Anyone who has been there will agree: Klamath County and Klamath Falls offers incredible outdoor experiences for any generation. Grandparents, kids, parents, and teens will all find something to love in this region of south central Oregon just north of the California border. Maybe it is the 300 days of sun that Klamath Falls receives each year, letting outdoor lovers explore a lifetime’s worth of wilderness bliss. It could be the cozy cabins or the historically rich museums. It might even be the delicious pies and desserts found in the restaurants. No matter what it will be for you, the outdoor recreation-loving town of Klamath Falls will become a favorite.
Klamath Falls, the largest city in the county, is a perfect basecamp for exploring this beautiful region of Oregon. Close to town, you can zipline through the woods, kayak on pristine lakes, bird watch at wild refuges, mountain bike, hunt, fish, mountain climb or just take a long hike through beautiful forests to alpine lakes. Need help deciding where to start? Real Oregon Experience (ROE) has numerous tours available for the entire family. Offering zip lines, fishing trips for all ages, hunting trips, and even kayaking adventures, you’ll see and experience the best of area. Klamath is also one of the best birding destinations in the country, and is home to more than 350 bird species. In the region, there are six National Wildlife Refuges, which can be explored on your own or with guides like ROE or Lonesome Duck.
One trip for everyone in the family is to Crater Lake National Park. The lake was created by an ancient volcano, which is now home to the deepest lake in the country. Incredibly beautiful, with family-friendly trails, restaurants, gift shops, and jaw-dropping views, this park is spectacular day or night. Crater Lake is known for being a world-class stargazing destination. What makes the trip to Crater Lake even better is that the whole family can sit back and enjoy the park, thanks to a two-hour trip with the Crater Lake Trolley, which takes visitors around the entire park without having to drive.
For those with older kids or a fit family looking for something more remote than Crater Lake, Klamath County has two wilderness regions, Sky Lakes and Mountain Lakes, which have incredible day hikes, gorgeous backpacking destinations, and even great backcountry fishing. If you’d rather just kick back at a lake and enjoy the water, nearby Crescent Lake, Odell Lake, and Lake of the Woods all have places to enjoy the shore or participate in your favorite water sport. Many also have places to eat, or lodge, as well.
While growing to a population above 40,000, Klamath Falls still has the feel of a small town. Welcoming shops line the streets, while old buildings and new mix near parks and bodies of water, making it an ideal walking community. The town and the rest of the county have a rich history, as seen through the area’s fantastic museums. In town, three museums each have a unique historical angle, and each is worth visiting to gain a glimpse of the soul of the area.
The Klamath County Museum is the main history museum for the county, answering most questions you may have about the region. Nearby, the underrated Baldwin Hotel Museum is an old hotel turned museum, where you can walk through the building and see artifacts and displays showing life in Klamath over time. Also in town is the Favell Museum, which has a great display of Native American artifacts and Western Art. Outside of town, the Collier Logging Museum highlights the logging history of the county, and the Fort Klamath Museum is on the site of a 19th century frontier military post.
Klamath isn’t just museums and family adventures. It has a wild side, too. For families with older kids, you can feel the adrenaline rush while racing down the hills on a bike, rafting down a wild river, or climbing up rock faces to the top of ridiculously gorgeous summits. Mountain bikers can take advantage of Hutch’s Bicycles, which rents all styles of bikes, and the staff can also recommend the best hills around the explore. Mount Thielsen is one of the best technical mountain climbs in the Klamath area, getting you to the top of a 9,184 foot shield volcano with an extremely iconic, pointy tip. You could also start hiking a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in Klamath County, if you desired. Many successful thru-hikers say that this area is one of their favorites. For those interested in the ride of a lifetime on the water, take a rafting trip down the wild and scenic Klamath River. You can enjoy whitewater thrills through most of the summer
Klamath County is where the Oregon meets the spirit of the Old West, and where rivers and trees meet ancient volcanoes and fields of lava rock. It is little wonder why so many families are discovering the awesome recreation found here. At the end of the day, the family can meet up after a day of adventures, regaling each other with tales of their day. For food and drink, consider meeting up at Nibbley’s for pie (and you should get the pie) or dinner and drinks at the Klamath Basin Brewing Company. Maybe both, depending on how much of an appetite you worked up. After dinner, drinks and desserts, it is time to head back to your home away from home. Like everything else you want, Klamath has you covered, with lodging options ranging from hotels to lodges or even your own small cabin at the Lake of the Woods Resort. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and get plenty of rest—tomorrow will be another sunny day of adventures around Klamath County.
Written by Douglas Scott for RootsRated Media in partnership with Discover Klamath Visitor and Convention Bureau.