Klamath Falls, Oregon attractions?
June 18, 2009 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Hiking, biking, camping in the Klamath Falls/Crater Lake, Southern Central Oregon area?

A friend and I will be spending about a week of outdoor appreciation in the Klamath Falls/Crater Lake area in central southern Oregon soon and I was wondering if anyone had any tips/advice/experiences to share. We're hoping to do a little bicycle touring with camping, any suggestions for that are welcome. (We've been advised to avoid biking on state route 140 in the area, for instance, because it's too narrow and busy.) We're fairly experienced campers and bike tourers, and since this is a "get in better shape" week, we're not adverse to fairly challenging experiences.
posted by telstar to Travel & Transportation around Klamath Falls, OR (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Lava Beds National Monument is about 50 miles from Klamath Falls, and there's lots to do there. Lots of caves to explore (bring good flashlights and hard hats), some seriously cool lava tubes, petroglyphs, and really neat recent history. I haven't camped there, but I drove through the campground and swore to go back and try it sometime.

It's also very remote and on barely-traveled roads, so I imagine you could do some serious biking.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:05 PM on June 18, 2009

Response by poster: We'll definitely take a look. We'll have our bike helmets with us, so that should suffice for hardhats, and our LED bike lights are very bright...who knew bicycle touring and spelunking went together so well? The remote roads sound good for biking, but it also sounds like we'll need to stock up on food and water before entering the area. Thanks for the tip!
posted by telstar at 1:56 PM on June 19, 2009

Best answer: I have fond memories of riding my bike around Diamond Lake, which is near Crater Lake. If memory serves, it's around a 6 mile ride. Camping's nice there too; my family went there several times when I was a kid. That was 15 years ago, though, so it may be a different experience now.
posted by soonertbone at 8:47 PM on June 25, 2009

Response by poster: The Lava Beds suggestion turned out well. The Lava Beds National Monument area is stunningly beautiful and there are good, sparsely trafficked roads to cycle on. The campground is well thought-out and comfortable. It turns out that bike touring and spelunking go together very well. I wore my bike helmet into the first cave we went in and I indeed bumped my head hard on the ceiling, with no injury because of the helmet. Bright LED bike headlights are good cave flashlights too. My bike shoes have heavy tread, so they were good for slippery cave floors. We also rode out to the petroglyphs one day, a good 40-mile round trip from the campground. Carry lots of water if you try that ride. I found the petroglyphs somewhat underwhelming, but the natural rock formations on which they are carved are otherworldly indeed.

This area also features Crater Lake to the north just across the Oregon border, another good place to bicycle. There was still plenty of snow on the ring road around Crater Lake in late June, so we couldn't ride the whole rim. Still, superlative scenery from the part of the road that was open and ridable. Crater Lake is awe-inspiring. The campgrounds and Crater Lake were extremely mosquito-ridden however, mosquito repellant is absolutely necessary in this area in late June.

Klamath Falls is a pleasant enough small town. Don't miss the Vietnamese restaurant out on 6th on the south side of town. Excellent food indeed, and the owner is very friendly. Good inexpensive place to stay was the Townhouse Motel also out on 6th. The downtown area looked pretty abandoned and slightly creepy by contrast.

Thanks for the suggestion of Diamond Lake, which arrived after I'd left, but I'm quite sure I'll be wanting to visit the area again, and I will try to check it out!
posted by telstar at 6:55 PM on June 30, 2009

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