Scenic Approaches to Crater Lake by’ Medford and by Klamath Falls

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1918

 Scenic Approaches to Crater Lake by’ Medford and by Klamath Falls

The approaches to Crater Lake National Park are from the railroad stations of Medford, Ore., and Klamath Falls, Ore. The distance from Medford by auto is 81 miles; from Klamath Falls 62 miles, and these approaches constitute no little charm of the Crater Lake trip, for each drive traverses a country of much diversity in scenic attractiveness.

Crater Lake affords a most interesting side trip for tourists to or from California.

THE MEDFORD APPROACH: From Medford, the chief city of the Rogue River Valley, the auto road leads northeastward through miles of orchard country. Gradually the highway climbs out of the valley into the wooded foothills and as it leads up the gorge of the Rogue River the scenery takes on a wilder aspect. Among anglers the fast flowing Rogue is noted for its hard-fighting steelhead and rainbow trout. The river here runs like a thief and twists like a rogue, but its waters are white with rapids, the name being derived from its ruddy bed and given it by those French Canadian voyageurs-the Riviere Rouge, or red river,

Higher up the canyon, in the deepest wilderness, thunder the great Falls of the Rogue and farther up its course the river is spanned by a natural bridge of lava, a hundred feet across. At Rogue-Elk, thirty-six miles from Medford, lunch is served, and the drive is resumed, passing through the greatest forest of yellow pine in the world, with many firs, yews, larches and cedars. Climbing into the Cascades the view covers far-reaching vistas of densely wooded heights. As the road leaves the Rogue River it turns eastward up the canyon of Castle Creek and crosses the western boundary of the Park. Ahead is a cluster of sloping peaks, rising 1,000 feet above the general level of the range, and as the road winds upward to the crest below like a glittering jewel in a sunken setting lies Crater Lake.


Klamath Falls is the center of the “Klamath Country” and is situated on the banks of the Link River, about a mile from Upper Klamath Lake. It is in a region full of the charm of mountain and forest, much of it still a wilderness-a fitting gateway for Crater Lake National Park. Its marshes are breeding-grounds for wild fowl; its clear streams are full of fighting trout; in its forests roam deer, bear and cougars, Crystal River, Cherry Creek, Wood River, Odessa Creek, Williamson River, Spring Creek and Sprague River are a few of the trout streams, well known to anglers, that enter the upper lake. Pelican Bay is a favorite trolling ground.

The auto road leads for eighteen miles along the shores of Upper Klamath Lake, the home of the white pelican. The lake is twenty-five miles in length and ten miles at its greatest width. The snow-capped peak of Mount McLoughlin rises 6,000 feet above its western shore, which shows tier upon tier of heavily timbered ridges that hem the horizon. Passing through the Klamath Indian Agency at the head of the lake, the road five miles further runs through Fort Klamath, both lying in a broad valley, surrounded by wooded foothills. As the grade ascends, the view looking back is a revelation in landscape loveliness. Winding upward through heavier timber it follows Anna Creek Canyon to Anna Springs Camp at the Park headquarters, thence five miles to Crater Lake Lodge on the rim.

Mount McLaughlin rears to the west on the Upper Klamath Lake on The Falls of the Rogue River on the Medford road.

Mount Shasta looms to the south on the Klamath Falls road.


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