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Launch your canoe, paddle quietly and keep your ears perked. You'll hear the subtle sounds of nature that are all too often drowned out by the noise of boat motors or car engines: the grebe's call, the hawk's piercing screech, or the crane's boisterous chortle.

Such are the rewards for the canoeist who paddles many of the flat-water trails in Klamath, Lake and Modoc Country, where wildlife flourishes in dozens of bogs, swamps, marshes and wetlands.

Recognizing the enduring popularity of canoeing, several agencies in the Klamath Basin are developing new trails through areas rich in scenery and wildlife. Many have brochures printed on waterproof paper to guide you along the way.

Snow-covered peaks loom over the waters of the Cascade Mountain range, while towering ponderosa pines form a canopy above streams and lakeshores in Klamath, Lake, Modoc and Siskiyou Country. Popular canoe trails include the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, where spring-fed streams weave their way through wetlands along the edge of the Winema National Forest. The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge offers a trail near areas that support large populations of waterfowl and songbirds.

Food and lodging are available near most canoe areas, and rentals are available at several resorts throughout the region.

Here you'll find a list of the area's most popular canoe areas, including directions and telephone numbers for more information. Contact responsible agency for report on water conditions, which can vary widely with the seasons. Personal flotation devices are required.

Places to Go

Location Map: Crescent Lake.

1. Crescent Lake

From Hwy. 97 in northern Klamath County, 17 mi. W on Hwy 58, S 2 mi. on Forest Service Rd. 60.
Boat launches located at Crescent Lake campgrounds. Nearby resort offers lodging and rentals. Snow-capped Diamond Peak rises above lake. Canoeing opportunities on other nearby lakes.
Information: Crescent Ranger District, (541) 433-2234.

Location Map: Miller Lake

2. Miller Lake

1/2-mi. N of Chemult, OR, take Forest Service Rd. 9772 12 mi. to Digit Point CG.
Gravel road leads to this beautiful high lake and campground nearly surrounded by Mt. Thielsen Wilderness area. Hiking trail surrounds lake and leads into wilderness.
Information: Chemult Ranger District, (541) 365-7001.

Location Map: Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

3. Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

From Hwy. 97 22 mi. N of Chiloquin, OR, E on Silver Lake Hwy. 17 mi. to refuge headquarters.
Nearly 60 square miles of wetlands attract a wide variety of wildlife. Inquire at headquarters for information on canoe, hiking and bicycle trails.
Information: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (541) 783-3380.

Location Map: Spring Creek and Williamson River.

4. Spring Creek and Williamson River

30 mi. N of Klamath Falls, OR, on Hwy. 97, turn in at Collier Memorial State Park.
Spring Creek: Boat launching at Collier State Park Spring Creek Day Use Area, above the slack water barrier. This is a three-mile loop upstream to the headwaters of Spring Creek. The water quality is unusually clear and cold, the spring busts forth into a large tributary.

Williamson River: Launch canoe from the Collier State Park Rest Area at the Williamson River near the confluence with the Spring Creek. There is abundant wildlife viewing in this section of the river, as it flows through a pine forest with willow covered shorelines. This boating course is moderately easy to navigate. You can travel 2.5 miles to Williamson Campground, or complete a five-mile loop.
Information: Collier State Park, (541) 783-2471.

Location Map: Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

5. Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

From Klamath Falls, OR, W 25 mi. on Hwy 140, N on Rocky Point turnoff to Rocky Point Resort.
Two marked trails include a 6 mile route and a 3.5 mile shortcut. Surroundings vary from spring-fed streams to marshes and open water. Resort offers lodging, food, canoes. Brochure available.
Information: Klamath Ranger District, (541) 885-3400.

Location Map: Lake of the Woods.

6. Lake of the Woods

35 mi. W of Klamath Falls on Hwy. 140.
One of southern Oregon's most popular water recreation spots, Lake of the Woods is surrounded by tall timber and visitor facilities. Resort offers food, rentals, lodging. Nearby Fish and Fourmile lakes are less developed and see less traffic. Fourmile Lake is nearly surrounded by Sky Lakes Wilderness.
Information: Klamath Ranger District, (541) 885-3400.

Location Map: Sprague River.

7. Sprague River

Contact number below for directions.
River offers a variety of canoeing experiences for beginners through experienced canoeists. River winds through open timber and meadows on Forest Service and private lands. Contact Chiloquin Ranger District for water conditions, launch points.
Information: Chiloquin Ranger District, (541) 783-4001.

Location Map: Klamath River and Lake Ewauna.

8. Klamath River and Lake Ewauna

Take Hwy. 97 downtown exit in Klamath Falls, OR, E 1/4 mi. to Veterans Park.
Launch from downtown Klamath Falls onto lake that is a favorite among local rowing enthusiasts. Follow Klamath River to Pacific Power campground over 16 miles of flat water.
Information: Klamath Falls Parks Dept., (541) 883-5371.
Pacific Power, (800) 547-1501. (503) 464-5023

Location Map: Juanita Lake.

9. Juanita Lake

From Macdoel, CA, 3 mi. S on Hwy. 97, 3 mi. W on Ball Mtn. Road, 4 mi. N. on Forest Service Rd. #46N04.
Forest Service facilities at campground include boat launch, group site picnic facilities and barrier-free trail around lake. Popular fishing spot and wildlife viewing area.
Information: Goosenest Ranger District, (530) 398-4391.

Location Map: Lofton Reservoir

10. Lofton Reservoir

From Bly, OR, 13 mi. E on Hwy 140, 7 mi. S on Forest Service Rd. 3715, 1.5 mi. E on Rd. 3715-013. Paved access, spacious campground and nearby resort are features of this lake. Great wildlife viewing. Barrier-free fishing pier. Other nearby reservoirs offer additional canoeing opportunities.
Information: Bly Ranger District, (541) 353-2427.

Location Map: Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

11. Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

From Tulelake, CA, 5 mi. W on East-West Road, S 1/2 mi. to visitor center.
Marked trail loop is open July 1 through Sept. 30. Route follows marsh canals, open water edges. Spectacular birding opportunities in one of the nation's foremost wildlife refuges.
Information: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (530) 667-2231.

Location Map: Blue Lake.

12. Blue Lake

From Hwy. 395 at Likely, CA, E and S 16 mi. on Forest Service Rd. 64 to Blue Lake CG.
Blue Lake Campground offers boat launch. Bald eagles are often seen soaring over this blue gem surrounded by majestic pine and fir trees. Snow sometimes restricts access until June. Elevation 6,000 feet.
Information: Warner Mtn. Ranger District, (530) 279-6116.

Location Map: Warner Wetlands.

13. Warner Wetlands

From Lakeview, OR travel 5 mi. N on Hwy. 395, 15.5 mi. E on Hwy. 140 E, County Rd. 3-13 travels to Plush, OR, from Plush travel 8 mi. on County Rd. 3-12 to wetlands.
Marked canoe trails guide you through this wetland habitat which abounds with wildlife. Please note that the wetlands have cyclic wet and dry periods which can affect water levels.
Information: Bureau of Land Management, Lakeview District, (541) 947-2177.

Location Map: Wood River

14. Wood River

3 mi. N of Fort Klamath, OR on Sun Pass Rd. Launch from Kimball State Park and travel down to the Wood River Day Use Area. This is a 4-mile downstream point-to-point excursion, of intermediate difficulty. Wood River flows from the picturesque cool clear springs at Kimball State Park down the beautiful wooded Wood River. Canoeing is the only practical boating method for this river section. The quick flow of the river, in some sections, prohibits any return for a loop trip. Boats must be carried to the lagoon forming the headwaters at Kimball State Park for launching.
Information: Collier State Park, (541) 783-2471.

Bonus Points

Looking for something more challenging than a quick trip on a marked canoe trail? Here are a couple of ideas for longer journeys that will test your skills: