Nestled in southern Oregon, Klamath Falls is a picturesque city known for its natural beauty and thrilling outdoor adventures. However, most people in the area are there as it’s simply a stopover on the way to the terrific Oregon Coast.
I’ll admit that I’m as enthralled by the Oregon Coast as the next person but there are times when I don’t want to be elbow-to-elbow with a dozen people as I fight my way down the trail.
In those cases, we choose to stay a bit inland and find some of the terrific hikes in the area. And what would a hike be in the PNW if you didn’t encounter at least one waterfall on the way? From gentle cascades tucked behind small towns to impressive plunges enveloped by lush forests, these hidden gems provide a refreshing escape for both locals and visitors.
The array of waterfalls near Klamath Falls spans from Crater Lake National Park to the surrounding county, shaped by the Mount Mazama eruption and subsequent geological events. With a home base in Klamath Falls, you can easily access a variety of waterfalls by following the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway.
Just be aware that, as Klamath Falls is just about the driest place town by the Southern Oregon Coast there aren’t many waterfalls right close by. We’ll mostly have to trek north for a bit. However, there are a few close options that we’ll hit as well.
In order to keep this list organized (mostly in my own brain) I’m going to split this list into two portions: waterfalls in the immediate Klamath Falls Area and those closeby, and then those that are within Crater Lake National Park.
So let’s get to it, starting with the closest ones!
Waterfalls in Klamath Falls Area
The Klamath Falls area is home to several beautiful waterfalls that are perfect for a day trip or weekend exploration. In this article, we will focus on two must-see waterfalls in the Klamath Falls area: Link River Falls and Duwee Falls. Both of these captivating waterfalls offer unique experiences for visitors.
Link River Falls
Distance From Klamath Falls: 2 miles (~6 minutes)
Link River Falls is located within Klamath Falls city limits. The falls are formed where the Link River flows over a basalt ledge, creating a stunning cascade effect. Although the waterfall’s height is not as impressive as some other falls in the region, the natural beauty of the area, including the pristine river, makes for an enjoyable outdoor excursion.
Access to the falls is fairly easy, with well-maintained walking trails along the river. It’s a popular spot for locals to take a leisurely stroll or walk their dogs, and the surrounding park offers picnic tables and grassy areas for relaxation. If you’re in Klamath Falls and looking for a tranquil escape from the city, Link River Falls is a great option.
Distance From Klamath Falls: 56 miles (~1 hour)
Duwee Falls is a hidden gem, located within Crater Lake National Park, which is about an hour’s drive from Klamath Falls. This picturesque 70-ft waterfall can be found along the trail to the Pinnacles, making it an excellent stop during a hike or drive through the national park.
The unique feature of Duwee Falls is that it flows over columnar basalts, giving it a striking appearance. The hike to the falls is short but steep, with a well-marked trail leading to a viewpoint. As you approach the falls, the sound of rushing water creates a soothing atmosphere, perfect for unwinding in nature.
Distance From Klamath Falls: 62 miles (~1 hour 10 minutes)
Butte Falls is a must-visit waterfall located just about an hour away from Klamath Falls, in the town of Butte Falls, which is affectionately known as “the biggest little town in Oregon.” Home to around 400 people, this small community is surrounded by impressive waterfalls which can be explored via a 1.1-mile loop hike. The peaceful atmosphere and lovely scenery make Butte Falls an ideal destination for a relaxing day trip.
By exploring these outstanding waterfalls, visitors to the Klamath Falls region will undoubtedly have memorable experiences surrounded by the natural beauty Southern Oregon has to offer.
Distance From Klamath Falls: 77 miles (~1 hour 30 minutes)
Crowfoot Falls is another hidden gem in the region, characterized by its unique, multi-tiered appearance. Located near the Rogue River, it offers a serene and peaceful environment to unwind and appreciate the sounds of cascading water. To reach Crowfoot Falls, one must follow a moderately difficult trail that winds through beautiful forests filled with vibrant wildflowers during the spring and summer months.
Mill Creek Falls
Distance From Klamath Falls: 84 miles (~1 hour 30 minutes)
If you’re visiting Crowfoot Falls you may as well may the 5-minute trek over to another very cool waterfall in the area, Mill Creek Falls.
Mill Creek Falls is a stunning, picturesque waterfall hidden deep within the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Surrounded by lush greenery and a variety of plant life, it’s a perfect destination for nature lovers. The hike to the falls is relatively short, roughly about a mile long, making it accessible for all skill levels. For those who enjoy photography, Mill Creek Falls provides an exceptional opportunity to capture the beauty of Oregon’s natural landscape.
Distance From Klamath Falls: 87 miles (~1 hour 30 minutes)
Located just off Highway 138 near Clearwater, Oregon and about an hour and a half from Klamath Falls, Clearwater Falls are just under 30 feet tall. The waterfalls are unique as they are spring-fed rather than toppling over a cliff. This makes them an ideal destination all year round. The falls are known for their serene beauty, which is enhanced by the way they interact with their surroundings.
Distance From Klamath Falls: 102 miles (~1 hour 40 minutes)
Another beautiful waterfall to visit near Klamath Falls is Watson Falls. Watson Falls can be found in the Umpqua National Forest along the North Umpqua River, providing gorgeous scenery for visitors. The striking waterfall drops over a basalt ledge, cascading down 272 feet, which makes it among the highest waterfalls in the state. A well-maintained trail leads to the base of the falls, providing spectacular views for hikers.
Distance From Klamath Falls: 107 miles (~1 hour 45 minutes)
Toketee Falls is an impressive waterfall located near Klamath Falls as well. With a stunning two-tiered drop, the waters crash over the cliffs at 40 feet, offering hikers breathtaking views. The upper segment of the falls gracefully cascades, while the lower segment plunges into a deep amphitheater carved out by volcanic basalt. Toketee Falls still remains a hidden gem, as not many tourists are aware of this fantastic spot.
Crater Lake National Park Waterfalls
Crater Lake National Park is home to some stunning waterfalls that make for a perfect getaway to explore the unique beauty of the surrounding nature. Two of the notable waterfalls in the park are Vidae Falls and Plaikni Falls.
Vidae Falls is easily accessible as it is located just off the Rim Drive, which is the main road that circles Crater Lake. As you drive around, you’ll find a designated parking area and a short trail leading to the falls. The waterfall cascades down a cliffside for about 100 feet, making for a spectacular sight, especially in the spring and early summer when the water flow is at its peak. The lush greenery around Vidae Falls provides visitors with opportunities for beautiful photographs, picnics, or simply relaxing and enjoying the sound of the water.
Plaikni Falls is another gem in Crater Lake National Park, located about an hour and 20 minutes away from Klamath Falls. To reach the falls, you’ll have to take on the easy Plaikni Falls trail which is about 2-miles round trip. The hike leads you through a serene old-growth forest, colorful wildflowers in the summer, and picturesque views of the surrounding landscapes.
At the end of the trail, you’ll be rewarded with stunning sights of Plaikni Falls, which are actually twin waterfalls that cascade effortlessly over moss-covered rocks. This makes them an ideal spot for a rest, some photography, or simply enjoying the peaceful nature that surrounds you.
The waterfalls in Crater Lake National Park showcase the spectacular volcanic history and natural beauty that this area has to offer. Be sure to include a visit to Vidae Falls and Plaikni Falls during your trip to Crater Lake to experience these breathtaking natural wonders for yourself.
Other Outdoor Activities and Facilities
Link River Trail
The Link River Trail is a beautiful hiking spot near Klamath Falls that offers scenic views of the river and surrounding landscape. This trail is suitable for hikers of all skill levels and takes you along the river’s edge, providing opportunities to catch glimpses of the local wildlife.
Klamath Falls has a diverse range of hiking options available for all levels of hikers. From the Butte Falls trail that takes you to a lovely cascade to the 129-foot Burney Falls considered one of the most dramatically beautiful cascades in the country, you’re spoilt for choice. Don’t forget to visit Clearwater Falls, another must-see waterfall found near Klamath Falls that appears from an underground spring. With so many options, hikers can explore these scenic trails and be surrounded by the beauty of Oregon’s nature.
When you’re out exploring the waterfalls and trails surrounding Klamath Falls, it’s a good idea to take a break and enjoy a picnic. Many of the area’s hiking trails and parks offer designated picnic spots where you can relax and enjoy a meal amidst the great outdoors. With picturesque surroundings and the sound of waterfalls in the background, a picnic in the Klamath Falls area is a perfect way to unwind and appreciate the natural beauty of the region.
The stunning waterfalls in and around Klamath Falls, Oregon, provide a unique way for both locals and visitors to engage with the area’s natural beauty and fascinating geological history. From the gentle cascades within the city limits to the impressive plunges deep within Crater Lake National Park and surrounding areas, these waterfalls showcase a wide array of landscapes, each more breathtaking than the last.
Visitors can easily embark on a waterfall road trip, traversing the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway to discover hidden gems such as Link River Falls, Duwee Falls, Vidae Falls, and Plaikni Falls, among others. The variety of hikes to reach these waterfalls accommodates all skill levels, from leisurely walks to more challenging trails. And the experience doesn’t stop at the falls. Other outdoor activities, including additional hikes and scenic picnic areas, enhance the overall experience.
Each waterfall holds its own unique appeal and tells a different story about the region’s past, offering not just a visual feast, but a rich and tangible connection to the area’s natural and geological history. Klamath Falls and its surrounding regions represent a confluence of natural beauty, adventure, tranquility, and exploration, encapsulating the very essence of Southern Oregon’s charm.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned hiker or simply someone seeking a refreshing escape, the waterfalls near Klamath Falls offer an enriching and memorable outdoor experience, leaving an indelible impression of Oregon’s captivating and diverse landscapes. So, pack your hiking boots, bring your camera, and prepare yourself for the unforgettable adventure that awaits you in Klamath Falls, Oregon – where the waterfalls are as plentiful as they are beautiful.