Kayakers, canoeists, & SUPers could spend a lifetime exploring Crater Lake’s Backyard’s 15,000 acres of waterways.
NEWS FLASH: SUPs have discovered that the calm waters here are perfect for stand up paddling, the fastest growing water sport! Rent one from ROE! Real Oregon Experience or at The Ledge in Klamath Falls.
While not a “paddle”, the boat trip on Crater Lake is just special. Advance reservations needed.
Wow…mountain and marsh views, wildlife, and enforced speed limits that protect wildlife and those using non- motorized crafts! Nearly 250 species of birds nest here or migrate through. Otter, mink, and beaver emerge along the sheltered marsh channels that follow ancient Indian travel routes.
Upper Klamath Canoe Trail
9.5 miles, 4-5 hours round trip. Maps are posted at the 2 main entry points, Malone Springs and the Rocky Point Launch, or pick up the Canoe Trail map/brochure at Rocky Point Resort or CrystalWood Lodge. Allow 2-3 hours each way.
North from Malone Springs
3 miles, 2-3 round trip. This route continues north from the Canoe Trail and ends at Crystal Springs/CrystalWood Lodge. These waters are more remote, with fewer visitors and only the occasional shoreline home.
South of Rocky Point Boat Launch
1 mile, 1-2 hours round trip.. Follow the shoreline 1/2 mile and take Harriman Creek where it enters from the right. Continue almost 1/2 mile to springs bubbling out of the rocky shoreline. Below, dark brown colonial algae grow in the crystal clear water and big trout glide by.
An old mile-long channel to the lake for floating logs. Very shady and peaceful with spectacular views of Mt. McLoughlin and lots bird life. Heading south on Rocky Point Road toward Hwy 140, continue straight on gravel when the paved road takes a sharp right to the Hwy. In a few yards, take the only left and go less than 1/4 mile to public parking. Easy launch for kayak or canoe.
Launch at the steep east end of Odessa Campground off Hwy 140, milepost 47. This beautiful area has few visitors but is a favorite with locals on summer evenings. Large steamboats made Sunday excursions from Klamath Falls to Odessa in the early 1900s, tying up nearby.
Wood River Wetlands
Launch at the Wetlands parking area or at Petric Park. Nearby fields support a large variety of water and shore birds. Enjoy a panoramic view of the peaks surrounding Crater Lake, Pelican Butte, two wilderness areas, and even the glimmering peak of Mt. Shasta. Be aware of the Wood River’s strong current which makes any upstream paddling challenging.
Wood River headwaters at Jackson F. Kimball State Recreation Site
“Paddling in the sky” is how a float of the spring-fed Wood River headwaters is described by many. Explore several acres of connected crystal clear turquoise pools at this special place. Don’t attempt the float to the Wood River Picnic Area unless you are an experienced paddler. Located on the Wood River, Let’s Paddle rents kayaks and offers shuttle service. (541) 281-7775.
Launch at Klamath County Park on S. Chiloquin Rd., 200 yds. east of Hwy 97. Takes about 4 hrs. for the gentle 5 mile drift to Williamson River Resort.
Launch at Eagle Ridge County Park. Head out from shore for open lake views, or hug the marshy shoreline to the south in search of birds and wildlife.
Tips and Advice for Paddlers
There’s less wind in the morning when wildlife and birds are the most active. Windy afternoons are common and make paddling difficult.
Spring and early summer are best for paddling. Later, water levels drop, tall vegetation blocks line of sight to disorient paddlers, and travel out from the main canoe trails becomes difficult.
Canoes are included with room rent at Dearing Cabin, Crater Lake Resort, Lonesome Duck, while CrystalWood Lodge rents canoes to guests. Rocky Point Resort, Agency Lake Resort, Fish Lake Resort, Let’s Paddle (541.281.7775) and Lake of the Woods Resort rent canoes, kayaks, and/or boats to day visitors and guests. ROE! Real Oregon Experience offers kayak tours and rents kayaks and SUPs. The Ledge in Klamath Falls rents kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards.
Shuttle service is available at Agency Lake Resort and Let’s Paddle (541.281.7775) for one-way paddlers. Some resorts charge for launch & take-out.
Check our Be Prepared page for some safety tips.