Summertime in Oregon is fantastic. Fresh pine trees scent the air. We enjoy brilliant blue skies by day and star-packed skies at night, both in a warm, comfortable climate. Oregon’s scenic beauty, relaxed attitude, and recreational opportunities provide much-needed renewal from the day-to-day grind of larger, more-hectic city lifestyles. It’s no wonder Oregon is increasingly a first-choice destination.
So, with all that Oregon offers during the summer months how does one decide where to go and what to do?
The latest travel research shows people want new and unique experiences. The same-old touristy destinations and experiences are falling away to new and more unique activities that capture the hearts and minds of today’s high-tech, mobile-enabled travelers.
Klamath County – in the heart of the Cascade Mountains in Southern Oregon - is just the sort of place that provides recreational uniqueness. With more than 6,000 square miles of recreational wonderland, Klamath County offers activities for novice to seasoned adventurers.
For An Easy-Going Trip:
The best way to see Southern Oregon is by driving the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (VLSB). It is just one of 31 “All-American Roads” in the USA. Well marked and easy to drive, bring your camera because you will be stopping frequently to capture photos of snow-capped peaks, bald eagles and hawks, beautiful lakes and rivers, and amazing scenery.
At the northern end of the VLSB is Crater Lake National Park, Oregon’s only national park. Enter the South entrance then cruise the 34-mile rim drive, stopping at one of the many overlooks to gaze into the deepest lake in North America. Or, for a small fee, leave the driving to the Crater Lake Trolley Company to navigate you around the lake. Or, hike down the Cleetwood Cove trail to the edge of the lake and take a boat ride to remember. See the water from a perspective few have experienced.
For Light to Moderate Adventure Seekers:
For more adventure, visit Lava Beds National Monument just south of Klamath Falls. With more than 770 caves, you’ll be in for a lot of fun. Bring a sweater because while it may be 90 degrees on the surface, these subterranean caves become icy cold. The Park Interpretive Center loans free helmets and lanterns. Skull Cave is one of the deepest and is aptly named because skulls were found frozen in the ice at the bottom of the cave many decades ago.
Camping and hiking are staples of Klamath County. The famous Pacific Crest Trail, running from Canada to Mexico, cuts a swath through Klamath County, offering some of the best high mountain hiking anywhere. The Sky Lakes Wilderness area allows you to escape for several days where you are unlikely to see another person. You’ll encounter more lakes and friendly animals than people. And finally, there are state parks, such as Collier State Park, complete with firewood, hot showers, and other amenities. Collier Park, set on the banks of the Williamson River, is famous for its historical logging museum, and for the trophy trout.
For All-Out Adrenaline Junkies:
For serious hikers and climbers, Mount McLoughlin should be on your bucket list. Accessible during summer months only, you’ll need to start early to summit and return in one day. Go it on your own, or, hire a guide – either way the views from the top are amazing. Bonus: There is a geocache at the top that will surprise you.
Nothing gets the adrenaline going faster than white water rafting. And there is a reason it’s call “Wild and Scenic.” On the Klamath River, just outside Klamath Falls, you will experience Class 2, 3 and 4 rapids among some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery anywhere. Access is a little tricky, so it is best to work with a guide, such as Roe Outfitters, who knows the lay of the land.
When you arrive in Klamath County, you will also find no shortage of nationally known and recognized lodging and dining choices. Klamath is easily accessible by United Airlines, Amtrak and major freeways.
When you spend a portion of your summer in Klamath County, you will leave with a sense of renewal and lots of excellent memories of what life is supposed to be.