Road has been singled out by the
State of Oregon for its jaw-dropping beauty.
1 Starting with a bang
Geologically, the Volcanic Legacy
began several thousand years ago. Geographically, the Byway begins at Diamond
Lake Junction, about halfway between Bend and Klamath Falls on US Route 97.
Here, Oregon Route 138 climbs as straight as a ponderosa pine to the north
entrance of Crater Lake National Park. Because of snow, this entrance is
usually open only from June through October.
2 Captivating Crater Lake
The road ascends through a pumice moonscape created by the massive eruption of
Mt. Mazama about 7,700 years ago. The eruption left a six-mile-wide caldera,
which now cradles the deepest lake in North America. The vast depth and clarity
of Crater Lake give it remarkable blueness that makes it one of the most
awe-inspiring natural wonders of the world.
The 33-mile rim drive not only takes in the full spectacle, it provides access
to the lake via the Cleetwood Trail, a side trip to the Pinnacles near the
south rim, and breathtaking views in all directions. The Rim Village Visitors
Center is open all year, making a great starting point for wintertime
cross-country skiing and snowshoeing adventures. In summer and fall, enjoy the
views, history and accommodations at Crater Lake Lodge.
3 Fort Klamath.
Exit the park through the south entrance and turn left on Oregon Route 62. The
"Crater Lake Highway" follows Annie Creek through peaceful pastures down to
Fort Klamath. In summer, the museum here details the antagonism between
settlers and Native Americans, which culminated in the Modoc War of 1872-73. An especially beautiful spot to visit in the Fort Klamath area is Jackson F. Kimball State Park.
4 The Call of the Wildlife.
The byway tour continues on Weed Road to Sevenmile Road west, then south on West
Side Road. Soon you'll be driving on the edge of the Upper Klamath National
Wildlife Refuge and Upper Klamath Lake. Covering 133 square miles, the lake is
Oregon's largest body of fresh water, filling a basin created when the earth's
crust dropped along fault lines on both sides. Situated in the heart of the
Pacific Flyway, the area attracts more than 250 species of birds, including
sandhill cranes, pelicans and bald eagles.
Several campgrounds and resorts with marinas invite you to stay and explore
canoe routes. In the shadow of Mt McLoughlin, West Side Road connects with
Oregon Route 140 along the lake. Howard Bay is a common place to see nesting
pelicans, blue herons and snow geese. The southern end of the lake is home to
bald eagles all year long.
5 Klamath Falls.
The Byway continues south as Oregon Route 140 meets US Route 97 on the southern
outskirts of Klamath Falls. Take a trip into town to visit the historic Baldwin
Hotel Museum and the Favell Museum's impressive collection of Indian artifacts.
Then head south again on US Route 97.
6 Final Refuge.
After passing through cropland along the Klamath River, you'll travel between
the Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Lower Klamath National Refuge.
This segment of the Byway ends on the California border at the Francis S.
Landrum Historic Wayside, which commemorates the Applegate Emigrant Trail.
Rest Areas: One at Crater Lake Lodge and another about 10 miles south of Klamath
Gas: Have plenty before leaving Chemult or Klamath Falls.
More Scenic Drives For a fabulous preview of Scenic Byway attractions take a look at www.volcaniclegacy.net and see panoramic views of the best places to visit! To see the entire Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in Oregon and California
To learn more about the major volcanoes in the Klamath Basin please visit these