Long-distance riders stopping over in Crater Lake’s Backyard™ appreciate the welcome respite offered by our rural roads and trails, especially if they’ve come off heavily-trafficked Highway 97. They find opportunities for day rides during their rest, like the 9-mile compacted gravel surface trail that connects Lake of the Woods and Fish Lake Recreation Areas. The trail crosses recent lava flows from Brown Mountain and offers views of Mt. McLoughlin. Start from Great Meadow, Brown Mountain Trailhead, or an area campground or picnic site.
Riders enjoy Westside Road because of its low traffic, wide shoulders, smooth pavement, frequent pull-offs, long sight distances, well-spaced stops, rolling grades, shady scenery, and no long hills. Locals value Westside Road as a great location for children beginning to cycle, since shoulders are wide enough for side-by-side bicycles.
Day riders discover destinations in the area for any skill level. Beginning at the Hwy 140 intersection, follow Westside Road a bit over 2 miles to the Westside Road overlook. Or continue 3 ½ miles further to Malone Springs, a boat launch site and picnic area equipped with a vault toilet. Four more miles bring riders to Crystal Springs Rest Stop, a beautiful area also with vault toilet facilities. The ultimate 24-mile day trip ends at Fort Klamath, or stretch it into a multi day trip to or through Crater Lake National Park. Lodging and refueling supplies are available in Rocky Point, Fort Klamath. Crater Lake National Park. Fort Klamath Museum, Jackson F. Kimball State Recreation Area, and Wood River Picnic Area are all worth visiting. Over 2,000 Cycle Oregon participants camped at Rodear Arena near Fort Klamath on Sept. 10, 2012.
For views of pastures and high mountains, consider the nearly-flat 10-mile loop from/to Fort Klamath [map] that follows Weed, Sevenmile, and Nicholson Rds.
Mountain bikers might prefer the more challenging 25-mile Brown Mountain Trail [map] that follows Hwy 140, USFS Rd. 37, and Dead Indian Memorial Rd. The 1500 ft. vertical climb with old growth timber and few hills make this a scenic jewel.
The also-challenging 12-mile (round trip) Rye Spur Trail [map] begins about ¼ mile east of the Fourmile Lake turnoff on Hwy 140 and crests at the scenic 6200 ft. level.
Each year, increasing numbers of cyclists come to Crater Lake National Park to ride around the lake on the 33-mile Rim Drive. The scenery is spectacular, but the route is physically demanding with steep hills, heavy traffic, and few shoulders at high elevation. While all Park trails are closed to bicycles, Greyback Drive provides eight miles of unpaved one-way road. Bicycle helmets are required for all riders in the Park. All roads closed to automobiles are also closed to bicycles. Water is available only at Rim Village and Park Headquarters.
Check with Hutch’s Bicycle Shop in Klamath Falls for information on other cycling opportunities. They also rent, sell, and service bicycles. 541.850.BIKE(2453). Let’s Paddle offers shuttle service. 541.281.2775.
For great cycling suggestions in northern California, just south of Crater Lake’s backyard, visit Cycle Siskiyou.