Located in Southeastern Oregon, Klamath Falls is approximately 80 miles from the nearest major airport in Medford. You can also fly to Portland, Oregon, and enjoy the 294 mile drive through southern Oregon.
Here are my nine suggestions on how to have a perfect weekend in beautiful Klamath Falls, Oregon.
Disclaimer: I was hosted on this trip by Discover Klamath and Travel Southern Oregon. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
All things to do in Klamath Falls
1. Marvel at the beauty of the crater lake
Marvel at the breathtaking scenery of Crater Lake National Park, the country’s deepest lake set in the beauty of the Cascade Mountains. From Klamath Falls, head north on Hwy 97 to Hwy 62 and follow to the South Park entrance. There is also a shuttle bus from Klamath Falls.
The south entrance is open all year round. The North Entrance and Rim Drive are closed during the winter – generally reopening July through October. Although we visited in early May there are still some wonderful views during the rest of the seasons.
Sit back and enjoy the Crater Lake Trolley, a narrated 2-hour ride around Rim Drive. Learn about the history, animals, plants and topography of the region.
You can check the Crater Lake webcam for up to date weather conditions.
Pro tips: The best time of year to see Crater Lake is from summer to fall. In early May, there is still a lot of snow along Crater Lake. The road is limited to about 1 mile in distance, but one can still capture the beauty of the site. The best and least crowded viewing site in May is behind the Rim Village Visitor Center. The roads can be snowy and icy, so be prepared. The cost to enter the national park is $ 30 per car or $ 20 for seniors.
2. Fly like an eagle on the Crater Lake zipline
Crater Lake Zipline features nine ziplines over a 1.5 mile course. The guided tour lasts 2-3 hours and includes two suspension bridges and two tree abseils. Participants must be 10 years old and weigh between 70 and 250 pounds. You will be amazed by the view of Mt. Mclaughlin and the Cascade Mountains.
Sasquatch Hollow is a 1.5 hour program for children ages 5 to 12.
The site is located just south of Crater Lake National Park on Oregon Highway 140.
One must reserve.
3. Explore six national wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin
The six National Wildlife Refugees are easily accessible by car from Klamath Falls. The Klamath Basin Bird Watching Trail is located on the Pacific Flyway. Over 350 species of birds have been sighted in the area, including one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles in the continental United States. Sunset Magazine has honored Klamath Basin as one of the top five birding destinations in the West.
Stop at visitor centers for brochures, exhibits, and automotive business cards. Each season has a particular fauna of reproduction and rest. Check out the highlights of the season here. Photographers: Contact the shelter headquarters for information on photographic blinds.
Klamath Wingwatchers is an organization whose mission is to educate the public about the wonders of the Klamath Basin. They established a 2.5 mile trail near downtown Klamath Falls. Here are links to the interpretive guide and native plant brochures.
Look for the annual February event called the Winter Wing Festival, a 3-day festival with the Klamath Audubon Society celebrating the Pacific Flyway and Klamath Basin.
Meet Steve, the Ranger of the Lower Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge, at the Visitor Center. Learn about the wetlands of the Klamath Basin, the best times to visit the refuge, and the challenges the refuge faces.
4. Walking tour of the historic city center
Learn about the history of Klamath Falls on a self-guided downtown tour. In addition to information on historic buildings, learn about the past through public art. Six murals depict historic logging, Kingsley Field, Crater Lake, the impact of rail transportation, early Native American fishing villages, and Klamath Basin agriculture.
Also look for Bird Boxes, a project that embellishes utility boxes with paintings of birds found in Klamath Basin. This project was recently recognized by Oregon Main Street as “Best Downtown Beautification Project”.
5. Explore Native American artifacts and Western art at the Favell Museum
Continue your walk through the historic downtown area and cross the bridge to the Favell Museum, known for Western art and Native American artefacts, located at 125 W. Main Street. Named one of the nation’s best western museums by Frommers, this is a must visit in Klamath Falls. Explore the huge collection of arrowheads, prehistoric hunting kits, Indigenous artifacts, and early Western art, all assembled by Gene and Winnifred Havell.
Pro tips: No photos are allowed in the museum. I recommend you buy the book: A Treasure of Our Western Heritage: Favell Museum, Inc. featuring Western art and Native American artefacts by Barry L. Syler. It is available in the gift shop. Plan to spend at least 3 hours here. There is so much to see.
6. Tee off at Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course
Located at the Running Y Ranch, the 18-hole golf course is the only Arnold Palmer Signature golf course in Oregon. It also has a full-service golf shop offering world-class instruction and a challenging 18-hole miniature golf course; Hole # 9 is a fan favorite due to the majestic views of the mountains and the ranch.
Pro tip: Golfers, due to the elevation in the Klamath Falls area the air is thinner so your ball travels 7% farther!
7. Watch a performance at the Ross Ragland Theater and Cultural Center: an Art Deco theater
A downtown landmark, the Ross Ragland Theater and Cultural Center features performances by nationally recognized artists and local productions. The ultramodern center, with fabulous acoustics and sightlines, can accommodate over 700 seats and is wheelchair accessible. Neon lighting was dark for a number of years, but has now returned to its glow.
8. Spend a day fishing
Anglers love to fish in the Upper Klamath Lake area. You can explore spring streams, rushing rivers, and mountain lakes to land trout (rainbow, creek, and brown), bass, crappie, kokanee, and mackinaw.
Pro tip: Anglers 18 years of age and older need an Oregon fishing license. Check out this link for more information and to purchase.
9. Stop for a sip at a craft brewery
Locals have three favorite stops for an infusion. The first to enter the brewing scene in Klamath Falls was Mia & Pia’s Pizzeria and Brewery. They present a number of beers on tap and launch a new brew each season.
Look for the iconic blue cow sign downtown for the Klamath Basin Brewing Company. The Skyline Brewing Company is located on a family farm just south of Klamath Falls. The farm takes pride in its sustainable practices such as using used grain for cow feed and reusing hops and yeast used as fertilizer.
Restaurants à Klamath Falls
Restaurant Ruddy Duck
Enjoy dinner at the Ruddy Duck Restaurant located in the Lodge at Running Y Ranch Resort. Dine indoors, with floor and ceiling views, or outside on the expansive patio overlooking hole # 10 of the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course. Start your meal with the buffalo meatballs, topped with a delicious cream sauce and mushroom brandy. We followed with a classic Caesar salad and bread. There are various main dishes, including pasta plates, braised short ribs, pan-roasted cod, a bison burger, and fish and chips. I enjoyed the shrimp linguine, tasty shrimp with a shallot cream sauce. Enjoy the warm personalities of the waiters and the chef.
A leap of taste
As you stroll through the historic city center, stop for lunch or coffee at A Leap of Taste. They offer a delicious selection of coffees, espressos, pastries and sandwiches, as well as local items such as chocolates, cheeses and handmade gifts.
Real taste of India
For authentic Indian cuisine, dine at Real Taste of India, located at Running Y Ranch Resort. The full menu features popular East Indian dishes like shrimp masala, lamb curry, and excellent chicken dishes like Malai Kabob Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, and Tikka Chicken. Make sure to order the Garlic Naan. Vegetarian options are also available. We enjoyed the outside seating overlooking the ranch and the fresh mountain air.
Hôtels Klamath Falls
The Running Y Ranch Resort is a great resort hotel and base for visiting Klamath Falls. The luxurious reception welcomes you and the friendly staff will welcome you. Our spacious room with a balcony overlooking the golf course was the perfect setting for a glass of wine after a busy day. There are a number of amenities available at the Running Y Ranch, including the Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course and Ruddy Duck Restaurant, both previously described; refined cuisine unique to Running Y’s Greenhouse; the Sandhill Spa, a sports and fitness center, and horseback riding along Klamath Lake; plus 8 miles of paved hiking trails and miles of unpaved hiking trails on Skillet Handle. There is also a Grab and Go café-bar at reception.
Klamath Falls is indeed a hidden gem. Now that you know all the gems of the area, start planning your trip now! You will be glad you did. For more information on Klamath Falls, visit DiscoverKlamath.com.