Locals know it to be true and visitors to the region are just discovering it—Klamath County, Oregon, has some of the most scenic hikes on the West Coast. Located in the south-central part of the state, Klamath County features hiking trails with breathtaking panoramic views from volcanic peaks, unrivaled mountaintop vistas, and seemingly endless high-alpine lakes to wander and explore. Its home to Oregon’s only national park (Crater Lake), as well as numerous wilderness areas and National Forest Service lands. Stunning hikes are just a short drive (or walk) in any direction—and they will all remind you why this part of the country has become a top destination for anyone who loves the outdoors.
There may be no finer introduction to the Southern Cascades than the Sky Lakes Wilderness hike via the Cold Springs Trail. You’ll start out hiking through a wildfire-scorched forest and into the Sky Lakes Wilderness, gaining roughly 500 feet along the way, before arriving at the foot of numerous mountain lakes. Wildflowers line the banks every summer, and colorful fall foliage lights up the trail in early autumn.
Another great area for hikers to get acquainted with is the Mountain Lakes Wilderness Area. The gentlest route into the Mountain Lakes Wilderness is the Varney Creek Trail. You’ll start with a 4.4-mile walk that eventually meets the 7.5-mile Mountain Lakes Loop Trail. The loop trail continues past Lake Como to Lake Harriette, the area’s most popular day and overnight destination, and passes junctions with the South Pass, Aspen Butte, Clover Creek and Mountain Lakes trails before returning to the Varney Creek Trail. All the while you are immersing yourself in thick pine forest, beautiful alpine lakes, and summertime wildflower meadows. Truly one of the best ways to enjoy a trip to the Pacific Northwest.
Take time to embrace the natural beauty around you and escape into the wilderness in Klamath County. Whether you are a hiking expert or a hiking novice, there are plenty of trail options from which to choose. You’ll find hiking and biking trails crisscrossing the region (including the famed Pacific Crest Trail). So, head out and hit the trails and have the most memorable and safest time possible.