Klamath County occupies roughly 6,000 square miles in the shadow of the Cascade Range—roughly the size of the Big Island in Hawaii and half the size of Belgium. Across that span, and throughout the broader Klamath Basin, you’ll encounter crystal-clear lakes in the heart of the Cascades, Oregon’s only national park, towering old-growth forests, hundreds of underground caves, verdant farmland, and otherworldly lava flows. It’s a lot to take in—likely more than you can squeeze in on your next vacation to Klamath. So instead of crisscrossing the county in a mad dash to see it all, why not slow down and dive into a specific region over the course of a few days?
Winter Weekends in the Cascade Range
For a quintessential winter experience, book a cabin or lodge room at Odell Lake Lodge & Resort at the base of the Cascades; cabins come with full kitchens and can sleep up to 16, while lodge rooms offer sweeping views of Odell Lake.
From there, you can spend an entire weekend enjoying the resort’s winter attractions—including groomed cross-country skiing trails, snowmobile rentals (with trails that ascend to the rim of Crater Lake), and Clydesdale horse-drawn sleigh rides. If you’d rather get cozy and keep warm, Odell Lake Lodge & Resort hosts a stone fireplace that’s surrounded by several comfortable couches and chairs.
Roughly six miles away, just beyond the western edge of Odell Lake, sits Willamette Pass Resort—home to 29 trails totaling more than 1,500 feet of vertical drop and over 12 miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails. From the Willamette Pass summit, skiers and snowboarders enjoy 360-degree views that include nearby Cascade peaks and numerous alpine lakes.
Spring Outings Around the Klamath Basin
Spring is a magical time across the Klamath Basin: The season’s first crops start sprouting, wildflower blooms bring colorful displays to local trails, and breezy afternoons invite outdoor exploration. Make Running Y Resort your home base for adventure; there, you’ll find an acclaimed eatery (Ruddy Duck Restaurant, serving farm-to-table fare), a scenic Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, a relaxing spa, and a comfortable mix of lodge rooms and vacation homes to accommodate groups of all sizes.
The resort’s many offerings include horseback rides around the property. Private guided trail rides are available for all experience levels, with rides lasting one to two hours; each trip features views of Upper Klamath Lake and the chance to spot wildlife (such as deer, pelicans, and bald eagles). Lessons are also available—and can be altered to fit the needs and skills of a specific rider.
In the heart of Klamath Falls, meanwhile, active adventurers can rent a ride from Zach’s Bikes and hop on the OC and E Woods Line State Trail. The 100-mile rail-to-trail conversion begins in Klamath Falls and eventually stretches into the forests at the eastern edge of the Klamath Basin—although portions of the trail burned in a 2021 wildfire and remain closed today; even around Klamath Falls, views include wildflower blooms, Mount Shasta to the south, and the lazy Lost River. Note that the first 7.5 miles are paved before turning to gravel and is a great out and back option for those riding with children. Get a feel for the trail with our deep dive on the OC and E Woods Line State Trail.
Further afield is the Lava Beds National Monument, where a mixture of hiking trails and caving experiences await atop (and inside) the Medicine Lake shield volcano. In all, the monument comprises more than 800 caves (with underground paths suited to cavers of all comfort and experience levels), aboveground hiking trails that offer wide-open views, a visitor center chockablock with historical and geological insight, and more.
Summertime Outdoor Adventures
Summer is the busiest, most popular season in Klamath County, and it’s easy to see why: Long days of sunshine give way to crisp evenings under the stars, alpine lakes invite tired hikers to take a dip, and bucolic waterways beckon with excellent fishing, plentiful paddling, and wildlife-watching. Whatever your preferred activities, Crater Lake Resort makes an excellent place to start your adventure; sitting less than a half-hour from the southern entrance station at Crater Lake National Park, the quiet resort hosts cabins, tent and RV sites, and even glamping tents for a luxe experience.
Given the resort’s close proximity to Crater Lake, it makes sense to begin there. Oregon’s only national park is home to the deepest lake in the United States (measuring 1,943 feet at its deepest point); admire its beauty while driving the 33-mile Rim Drive around the lake’s perimeter, enjoy an up-close look from a boat tour, get a feel for the park’s topography along several scenic hiking trails, or enjoy the sunset from Rim Village. For more, read our ultimate guide to Crater Lake National Park.
Further south, the Sky Lakes Wilderness comprises a trio of lake basins noted for their clarity, purity, and cleanliness. Several hiking trails head to the shores of these lakes, which are all popular swimming holes in summer. Get the skinny on the Sky Lakes Wilderness, and learn more about the wilderness areas of Klamath County.
And if you’re looking to hop in your canoe or kayak, visit Jackson F. Kimball State Recreation Site at the headwaters of the remarkably clear Wood River. A typically slow flow makes it easy to try fishing for brown trout (which are abundant), watch for wildlife, and admire the mix of meadows and forests that line the river's banks. If you don't have your own craft, Sky Lakes Wilderness Adventures offers a three-hour guided float that covers several miles of the Wood River.
Fall Fun Around Klamath County
Embrace the changing season—including brisk afternoons, colorful foliage displays, and the season’s last harvest—with an autumn outing to Klamath County. Snow doesn’t typically arrive until late October (and rarely sticks for more than a morning until mid-November), making fall an excellent time to enjoy a cool trip to the Cascade Range.
Start by booking a tent site, RV site, or comfortable cabin at Lake of the Woods Resort, which sits on the shore of its namesake lake. There you can rent a motorboat, stand-up paddleboard, or kayak for a relaxing day on the lake; try fishing for perch, trout, kokanee, catfish, and more; stretch your legs on a relaxing hike through the surrounding forests; and enjoy a filling meal from an on-site restaurant dishing classic American fare.
Just 15 minutes to the northeast, enjoy some high-flying thrills at Crater Lake Zipline—where the fun includes a guided treetop tour that spans nine ziplines, a kid-friendly course with four ziplines, and a few axe throwing lanes in the heart of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
For a scenic hike nearby, check out the captivating Brown Mountain Lava Flow. The 6-mile (round-trip) hike departs from the Summit Sno-Park/Trailhead before turning southbound onto the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). From there, it darts between forests of fir and full-blown lava fields on a trail of red cinder while gradually gaining about 600 feet of elevation. Since it's on the PCT, there’s no real stopping point; turn around when the path starts to descend and head into a thick forest—or whenever you feel like it. Up-close views of Mount McLoughlin await on the return trip. For other trails in the area, check out our list of trails to hike, bike and explore.
What do you picture when you envision the classic Pacific Northwest lake experience? Find it here! Klamath is home to Oregon's finest lakes and a diverse and plentiful array of lake experiences to choose from. Each lake in Klamath radiates its unique charm, ensuring every visitor finds their perfect lakeside moment. From adrenaline-pumping water activities to tranquil sandy retreats, Klamath offers many lake experiences that are second to none.