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Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge
Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is located some 24 miles north of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Crater Lake National Park lies approximately 20 miles north of the refuge. The refuge is on the northwestern side of Upper Klamath Lake.
Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, now comprising 14,966 acres of swamp and open water, was established in 1928. At an elevation of slightly above 4,000 feet, it lies in the shadow of the forested east base of the Cascade Mountains and is watered by mountain streams and deep, clear springs.
Popular recreation activities on Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge include fishing, wildlife observation, canoeing, photography, birding, boating, and waterfowl hunting.
In summer, mallards, pintails, cinnamon teal, Virginia rails, American bitterns, wood ducks, grebes, and many other birds congregate here. On the marsh is a rookery with double-crested cormorants, blue herons, black-crowned night herons, white pelicans, grebes, and common egrets.
The Refuge cooperates with the Forest Service to sign and maintain a two-loop canoe trail through the Klamath Marsh. About two-thirds of the 8.5-mile canoe trail route is on Refuge waters, with the balance on Forest Service property.
Aspen, white fir, red fir, Douglas fir, and Ponderosa dominate steep slopes that come down to the spring waters. On open slopes, penstemons, asters, paintbrushes, blue lupines, and other flowering plants add
dramatic color to the landscape.
Several bald eagles live year-round in trees near the refuge. Bald eagles can be seen coming and going to and from the marshes and open water in search of food. They will also sit in trees near the water’s edge, looking and listening.”… we saw eagles everywhere… it was the closest we’d ever been to a bald eagle and perhaps, to each other…” Sunset Magazine.
In the early 1900’s Pelican Bay Lodge, now known as Harriman Springs Resort & Marina, Rocky Point Resort, and Point Comfort Lodge, were the gateway for travelers going to Crater Lake. Eating a fine meal on the resort’s outdoor Terrace dining area, overlooking the marsh, is time well spent.
The seasons roll on through the marshes and open waters of Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. The star-filled skies are celestial poetry in motion, here the Milky Way shimmers in volume and brightness. On the ground, the rhythms of survival and regeneration run their course. Listen to the marsh songs and a bald eagle diving at a fish.
The view from the peak of Pelican Butte looks down on Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, Upper Klamath Lake, and Pelican Bay’s mouth. Pelican Butte is a snowmobile destination in the winter. In the summer it is the big view of a remarkable land – north, east, south and west.
Views of Mt. McLoughlin, 9,495 ft., provides an enchanting backdrop for resting seagulls. Not that long ago steamboats came up this bay with passengers and cargo.
Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge is unique among the six Basin refuges for its vast tule marsh, drowned stream channels outlined with willow-lined banks rising above impounded waters, and coniferous forests on steep mountain slopes along the western boundary.
Scroll down to see a list of tours starting from this location.