THE BEST WATERFALLS NEAR KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON
If you call Klamath Falls home, you’ve surely been asked “where are the falls in Klamath Falls?” While the city’s namesake may lead some to think there are waterfalls in the city, its origins go far deeper. The Klamath name comes from a loose translation of what the Link river was referred to by the indigenous people that lived on the land prior to early settlers in the 1800s. The waterfalls for which the city derives its name is actually more of a rapids along the Link River, which are visible along the Link River Trail, just below the Link River Dam. Watch for signs along the trail which direct walkers to a foot path down to the waterfront to see the falls. There are also many traditional picturesque waterfalls near Klamath Falls and especially, within the Crater Lake area.
Much of the geography surrounding Klamath County was shaped by the Mount Mazama eruption and collapse that formed the caldera which now holds Crater Lake. Whether you are a seasoned local, or simply visiting and recreating in Klamath County, there is an abundance of scenic waterfalls to visit. To make it easier to find the top waterfalls in the area, reference the list below to plan a day trip. No matter which waterfall you choose, it will be rich in history with a unique story and location. Take a look at the map provided, and perhaps you’ll be able to fit in 2 or 3 waterfalls on the same daytrip or camping excursion.
Whether you are an avid waterfall enthusiast or simply looking for a scenic drive that will allow you the opportunity to sightsee in the wilderness surrounding Klamath Falls, there is certainly an abundance of areas you are sure to enjoy. Keep in mind that the mountain areas will typically be cooler than the city of Klamath Falls, and winter and spring snowfall sometimes sticks around through June. Before hitting the open road to explore, pack an extra layer of clothes to be sure you are prepared for cooler temperatures in the mountains.
Toketee Falls are located along the North Umpqua River near Crater Lake National Park and just under two hours from Klamath Falls. This graceful waterfall comes from the river carving a gorge out of lava flow and tops our list. It is also one of Oregon’s most famous waterfalls, known for its distinguished basalt formation and a series of plunges over 100 feet into a large pool. It is considered an easier hike that is just under a mile long and is both kid and dog friendly.
Mill Creek Falls
Also, about two hours distance from Klamath Falls and near Crater Lake National Park, Mill Creek Falls is located in Prospect, Oregon along the Rogue River and within the Rogue River Canyon. This lesser-known waterfall is very tall at 175 feet over a cliff into a pool of water and surrounding trees. The Rogue River canyon is one of the most scenic outdoor destinations in Oregon, with movies, such as The River Wild (1994), and Rooster Cogburn (1975) filmed along its route through Southern Oregon and Northern California.
If you like especially tall waterfalls, then you won’t want to miss Watson Falls, which towers at over 270 feet located on Watson Creek. Watson Creek is just under two hours distance from Klamath Falls headed north through the Fremont-Winema National Forest. These falls are also the third highest waterfall in the state of Oregon.
Clearwater Falls are located just off Highway 138 near Clearwater, Oregon and about an hour and a half from Klamath Falls. These waterfalls are just under 30 feet and unique in that they appear from a spring underground rather than toppling over a cliff. Because the falls are spring-fed they are an excellent destination year-round, since they don’t rely on snowmelt to feed the cascading water.
If you are in the Clearwater area visiting Crater Lake or seeing the nearby waterfalls, Whitehorse Falls is also a must see and less than two-hour drive from Klamath Falls. These falls are located along Clearwater Creek featuring a shorter but very pretty 15-foot drop. As an added bonus, the waterfall lookout is accessible by wheel, so if you’re pushing a stroller, walker, or are in a wheelchair, you’ll still be able to enjoy the view.
Barr Creek Falls
A little over an hour and a half from Klamath Falls and near the Mill Creek Falls, Barr Creek Falls is a larger waterfall that features multi-steps. Its formation comes from petrified volcanic ash from Mount Mazama’s eruption. These falls have a height of over 240 feet eventually plunging into the Rogue River, among the tallest waterfalls in Oregon.
The well-known and easily accessible Plaikni Falls are located inside of Crater Lake National Park, about an hour and a half drive from Klamath Falls. These waterfalls feature a 20-foot plunge and have a formation that also originates from the nearby Mount Mazama eruption. These falls, along with the others on this list that are located in Crater Lake National Park would make for a great day trip tour, beginning and ending in Klamath Falls.
Vidae Falls are also about an hour and a half from Klamath Falls and rather than a hike to see the view, these falls are actually accessible by car. For those looking for a little more physical activity, there is plenty of hiking available further upstream. The most interesting part about these falls is that they drop over 115 feet and flow under the popular Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park.
Duwee Falls is also in Crater Lake National Park, about an hour and a half from Klamath Falls. These falls are known as having one of the highest plunges within the park with multiple tiers and a main drop of 100 feet. Similar to many waterfalls in the area, they are a result of pyroclastic flows from the Mount Mazama eruption. While you can take a hiking trail to get close to the falls, the best vantage point is actually from a pullout along Highway 62, near Mazama Village in the park.