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Museums and Historic Buildings  •  Historic Fire Lookouts
World War II Sites and CCC Projects

Want to know more about the exciting history of Klamath, Lake, Modoc and Siskiyou Country? Explore Oregon's and California's native heritage, the world of pioneers, natural history, science and technology, and fine arts. Area museums function as clearinghouses for information, and should be the history buffs' first stop.

Try a self-guided walking tour and learn more about the architecture of historic districts in Klamath Falls, OR, Alturas, CA, and Lakeview, OR. Many buildings from the turn of the century are on the National Register. Both Klamath, Lake and Modoc County Museums have information about historic buildings in their communities.

The area is rich in cultural heritage: Native American cultures, Pioneer Emigrant Roads, to the Modoc War of 1872-3, turn-of-the-century logging, and western arts. The region's history is tied together in a series of colorful personalities and fascinating tales.

Here you'll find an overview of just some of Southern Oregon's and Northern California's most interesting and popular museums as well as fascinating historical sites just off the beaten path.

Because many area museums are staffed by volunteers, hours may be limited. Be sure to call ahead to confirm your visit.

Places to Go

Location Map: Klamath Falls Museums.

1. Klamath Falls Museums

Three museums in the heart of historic Klamath Falls, OR, offer visitors a number of opportunities to view the past.
The Klamath County Museum depicts the range of influences, from early Native American life to geology, that have helped shape the region. Return to the Victorian Age during a guided tour of the Baldwin Hotel, a National Historic Landmark. The Favell Museum features an extensive private collection of contemporary Western Art and Indian memorabilia.
Information: Klamath County Museum, 1451 Main St., Klamath Falls, OR, 800-445-6728.

2. Modoc County Historical Museum

Location Map: Modoc County Historical Museum.

600 Main St., Alturas, CA.
This museum displays a range of Native American and Pioneer artifacts as well as antiques from the town's rich past. Consider a short stroll over to the Niles Hotel and walk through this Historic Landmark. Dates Open: From the Months of May to October, Monday through Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sundays 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Closed in the winter.
Information: Modoc County Historical Museum, Alturas, CA, 530-233-2944

Location Map: Lakeview Museums and Historic Buildings.

3. Lakeview Museums and Historic Buildings

Three small museums depict life as it was at the turn of the century and offer a great start for a self-guided walking tour of the downtown district.
Lake County Museum has a wide-ranging collection of household items and Native American beadwork and basketry. The Schmink Memorial Museum contains furniture and clothing, nearly 5,000 pieces from the ordinary to the unusual, representing Lake County pioneer life. The Lake County Roundup Museum reviews the ranching and rodeo life of Lake County.
Information: Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Lakeview, OR, 541-947-6040.

Location Map: Fort Klamath Museum.

4. Fort Klamath Museum

40 mi. from Klamath Falls, OR. Travel N on Hwy. 97 from Klamath Falls, OR to the Hwy. 62 exit for Fort Klamath and Crater Lake NP.
Located on the site of the 1863 U.S. Army fort, which played an important role in the Modoc War of 1872. A small picnic area is nearby, as well as the gravesite of Modoc leader Captain Jack. Dates open: June thru Labor Day.
Information: Fort Klamath Museum, Fort Klamath, OR, 541-381-2230.

Location Map: Collier Memorial State Park and Logging Museum.

5. Collier Memorial State Park and Logging Museum

Hwy 97, 30 mi. N of Klamath Falls, OR
This extensive outdoor museum offers a unique collection of logging artifacts and pioneer buildings. It traces the evolution of logging from horse and steam power to the modern "cats" of today. A pioneer village features authentic cabins filled with period furnishings. The museum and picnic grounds are open year-round. The nearby campground is operated mid-April through October.
Information: Collier State Park, Chiloquin, OR, 541-783-2471.

Location Map: Fort Crook Museum.

6. Fort Crook Museum

Hwy. 299 in Fall River Mills, CA.
Memorabilia from General George Crook, of Western Indian War fame. Extensive pioneer settler and Native American collections. Open everyday, 12 noon-4:00 p.m., May 1st thru October 31st.
Information: Fort Crook Museum, Fall River Mills, CA, 530-336-5110.

Location Map: Lava Beds National Monument.

7. Lava Beds National Monument

From Tulelake, CA, W 5 mi. on East-West Rd., S 19 mi. on Hill Rd. to Visitor Center.
The exhibits at the Visitor Center detail the history and personalities of the Modoc War, 1872-73, fought mainly around the local lava beds. A number of other historic sites in the Monument turn the area into a vast outdoor museum. Selfguided trails will lead you in the weary footsteps of those who fought in the Modoc War. In summer, rangers conduct tours in the historic district and present programs about the war.
Information: Lava Beds National Monument, 530-667-8101.

Location Map: Crater Lake National Park.

8. Crater Lake National Park

60 mi. N of Klamath Falls, OR, on Hwy. 97 and 62.
Rim Village Visitor Center and Steel Information Center both display natural history of this beautiful area as well as a history of the Park's development. Information about guided trips of the Park and lake are also available here.
Information: Crater Lake National Park, 541-594-2211.

Location Map: Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum.

9. Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum

From Hwy. 97, 28 mi. S on Hwy. 31 to Fort Rock Jct. E 7 mi. to museum.
Immerse yourself in Oregon's pioneer history at this museum. Authentic homestead cabins, a church and even a doctor's office have been relocated and restored to this 10 acre village. Consider visiting nearby Ft. Rock State Park and tour the BLM Christmas Valley Backcountry Byway.
Information: Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum, 541-576-2388

Location Map: Big Valley Museum.

10. Big Valley Museum

Hwy 299, in Bieber, CA.
This museum exhibits objects from the early pioneers, Native American life, and the ranching community of the region. While visiting, be sure to tour the historic Hayden Hill fire lookout, located at the museum.
Information: Big Valley Museum, No Phone, Open: May 1-Sept. 30, Tues., Wed., Thurs., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Bonus Points

Here are a few more opportunities to help you discover the Klamath, Lake, Modoc and Siskiyou Country's historic character.

Museums and Historic Buildings  •  Historic Fire Lookouts  •  World War II Sites and CCC Projects

Since shortly after the turn of the century, government personnel have stood guard over western lands. In Klamath, Lake, Modoc and Siskiyou Country, fire lookouts open to the public offer breathtaking views from the top of the world as well as a chance to visit history .

Early fire lookouts were simply scaffolds, attached precariously to trees and offering little shelter to early fire observers.

Most surviving fire lookout towers, built in the 20's and 30's, are 14' by 14' structures assembled from pre-manufactured kits and packed up to mountain peaks by truck or even mule train. Windows offered a 360-degree view of the area for the occupant. All the comforts of home were available: wood stove, bed and lantern.

Lookout towers are not only pieces of living history, some continue to serve an important function in today's fire protection efforts. You are welcome to visit towers still used during fire season, but please keep in mind that personnel may be busy.

Visitors are encouraged to use extreme caution around lookout towers, especially with children. Be sure to inquire locally about road conditions. Some lookouts are accessible only on foot or with high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles.

Places to Go

Location Map: Bald Butte.

1. Bald Butte

From Bly, OR, E on Hwy. 140 for 1/2 mi., N on Campbell Rd for 1 mi., turn right on Forest Service Rd. 34 for 19 mi. to Rd. 3372. Turn left and go 10 mi. to Forest Service Rd. 3411, then turn right. Take Rd. 450, 1-1/2 mi. to summit.
This lookout, atop the 7536 foot summit of Bald Butte, was used by Forest Service personnel to keep watch over Gearhart Mountain, Lee Thomas Meadow, and the surrounding area. Deadhorse and Campbell Lakes are nearby. Built in 1931, this lookout is available for overnight stays year-round.
Information: Paisley Ranger District, 541-943-3114.

2. Crater Lake National Park

Location Map: Crater Lake National Park.

60 miles N of Klamath Falls, OR on Hwy 97 and 62.
Two lookouts in this park offer visitors a birds-eye view of Wizard's Island and the crystal blue waters of the lake. Stop at The Watchman first, just a short one-mile hike, and then, if you have the energy, go on to the 2.5 mile hike up Mt. Scott from Rim Drive.
Information: Crater Lake National Park Service, 541-594-2211

Location Map: Calimus Butte.

3. Calimus Butte

From Chiloquin, OR, E 5.5 mi. on Sprague River Hwy., left on Williamson River Rd. for 11 mi., right on Forest Service Rd. 4542 for 2 mi., left on Forest Service Rd. 4555 to summit.
Beautiful and historic cupola-style lookout built by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1920. Overlooks scene of huge 1992 Lone Pine fire.
Information: Chiloquin Ranger District, 541-783-4001.

Location Map: Hager Mountain.

4. Hager Mountain

From Silver Lake, OR; travel S. 11 mi. on Forest Service Rd. 28, E on Forest Service Rd. 036 for 2 mi., N on Forest Service Rd. 497 to summit.
Road conditions might demand a short hike to this lookout which has served the Forest Service since the 1920's. Overlooks Sycan Marsh, offers views to the distant Cascades. Part of the growing Forest Service Rental program. Inquire about renting the lookout for an overnight stay from Nov. thru April.
Information: Silver Lake Ranger District, 541-576-2107.

Location Map: Pelican Butte.

5. Pelican Butte

From Klamath Falls, OR, W 25 mi. on Hwy. 140 to Forest Service Rd. 3651, N 9 mi. to Forest Service Rd. 980, E 3 mi. to lookout.
Just an hour's drive from Klamath Falls, this lookout offers a stunning view of Upper Klamath Lake and the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Four-wheel drive is recommended. This now privately owned tower is currently used as a communication antenna mast.
Information: Klamath Ranger District, 541-885-3400.

Location Map: Schonchin Butte.

6. Schonchin Butte

From Tulelake, CA, W 5 mi. on East-West Rd., S 9.5 mi. on Hill Rd., to Monument, then 7.3 mi. to Schonchin Butte Rd.
This easily accessible site offers a wonderful view of Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge as well as the unforgiving terrain of surrounding Lava Beds National Monument, site of the Modoc War of 1872-73. Short walk to lookout.
Information: Lava Beds National Monument, 530-667-8101.

Location Map: Likely Mountain.

7. Likely Mountain

From Likely, CA, S on Hwy. 395 approx. 6.5 mi., W on Likely Mtn., Rd., 4 mi. to summit.
Just off Hwy 395, this lookout is easily accessible in most vehicles and gives visitors a crystal-clear view of the geologically unique Modoc Plateau, and Warner Mtns.; still utilized by BLM, USFS, and CDF for fire detection. The base of this historic lookout was a surplus radar platform.
Information: Big Valley Ranger District, 530-299-3215.

Location Map:Herd Peak.

8. Herd Peak

17 mi. S of Macdoel, CA, on Hwy. 97, W on Forest Service Rd. 45N22 for approximately 5 mi. to summit.
This lookout just off Hwy. 97 offers an unobstructed view of snow-covered Mt. Shasta and the surrounding area to the south. The gravel road to the summit is passable in most vehicles.
Information: Goosenest Ranger District, 530-398-4391.

Location Map: Green Mountain.

9. Green Mountain

15 mi. N of Christmas Valley, OR.
At 5,190 feet in elevation, Green Mountain Lookout gives visitors a panoramic view of lava flows, cinder cones, and the desert landscape of the Fort Rock and Christmas Valley area. This lookout is located along the Christmas Valley Back Country Byway. A brochure is available for this scenic route from BLM.
Information: Bureau Of Land Management, Lakeview District , 541-947-2177.

Location Map:Fremont Point Cabin.

10. Fremont Point Cabin

From Silver Lake, OR, S on Hwy 31 for 16 mi., and right on Forest Service Rd. 2901. Proceed 16 mi. to Forest Service Rd. 034, left and then 2 mi. to the cabin.
This cabin stood perched on the edge of Winter Rim, overlooking the Summer Lake Basin some 3,000 feet below. It was destroyed in the Winter Fire (2002). The Forest Service is now considering rebuiling it. Ski in for a truly beautiful winter experience, and relive the adventures of wilderness explorer John C. Fremont, whose adventures helped form the colorful history of this region. This is the spot where Fremont, in the dead of winter, stood in deep snow and named both the rim (Winter Rim) and the green valley below (Summer Valley).
Information: Silver Lake Ranger District 541-576-2107.

Location Map: Sugar Hill Lookout.

11. Sugar Hill Lookout

From Hwy. 395, 11 mi. N of Davis Creek, or 9 mi. S. of New Pine Creek, CA, E on Forest Service Rd. 30 for about 5 mi., across bridge. Turn southerly on 46N06 for about 3 mi., go W on 46N06A for about 2 mi. to lookout.
The original lookout was a wooden platform in a large pine tree, circa 1920. Present lookout tower was built in 1931. Tower is still used at times during fire season. Great vistas of the "undiscovered" Warner Mtns., rugged volcanic landscape of Devils Garden, and Goose Lake. Dirt road access. Usable by most passenger vehicles during summer months.
Information: Warner Mountain Ranger District, 530-279-6116.

Bonus Points

Want to spend more time in one of the area's historic fire lookouts? The view and the solitude can't be beat.

Museums and Historic Buildings  •  Historic Fire Lookouts  •  World War II Sites and CCC Projects

Travel back in time and take a walk through history.

The Depression Era and World War II brought much activity to Klamath, Lake, Modoc and Siskiyou Country. The massive public works projects of the federal government provided direct relief for citizens hungry for work, under the auspices of the Civilian Conservation Corps and other programs of the Works Progress Administration.

In the Pacific Northwest, public works projects included the development of the Columbia River Basin. Locally, men from the Civilian Conservation Corps, known as the "Tree Army," planted millions of trees and constructed roadways and buildings still in use today. Here you will find a list of just a few special places.

World War II brought an end to the CCC, as the nation, and especially the West Coast, responded to the war overseas. There's plenty of evidence of World War II right here. Here are a few locations of interest if you want to know more about the war at home.

Many of these sites are just now being developed for travelers interested in a tour of history. Please "Tread Lightly" and remember that the removal of objects and artifacts on public lands is strictly forbidden.

Tread Lightly is like the "Leave No Trace" ethic of the hiker. It means that you provide the next user the same experience that you enjoyed by staying on the trail, picking up litter, practicing trail courtesy and respecting public as well as private property. It's a small but thoughtful price to pay for the well being of our outdoor environment!

Places to Go

Civilian Conservation Corps Projects

Location Map: Bly Ranger Station.

1. Bly Ranger Station

Bly, OR, on Hwy. 140, 53 miles E. of Klamath Falls, OR.
This rustic compound, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1936 and 1942. Take a short self-guided tour and examine the distinctive stonework of the Ranger's Residence and other buildings. Ask Forest Service Personnel about the site of the former CCC camp nearby.
Information: Bly Ranger District, 541-353-2427.

2. Paisley Ranger Station

Location Map: Paisley Ranger Station.

Paisley, OR, on Hwy 31.
Built in 1939 by local experienced men and the CCC, under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service. The rustic style of architecture as seen in these buildings is typical of the period. Visitor information is available. A dugout canoe, built by CCC workers from a local pine tree is also displayed on the grounds.
Information: Paisley Ranger District, 541-943-3114.

Location Map: Lake of the Woods Ranger Station.

3. Lake of the Woods Ranger Station

Hwy 140, 33 mi. W of Klamath Falls, OR.
Ranger Station and seven other buildings were constructed between 1937 and 1939 by CCC workers. These historic woodframe structures retain their original appearance with the exception of new metal roofs. Step inside the visitor center for displays on early Forest Service activities, and take a look at the massive stone fireplace.
Information: Klamath Ranger District, 541-885-3400

Location Map: Crater Lake National Park.

4. Crater Lake National Park

60 mi. N of Klamath Falls, OR on Hwy. 97 and 62.
While the Park, established in 1902, precedes the CCC, a number of buildings and other projects were constructed by Depression-era workers. The intricate stonework typical of CCC projects can be found throughout the park in retaining walls and along pullouts. Be sure to take a look at the Rim Village Visitor Center structure and the Sinnott Memorial Overlook.
Information: Crater Lake National Park, 541-594-2211

Location Map: Lava Beds National Monument.

5. Lava Beds National Monument

From Tulelake, CA, W 5 mi. on East-West Rd., S 9.5 mi. on Hill Rd. to Monument, S 9.5 mi. to Visitor Center.
A large part of the infrastructure of Lava Beds National Monument was built by CCC workers from camps at Gillam Camp and Sheepy Ridge. Camp Tulelake was later used for German POWs.
Information: Lava Beds National Monument, 530-667-8101

Location Map: Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

6. Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

From Tulelake, CA W 5 mi. on East-West Rd., S 1/2 mi. on Hill Rd.
As you begin to enter the Refuge, note the location of the CCC camp known as BF-3. As with the Lava Beds NM, most of the Refuge's infrastructure were constructed by CCC workers. Be sure to check out the rock walls all around the Refuge. There is a 1/3 mi. trail to a cliff-top scenic overlook.
Information: Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 530-667-2231.

Location Map: Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge.

7. Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

From Plush, OR, N approx. 20 mi. on Hart Mountain Rd.
Many buildings on this Refuge bring the visitor back to the days of the CCC. Just inside the refuge boundary you'll pass the clearly marked site of a former CCC camp. Here Company 3442 carried out a number of projects including fence construction and erecting telephone lines in the area. The infirmary building is all that remains. Further on, the refuge headquarters buildings and residences are striking examples of CCC-era stonework. Erected in 1936 under supervision of Refuge personnel. Note - The ascent up the ridge to refuge headquarters can be steep, hard going. Use good judgement.
Information: Hart Mountain National Antelope Reserve, 541-947-3315.

World War II Sites

Location Map: Mitchell Monument.

8. Mitchell Monument

From Bly, OR, E on Hwy. 140 for 1/2 mi. N on Campbell Rd. for 1/2 mi., right on Forest Service Rd. 34 approx. 9 mi.
Weyerhaeuser Timber Company donated 22 acres to Fremont National Forest to commemorate the location of the only World War II fatalities by enemy action in the Continental United States. Pastor Archie Mitchell's wife and five school children were killed by the explosion of a Japanese Balloon Bomb on May 6, 1945. The device was one of many intended to spark enormous forest fires along the west coast as part of the Japanese war effort.
Information: Bly Ranger District, 541-353-2427.

Location Map:Tulelake/ Butte Valley Fairgrounds Museum.

9. Tulelake/ Butte Valley Fairgrounds Museum

In Tulelake, CA, just off Hwy 139.
The World War II era "American Citizen" and Japanese citizen internment camp was in Newell and is the focus of an extensive collection at this museum. Usually open only during the Tulelake Fair, feel free to call ahead and schedule a visit. Be sure to drive by the former site of the camp. Look for the large stone historical marker on Hwy. 139 in Newell, CA.
Information: Tulelake/Butte Valley Fairgrounds, 530-667-5312.

10. Prisoner of War Camp Site

From Tulelake, CA, W 5 mi. on East-West Rd., N approx. 1 mi. on Hill Rd., to camp, S to Visitor Center.
This abandoned CCC camp was the site of a World War II German Prisoner of War Camp. While, due to safety hazards, the camp is not open to the public, it is well worth the drive and can be viewed from the county road. More information about activities of the men at the camp is available at the nearby Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.
Information: Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, 530-667-2231.

Location Map: Recuperation Center/Marine Barracks.

11. Recuperation Center/Marine Barracks

From Klamath Falls, OR, N approx. 2 mi. on Old Fort Rd.
Marine veterans were stationed at this location to recuperate from tropical diseases contracted during the war in the Pacific. The high elevation and temperate climate of Klamath Falls made the barracks a comfortable home for over 5000 men. A monument now marks the site.
Information: Discover Klamath, 800-445-6728.

Location Map: Lakeview Municipal Airport.

12. Lakeview Municipal Airport

From Hwy 140, 5 mi. S/W of Lakeview, OR, follow County Rd. 1-10A South.
During World War II the U.S. Navy constructed a base and air strip here to train pilots. The hangar is still in use today. Nearby are the old ammunition bunkers.
Information: Lake County Airport, 541-947-4222.

Bonus Points

Want to get deep into World War II history? Here are listed places off the beaten path for really special experiences.

More Opportunities