Adventure Guide

First-Timer’s Guide to Klamath

Make the most of your first trip to Klamath with these must-do activities and insider tips.

If you’re planning your first trip to Klamath, we’d understand if you’re not sure where to begin. You can, after all, visit Oregon’s only national park, hike through a lava tube, and spy migrating birds while paddling Upper Klamath Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Rocky Mountains—all in the same day. And that’s to say nothing of the great museums and refreshing brewpubs in the heart of downtown Klamath Falls.

That’s why we’ve put together a first-timer’s guide to Klamath—complete with essential activities, what makes each so special, what you’ll enjoy all year long, and how to get started. There’s a lot to love, and we’re excited to inspire a memorable trip with some of our most beloved destinations. So as you start planning, here’s a guide to the best things to do in Klamath Falls and across the region for first-time visitors.


Family Fun
Bird Watching
Cultural Attractions
National Parks
Snow Sports



Check Out Downtown Klamath Falls

Historic charm meets modern flair

It only makes sense to start your adventures in the heart of the region’s largest city: Klamath Falls. The city of 40,000 enjoys about 300 sunny days every year and is nicknamed “Oregon’s City of Sunshine”—giving Klamath Falls some of the best weather in Oregon. That makes the downtown core a fun place to enjoy easy hikes, learn about local history, kick back with cold craft beers, and more.

Start with a relaxing stroll on the Link River Trail—a mostly flat hiking path that follows its namesake waterway, which connects Upper Klamath Lake and Lake Ewauna; the path measures about 3 miles in all, though most hikers start at one of two trailheads and turn around after about one mile at Link River Falls—a series of roaring rapids and the namesake waterfalls in the city’s name.

After your short hike, learn about local history at the Favell Museum, which hosts more than 100,000 artifacts from Indigenous tribes across North and South America, as well as Western-inspired works from contemporary artists. Celebrate your day’s adventures over quality craft beer and hearty pub fare at Common Block Brewing Company, housed in a historic building that once hosted a creamery. Learn more about the top things to do in downtown Klamath Falls.

Visit Crater Lake National Park

Four seasons of fun await at Oregon’s only national park

Nearly 8,000 years ago, the mammoth Mount Mazama erupted in Southern Oregon, sending ash into the sky and lava down its once-forested slopes; eventually, the volcano emptied out and collapsed in on itself, leaving behind a caldera that filled with water over thousands of years. Crater Lake was born.

Today, Crater Lake National Park sits at the northern edge of Klamath and is Oregon’s only national park. The park’s southern entrance sits just an hour northwest of Klamath Falls, making it an easy day trip or quick overnight getaway. Once at the park, visitors can pull over a scenic viewpoints along the 33-mile Rim Drive (which circles the lake), hike to the base of the scenic Plaikni Falls (one of many thundering waterfalls near Crater Lake), take a boat tour that describes the lake’s natural history and may include a stop at Wizard Island, and enjoy the attractions at Rim Village—which include educational displays, a souvenir shop, and the historic Crater Lake Lodge.

The park is mostly snow-free between June and September, making it a popular summertime stop. In winter, when Rim Drive and most park facilities close to the public, dedicated visitors enjoy sightseeing from Rim Village, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling around the park’s snowy backcountry. Learn more about winter adventures at Crater Lake.

Savor Winter Adventures Around Klamath Falls

Go ice fishing, hop on a snowmobile, stay in a cozy cabin, and more

When the snow falls around Klamath in winter, a new season of outdoor adventure awaits across the region. Winter adventures across Klamath include ice fishing at Lake of the Woods (where Lake of the Woods Resort rents all the necessary fishing equipment and rooms for overnight stays), skiing and snowboarding at Willamette Pass, and enjoying an idyllic getaway at Odell Lake Lodge & Resort—which offers snowmobile rides to the rim of Crater Lake, horse-drawn sleigh rides, cozy lodge rooms, and more.

Head Underground at Lava Beds National Monument

Several caves and lava tubes offer a trip back in time

At the southern edge of the Klamath Basin, Lava Beds National Monument is home to scenic natural wonders above and below ground. The national monument sits on the northeastern flank of Medicine Lake Volcano—where generations of volcanic activity have created a network of more than 800 lava tubes just below the rocky surface.

Roughly 20 of those caves are open to the public for underground adventures, with options ranging from easy, mostly flat hikes to more challenging treks that may require crawling and route-finding. You should bring your own light sources, but loaner flashlights are available at the visitor center. Check out our list of 10 must-visit caves at Lava Beds to start planning your trip.

Aboveground, the national monument’s visitor center hosts a small gift shop and educational exhibits—and several hiking trails traverse the lava beds, showcase the monument’s disparate landscapes, and offer insight about the area’s Native American history.

Go Bird-Watching in Winter and Spring

Hundreds of thousands of birds flock to Klamath every year

Klamath sits along the Pacific Flyway, a key migratory bird route that stretches from Alaska (at its northernmost point) to Argentina (at its southern terminus). And our region’s national wildlife refuges, coupled with a rich variety of natural habitats, make it an ideal stopping point for bald eagles, geese, great blue herons, and other species of bird.

You can see birds across Klamath County all year long, but they’re most prolific in winter—when bald eagles, pelicans, and more frequent the open waters, marshlands, and wetlands of the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge—and in spring, where the Wood River Wetland hosts a wide variety of species. Learn how to get started with bird-watching in Klamath.

Enjoy a Relaxing Canoe or Kayak Trip on Upper Klamath Lake

Scenic views and wildlife await across the massive freshwater reservoir

At the northwestern edge of Upper Klamath Lake is the 9.5-mile Upper Klamath Canoe Trail. Think of the trail as similar to a hiking path—only one you paddle, instead of walk or run. The marked trail, open to canoes and kayaks alike, heads through wetlands, marshes, riparian forests, and open water while offering a glimpse of the region’s natural beauty.

Nearby hillsides and peaks rise from the shore, while signs of wildlife abound around every bend in the trail. Several species of bird patrol the trail, including geese and swans, and other wildlife sightings might include river otters, raccoons, muskrats, and even beavers. Rentals and tours are available from several local outfitters (including Rocky Point Resort, Explore Southern Oregon, and Crater Lake Zipline).

Discover the Top Annual Events in Klamath

Throughout the year, Klamath buzzes with an array of events that capture the essence of its unique culture and stunning natural landscapes. These events offer unique experiences for locals and visitors, from historical commemorations to exhilarating outdoor activities. Whether you're integrating these events into your travel plans or seeking local adventures, they provide an engaging way to explore Klamath's rich heritage, natural wonders, and vibrant community life.

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