Klamath's winter is not merely a dip in temperature but a call to the wild-hearted and the spirited adventurers. As the snow blankets the landscape, it transforms peaks and valleys into a canvas of boundless potential. The area comes alive with the roar of snowmobiles, the crunch of snowshoes, and the laughter from the ice rink. It's a place where each activity offers a different way to enjoy the season's chill and where every visit is an opportunity to create lasting memories.
Klamath is a snowmobiler's paradise, offering a vast network of over 360 miles of groomed trails, thanks to the Klamath Basin Snowdrifters Club. The Great Meadow Sno-Park on Highway 140 and the Annie Creek Sno-Park near Crater Lake provide extensive trails, a warming shelter, and amenities for a comfortable adventure. Pelican Butte and Crater Lake National Park offer unique snowmobiling experiences with trails leading to stunning views and challenging climbs, while Walt Haring Sno-Park near Chemult connects riders to a scenic network leading to Miller Lake.
Odell Lake Lodge & Resort serves as a thrilling snowmobiling haven with trails to Crater Lake's rim, offering rentals and guided tours for all experience levels. Whether you're seeking a serene glide through snowy forests or an exhilarating climb to breathtaking summits, Klamath County's snowmobiling scene delivers an exceptional blend of adventure and scenic beauty, ensuring every winter visit is packed with excitement and unforgettable vistas.
Crater Lake in Winter
Crater Lake National Park transforms into a winter wonderland with an astonishing average of 512 inches of snow each year, making it one of the snowiest inhabited places in America. This deep blanket of snow creates a serene and otherworldly landscape, offering visitors a unique opportunity to engage with nature's quiet beauty.
During the winter months, while many of the park's facilities hibernate under the snow, the lake itself can often be viewed in fair weather, presenting a stark contrast of deep blue waters against the white expanse. For the adventurous, the park offers weekend snowshoe hikes led by rangers, a popular activity that starts in December and continues through late April. Reservations for these treks can be made in advance, ensuring a guided experience through the pristine snowscapes. Cross-country skiing enthusiasts have access to a variety of trails along the closed Rim Drive, catering to different skill levels and providing ample opportunities for backcountry camping with the appropriate permits. Snowmobilers aren't left out of the fun; they're welcome on the North Entrance Road up to the North Junction, offering another exhilarating way to experience the park's snowy splendor. Visitors are reminded to check the latest conditions for potential avalanche dangers or closed areas, ensuring a safe and enjoyable visit to this snowy paradise. Although the roads are plowed daily, it’s always best to prepare for winter driving conditions within the park.
XC Skiing and Snowshoeing
All across Klamath winter landscapes beckon cross-country skiers and snowshoers to its snowy mountains and trails. Crater Lake National Park, a winter wonderland, invites visitors to partake in ranger-led snowshoe hikes or to glide across the pristine snow on cross-country skis, with the convenience of snowshoe rentals available at the Rim Village Gift Shop. The Walt Haring Sno-Park, nearby Crater Lake in Chemult, provides groomed trails for a classic skiing experience.
For those seeking a more intimate connection with the wilderness, Odell Lake Lodge & Resort allows guests to embark directly from their doorstep onto groomed trails set against a backdrop of vast landscapes and towering mountains. Klamath is undeniably a top destination for those looking to explore the serene beauty of Oregon's winters through cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Whether you’re an experienced snowshoer or a first-timer, Lake of the Woods resort has rentals available for those needing gear. There are also great trails and meadows nearby the resort or head right out onto the frozen lake.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Embarking on a skiing or snowboarding adventure in Klamath is not just about the thrill; it's also an opportunity for an affordable winter escapade, whether you're a novice learning to navigate the slopes or an expert chasing the perfect run.
The thrill of the descent awaits at Willamette Pass, where a range of runs cater to ALL skill levels of boarders and skiers. The famed RTS (Real Tough Stuff) run awaits for the daredevils. At a 52-degree decline, it’s Oregon’s steepest (one of steepest in the nation, too) and at one time was home to the U.S. Speed Skiing Championships, where a record 116mph run was recorded. Whether you’re tackling RTS, or setting out on slopes perfect for first-time learners, Willamette Pass Ski Resort offers a diversity of terrain sure to satisfy every visitor. Not to mention, the high-speed six passenger lift—the only one of its kind in the state—whisks adventurers to the start of their alpine journey with the added allure of twilight and night skiing.
Winter Events and Festivals
Klamath County is not just a winter sports paradise; it's also a hub of vibrant events that bring the community and visitors together to celebrate the season's joys. Mark your calendars for the Kite Festival at Lake of the Woods, which takes place on Valentine’s Day weekend each February on top of the frozen lake. Following closely is the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fishing weekend from February 15-17, an ice fishing extravaganza where you can rent huts and augers for a chill thrill.
The heart of Klamath's winter festivities beats strongest during the Klamath Snowflake Festival. Since 1984, this traditional celebration has been the herald of the Christmas season, offering over two weeks of diverse events. The festival is a tapestry of entertainment and activities woven together by community groups, culminating in the much-anticipated Snowflake Parade. This festival is not just an event; it's a 39-year-old community tradition that ignites the magic of Christmas. It's a time when the air is filled with the aroma of hot cocoa, the sparkle of the city's tree lighting ceremony, and the sound of musical celebrations. From the gingerbread house contest to craft displays, the Klamath Snowflake Festival is a time-honored tradition that continues to create cherished memories for new generations. Join us in 2023 to partake in the festivities and make your own special memories in the heart of Klamath County.
Winter Wonders Below
Lava Beds National Monument is a year-round haven for caving enthusiasts, offering a unique adventure through the extensive network of lava-tube caves formed by the Medicine Lake Volcano. Despite the winter chill, the steady interior temperature of the lava tube caves means that most caving destinations remain open year-round, inviting visitors to explore the fascinating subterranean world beneath the rugged high-desert landscape. With over 800 caves, Lava Beds boasts the largest concentration of lava tubes in North America, providing a variety of caving experiences suitable for all levels, from the well-lit and easy-to-navigate Mushpot Cave to the more challenging and remote Catacombs Cave.
Winter visitors are treated to a starkly beautiful contrast between the snowy surface and the caves' deep darkness. While the surface world is blanketed in snow, the caves maintain their timeless allure, safeguarding unique ecosystems and geological wonders. Visitors are reminded to respect the delicate cave environments and the hibernating bat populations, ensuring that these natural treasures remain for future generations to explore and appreciate.
Bill Collier Ice Arena
The Bill Collier Ice Arena near Klamath Falls is a hub of winter activity, welcoming everyone from first-time skaters to seasoned ice athletes. Open Skate sessions are the heart of the arena, inviting skaters of all experience levels to glide across the ice against a backdrop of stunning open-air views. Broomball offers a fun and competitive alternative for those looking for a twist on traditional ice sports, requiring no skates but plenty of enthusiasm.
Hockey enthusiasts can find their place here, too, whether it’s during Stick and Puck sessions to practice their skills, engaging in friendly competition during pick-up hockey, or watching the energy and excitement of local leagues. The arena provides a nurturing environment for younger visitors with Learn to Play Hockey programs, perfect for kids who dream of becoming the next ice hockey star. These sessions are a fantastic opportunity for local children or those on extended stays to immerse themselves in the sport. Curious about the increasingly popular sport of curling? Learn to Curl lessons are also available for novices eager to throw their first stone.
Nestled within the Running Y Resort, the unique tensile fabric and pavilion-style roof of the arena shields skaters from the elements while offering a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding winter landscape. Since its opening in January 2002, the arena has continued Klamath Basin's rich tradition of outdoor skating. Whether you want to learn, play, skate, or simply enjoy the winter atmosphere, the Bill Collier Ice Arena is a perfect destination for the winter season.
Embrace the full Klamath experience and explore outdoor adventures in every season. Picture a day that starts with a refreshing hike, leads to an afternoon kayaking on crystal-clear waters, and concludes with a tranquil evening by a lakeside campfire. Our "Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in Klamath" article is your perfect companion to expand your exploration, offering everything from exhilarating mountain biking to serene birdwatching. Dive into this guide to spark seasonal curiosity with Klamath's diverse array of natural wonders, ensuring a rich and unforgettable outdoor experience.