains, and crystal clear waters are dozens of world-class trails, including the world-famous Pacific Crest Trail only a 5-minute drive from the resort.
Camping & Glamping
Home to 35 cozy and vintage cabins as well as newly operated campgrounds at Lake of the Woods and Four Mile Lake, the lodging at Lake of the Woods is second to none. During the autumn months, the weather for camping is as good as it gets.
Visiting Lake of the Woods in Winter
Lake of the Woods from December to April is a true winter wonderland. We’re talking blankets of beautiful snow, sweet-smelling cedars, spruce, and firs, and warm, cozy cabins in which to unwind after a day of ice fishing or snowshoeing.
In terms of winter recreation on offer, the options are near-endless.
Lake of the Woods Resort works closely with the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to showcase a deliriously robust mix of snowmobiling trails throughout the area. In fact, there’s more than 300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails accessible just beyond the resort properties.
For human-powered powder adventures, the area also boasts a world-class network of cross-country and nordic skiing trails. Nestled between Lake of the Woods Resort and nearby Fish Lake Resort is an impressive trail system that you can connect via skis, snowshoes, or snowmobiles. The Summit Sno-Park Trailhead is a particularly great place to set off on a wintertime adventure.
Ice Skating & Ice Fishing
Still craving lake activities even in the dead of winter? Lake of the Woods offers fantastic ice skating and ice fishing opportunities. They even rent out pop-up ice houses for two to three people, with augurs available for rent as well.
Visiting Lake of the Woods in Spring
As winter begins its slow, steady march into the background and summer beckons with its promise of boat days and sunshine, Lake of the Woods in spring achieves a special kind of charm—a ‘best of all worlds’ draw, an overlap of shoulder season adventures.
Water-based recreation is back on the menu—or at least not far away. Hiking and trail running begin to replace snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ice skating. And the lodging opportunities begin to expand from 15 cabins available in winter to the 35 available during warmer months.
All in all, Lake of the Woods might be currently known for being an incredible summertime destination—and how could it not be known as such with its 1,250 acres of some of the cleanest, clearest waters in the Pacific Northwest! But the truth is, this is an adventure paradise and playground of the highest order no matter the season!
Written by Ry Glover for Matcha in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.