Klamath Falls (sometimes called Klamath by locals) is a small Southern Oregon city found in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Range. Klamath Falls at the southern end of Klamath Lake in the large Klamath Basin. Klamath enjoys quite spectacular views. Snow-covered Mount Shasta, one of the most prominent peaks in the United States, can be seen on the southern horizon, and the outlying areas are filled with acres of farmland. Popular with outdoor enthusiasts, birdwatchers, history buffs, and rural America, Klamath Falls is a place many people are glad they didn't miss.
Klamath Falls is surrounded by two lakes and two rivers. It was founded as Linkville in 1867 at the mouth of the short Link River, which drains Klamath Lake into Lake Ewauna. In turn, Lake Ewauna is the source of the Klamath River, one of only two rivers that cross the Cascade Mountains, a distinction shared with the great Columbia River. Linkville changed its name to Klamath Falls in 1893 and incorporated in 1905.
Locals like to joke about tourists and other outsiders naively asking, "Where are the falls?" The fact is, Klamath Falls got its name from rapids on the Link River. The average person who saw these rapids nowadays might wonder who on earth would call them "falls," especially due to a small hydroelectric dam on the river dropping the water level, making the white water at the rapids less remarkable. Although this is probably what most locals mean when they joke, "Where are the falls?", a few are truly clueless and may just be flaunting their ironically naive understanding of "the truth"—in which case, the joke's on them!
- Discover Klamath, 205 Riverside Dr, ☎ +1 541-882-1501, toll-free: +1-800-445-6728. Klamath County's official tourist agency. Find maps and brochures for nearby attractions here.
The closest airport with commercial service to Klamath Falls is Rogue Valley International–Medford Airport (IATA: MFR), 1000 Terminal Loop Pkwy, Medford, ☎ +1 541-772-8068. This airport, Oregon's third busiest, is a 78-mile (125 km) drive west of Klamath Falls. Klamath-bound passengers arriving in Medford can take the Klamath Shuttle, which drops off at the Amtrak station and the Klamath Shuttle office, or rent a car and drive east via Highway 140.
Klamath Falls has its own airport 5 miles (8 km) southeast of downtown, Crater Lake–Klamath Regional Airport (IATA: LMT), 3000 Airport Way, ☎ +1 541-883-5372. Commercial air service ceased here in 2014, but city officials have reached a tentative deal with Peninsula Airways. Under this deal, PenAir would begin daily round-trip flights to and from Portland by November 3. This airport is part of Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base. Kingsley Field is an alternative landing site for a space shuttle.
US Route 97, sometimes called The Dalles–California Highway in Oregon, a major north–south highway in the western US, is the main highway through Klamath Falls. Highway 97 provides connections to Weed, California to the south, and to Bend, central Washington, and Osoyoos and further points north in British Columbia, Canada.
Oregon Route 140 runs east–west through Klamath Falls. Its western terminus is White City, near Medford in the Rogue Valley. It runs east to Lakeview and northwestern Nevada, bringing visitors to Klamath Falls via Winnemucca, Nevada from points east like Salt Lake City, Utah.
Klamath Falls can be accessed from Interstate 5 by four different routes:
- From Eugene and points north, take Oregon Route 58 east from Eugene at I-5 Exit 188, and then drive south on Highway 97.
- From the northern Rogue Valley, leave the Interstate near Central Point or Medford and take Highway 140 from White City.
- From the southern Rogue Valley, take Highway 66 from Ashland at I-5 Exit 14.
- From Weed and points south, take Highway 97 north from Weed at I-5 Exit 747.
The Amtrak Coast Starlight, which runs from Seattle to Los Angeles, serves the Klamath Falls Amtrak station (KFS), 1600 Oak Ave, ☎ +1 541-884-2822. The station is open 7:30AM–11AM and 8:30PM–10PM daily. One northbound train departs at 8:17AM daily, and one southbound train departs at 10PM daily. Klamath Falls is one of three fresh-air stops in Oregon, meaning that passengers are allowed to step off the train to stretch, get fresh air, or smoke.
The bus station is located a block west of the Amtrak train station at Spring St & Oak Ave:
- Southwest Point (Klamath Shuttle), 445 S Spring St (One block west of the Amtrak Station @ Spring St & Oak Ave), ☎ +1 541 883-2609. serves Southern Oregon, including the Medford area, Grants Pass, and the coastal towns of Crescent City, California and Brookings. Transfer to/from Greyhound Lines and the Rogue Valley Airport (for additional airlines) in Medford.
- Sage Stage, (base address) 111 W North St; Alturas, CA 96101 (picks up at the Southwest Point bus station at 445 S Spring St (see above)), ☎ +1 530 233-6410. Arrives from Alturas, California, offering connections from Alturas to Redding, Susanville, and Reno. Transfer to/from Greyhound in Redding and Reno.
Klamath Falls is fairly easy to navigate by car. Downtown has a small network of one-way streets. Major thoroughfares include Main Street, Klamath Avenue, Oregon Avenue, California Avenue, South 6th Street (one branch of Highway 39), East Main Street, Washburn Way, the Crater Lake Parkway (the other branch of Highway 39), Shasta Way, Homedale Road, and the Southside Bypass (Highway 140).
Some streets have directions (South 6th Street, East Main St, etc.). Numbered streets are divided by Main Street into north and south, but otherwise there is little logic to the system. For example, Main Street extends east to Crater Lake Parkway, but before it gets there, East Main Street branches off and runs southeast, then south, to South 6th Street.
Basin Transit Service (BTS) provides bus public transit around Klamath Falls. BTS is in service Monday through Friday from 6:30AM to 7:30PM, and Saturday from 10AM to 4:30PM. Bus fare is $1.50 per trip (75¢ for senior and disabled riders), with transfer slips available. A day pass costs $3; it saves money to get one if you know you will take the bus at least twice in the day (or at least four times if you pay discounted fare).
Two mainline routes (1 and 2) run from the Oregon Institute of Technology at the north end of town to the south end. Four feeder routes (3/5 and 4/6) connect with the mainline routes at two transfer stations downtown (7th and Pine) and at the Klamath County Fairgrounds (South 6th and Altamont).
Downtown is walkable, but Klamath Falls in general is spread out and not very walkable.
Numerous bike paths run all over the city, providing a full day's worth of biking. The local buses have bike racks on the front bumper.
Klamath Falls is one of the gateway cities to Crater Lake National Park, a 60-mile (97 km) drive. Crater Lake is a crystal-clear lake in the caldera of what used to be Mount Mazama, a volcano that violently erupted about 7,700 years ago. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and among the ten deepest lakes in the world, and Crater Lake National Park is Oregon's only national park.
- Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main St, ☎ +1 541-883-4208. Tu–Sa 9AM–5PM. Has many artifacts and relics from pioneer days, along with many Native American items and natural history exhibits. The museum also owns the Baldwin Hotel Museum and Fort Klamath outside of town.
- Baldwin Hotel Museum, 31 Main St, ☎ +1 541-883-4207. Memorial Day weekend–Labor Day weekend W–Sa 10AM–4PM. Established in 1907 by George Baldwin, an influential businessman and politician, and father of locally prominent photographer Maud Baldwin, whose studio is on the fourth floor. The plumbing and electric conduits can be easily seen throughout the building; electricity and indoor plumbing were still somewhat of a luxury at the turn of the 20th century, and Baldwin wanted to flaunt these amenities. It operated as a hotel from 1909 to 1977. Guided tours are available; the last one of the day starts at 2:30PM.
- Moore Park. The largest park in Oregon offers hiking and mountain biking trails, tennis courts, and deer sightings.
- Veterans Memorial Park. This downtown park on the Lake Ewauna waterfront hosts a memorial to veterans, as well as a display for the Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive #2579, a 2-8-0 "Consolidation" steam locomotive built in 1906 and donated to the city in 1957.
- Ella Redkey Municipal Pool, 1805 Main St, ☎ +1 541-273-1477. The city's geothermally heated outdoor swimming pool is open all year.
- Klamath County Fair, 531 South 6th St, ☎ +1 541-883-3796. Every August.
- Snowflake Festival. A two-week winter festival in early December including a tree-lighting ceremony and a parade down Main Street.
- Third Thursday, Main St between 3rd and 11th. Every summer month on the third Thursday of the month.
Hunting and fishing
Klamath Falls is next to Klamath Lake, which is connected to several other lakes as well as the Williamson River and the Klamath River. The fishing is incredible, either on a boat, in the middle of the lake, or on shore. There are a dozen more lakes in the Klamath Basin as well. The Basin hosts an amazing amount of wildlife. You can hunt for many different species of game during hunting season.
- The Running Y Ranch and Resort. One of four golf courses in the area.
While Klamath Falls has a few big box stores like Walmart and Fred Meyer, these locales offer alternatives:
- Klamath Falls Farmers Market, 9th Street between Main and Klamath, ☎ +1 541-273-1102, e-mail: email@example.com. Jun–Oct Sa 9AM–1:30PM.
- The Ledge, 369 S 6th St, ☎ +1 541-882-5586, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 10AM–6PM, Sa 9AM–5PM. A popular camping, mountaineering, backpacking, and general outdoor equipment store.
- Leo's Camera Shop, 437 Main St, ☎ +1 541-882-3331. M–F 9AM–5:30PM, Sa 9AM–5PM. This camera shop is a well-known local establishment, selling cameras and camera accessories to anyone who loves taking photos. This is by far the best place in the Klamath Basin to find film and related supplies.
- Oregon Gift Store, 729 Main St, ☎ +1 541-884-1600, e-mail: email@example.com. M–F 10AM–5PM, Sa 10AM–4PM. Find all sorts of Oregon/local products, souvenirs, and trinkets here.
- Periwinkle Upscale Resale, ☎ +1 541-205-4396, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A set of three shops selling gently used fancy clothes, accessories, and home furnishings. Tu–Sa 10AM–6PM.
Besides all of the usual restaurants and fast-food establishments you would expect, like Applebee's, Denny's, etc., Klamath Falls has several local venues:
- The Creamery Brew Pub & Grill, 1320 Main St, ☎ +1 541-273-5222. 11AM–9:30PM daily. Sports bar.
- The Daily Bagel, 636 Main St, ☎ +1 541-850-0744, e-mail: Biagio@dailybagelkf.com. M–F 6AM–2PM, Sa 7AM–2PM. Bagel sandwiches named after major newspapers across the US, made with fresh New York–style bagels.
- The Klamath Grill, 715 Main St, ☎ +1 541-882-1427, e-mail: email@example.com. M–F 6AM–2:30PM, Sa–Su 7AM–2PM. Breakfast diner.
- Mr. B's Steakhouse, 3927 South 6th St, ☎ +1 541-883-8719.
- Pho Hong, 3620 Washburn Way, ☎ +1 541-850-9441. Good Vietnamese restaurant.
- Sherm's Thunderbird Discount Market, 1877 Avalon St, ☎ +1 541-884-1758, fax: +1 541-884-5650. 6AM–11PM daily. A locally owned bargain grocery store with a wide array of foods, including a large organic section. There are Sherm's Thunderbirds in Medford and Roseburg too, but the building for this store is the newest and nicest.
- Thai Orchid Café, 900 Main St #D, ☎ +1 541-273-0707. 11AM–9PM daily.
- Wong's Café, 421 Main St, ☎ +1 541-884-6578, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 11:30AM–9PM, Su 12PM–9PM.
- Basin Martini Bar, 632 Main St, ☎ +1 541-884-6264.
- Black Dog Billiards, 436 Main St, ☎ +1 541-884-8373.
- Chicken N Cheers, 3310 Madison St, ☎ +1 541-884-3180. Redneck bar with pool and karaoke.
- El Palacio, 601 Main St, ☎ +1 541-882-5118. Su–W 11AM–9PM, Th–Sa 11AM–2AM.
- The Pikey, 610 Main St, ☎ +1 541-887-2561, e-mail: email@example.com. Classy Irish pub. This is the renovated former location of Waldo's.
Several chain hotels and motels are located along South 6th Street, around downtown, and on Highway 97 at the north end of town.
The lodging tax is 9% of your room rent (1% from the State of Oregon, 8% from Klamath County). The proceeds benefit the area's tourism promotion and services—which, of course, benefits you!
- Best Western Olympic Inn, 2627 South 6th St. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful. They provide complementary breakfast in the morning, soup in the afternoon, and fresh-baked cookies in the evening. Free wifi, pool, and hot tub. $119.
- Cimarron Inn, 3060 South 6th St, ☎ +1 541-882-4601, toll-free: +1 800-724-2648, fax: +1 541-882-6690. Free wifi, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, TV, and hair dryer in the room, with a free breakfast buffet. $59.
- Crystalwood Lodge B&B, 38625 West Side Rd (a 38-mile (62 km) drive northwest from Klamath Falls along Highway 140, 36 miles (58 km) south of Crater Lake), ☎ +1 866-381-2322, fax: +1 866-294-4213, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Free wifi. Pet-friendly. All rooms are nonsmoking. Reserving at least 6 to 12 months in advance is recommended for holidays, special events, and other peak times. $120+.
- The Lodge at Running Y Ranch, 5500 Running Y Rd (a 9-mile (14 km) drive northwest from Klamath Falls), ☎ +1 800-569-0029, e-mail: email@example.com. $108.
- Maverick Motel, 1220 Main St, ☎ +1 541-882-6688, toll-free: +1-800-404-6690, fax: +1 541-885-409. Free wifi, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, TV, hair dryer, iron, and ironing board in the room. Provides free breakfast and a daily newspaper, and laundry and fitness facilities. Children under 18 traveling with parents stay free; 10PM curfew for children. $55.
- Vagabond Inn & Suites Klamath Falls, 4061 South 6th St, ☎ +1 541-882-1200, fax: +1 541-882-2729, e-mail: VagabondInnKlamath@gmail.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Free wifi and wired Internet. Coffee and tea maker in the room. Free breakfast and a newspaper, air conditioning, and a heated indoor pool. Children under 18 traveling with parents stay free. Pet-friendly rooms available for $20 per pet per night extra. $75.
Public Internet access, including wifi, is available at the Klamath County Library.
The area codes 541 and the new overlay 458 are used. Ten-digit dialing is mandatory, meaning that you must dial the area code for all calls, even local calls made on landline phones (541-xxx-xxxx). You might occasionally see an old sign or advertisement with a seven-digit number, although this is becoming rare. When in doubt, it's safe to assume the area code is 541.
Fun trivia fact: Back when telephone numbers were often given with exchange names, sometimes the fictitious "KLamath 5-xxxx" was used (in addition to "KLondike 5-xxxx") in the media when a fictional phone number was needed. "KL 5" corresponds to "555" in modern-day fake American phone numbers. It goes without saying that you'll never see any KLamath 5 phone numbers.
- Crater Lake National Park
- Fort Klamath
- Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex
- Lava Beds National Monument
- Oregon Caves National Monument
- Train Mountain Railroad Museum
|Routes through Klamath Falls|
|Bend ← La Pine ← Jct W ← Jct W ←||N S||→ Dorris → Weed|
|END ←||N S||→ becomes → Jct W E → Susanville|
|END ← Ashland ← Keno ←||W E||→ END|