There is nothing quite like the fresh air, open skies and cool breeze of Lake of the Woods. That is, unless you are biking it with your family. There is a smooth, well maintained trail that runs between Sunset Campground and Aspen Point Campground around the northeast side of the lake. Sunset trail runs peacefully beside each campground, but not through them. The trail also runs through the Lake of the Woods Resort a great little pitstop for younger family members, about half way between each campground.
Lake of the Woods is a natural lake located at the base of Mt McLaughlin 36 miles west of Klamath Falls just off Oregon Highway 140 near the crest Cascade Mountains. Elevation of the lake is 4,949’ above sea level and sits inside the Fremont-Winema National Forest, covering 1,146 acres in size.
The drive to Lake of the Woods from Klamath Falls is beautiful and worth an adventure all to it’s own.
Earlier this summer, with rental electric assist bikes from Zachs Bikes in Klamath Falls, my wife, my youngest son (aged 8) and I peddled our way up and back on this 4.8 mile trail.
We decided to take a counter clockwise journey around this section of lake by beginning our journey at the boat launch of Sunset Campground. The trail here is flat and winds through a beautiful pine forest on its way to the resort. Along this section, there are many places to stop to capture a fun family photo or even dip your toes in the chilly water. Just be sure to bring some insect repellant.
About half a mile from where you start the trail takes a northwestern turn around the lake heading around the lake to the Rainbow Bay Day Use Area. This area is a bit rocky in places and has some small hills that little ones on single speed bikes might not be able to handle. However, the electric assist bikes we were using had no issues with the hills or rocky terrain.
After riding through the day use area, we came upon the resort. On the day we rode around the lake it was quiet at the resort. However, take caution as on a busy weekend there could be crowds here. The resort often has live music on the weekends as well as a buffet dinner too.
After riding through the resort, the shoreline takes a turn north to Aspen Point Campground. This section of the lake is picturesque as Mt McLaughlin is so close, one feels they could reach out and touch it. This vantage point makes for beautiful photos most any time of day. There is even a gazebo in this area often used for family gatherings, picnics and weddings.
At this point on the trail you are a little over one mile in from where you started. Onward to Aspen Point Campground.
Aspen Point Campground is the halfway point of this journey. Here is a great place to stop with the family and enjoy a snack, a sip of water, and to take a moment to soak up the beauty of the lake. Plus it is a great place to hear the frogs croaking in the distance.
If you are feeling adventurous, the trail continues around the northern side of the lake for another 1.5 miles before connecting with National Forest Road 3601. NF-3601 runs along the western side of the lake through an area of summer cabins. This road will tie into Dead Indian Memorial Road and then return to the Sunset Campground. If you were to circumnavigate the entire loop of the lake, this is the route you would take. A full loop around the lake is approximately 9-miles of hilly terrain and tight 2 lane roads. This loop is not recommended for a family ride with young children.
For this journey, Aspen Point Campground was the halfway point. We turned around here and began to head back. From here a family has a choice on how to return. Option “A” would be to ride the trail, back the same way we came or option “B” could take a road through Aspen Point Campground to another trail that leads back to the resort. This second trail, which was unnamed on signage, travels over a little more elevation. We decided on the second trail to test the electric assist of the bikes.
We are happy we did. The electric assist made cycling fun even in this section of hilly terrain. Although our son struggled on the assent with his single speed bike. The best part about a climb, even a short one, is the downhill. This one has a downhill right into the Lake of the Woods Resort.
Once returning to the resort it was time for a break, so a quick stop into the marina store and a few dollars later, everyone was enjoying some ice cream. A great treat on a warm day in the mountains.
After the ice cream break, it was time for a short ride back around Rainbow Bay and back to Sunset Campground.
All in all, this was an amazing family adventure, that I would highly recommend for anyone looking to get outdoors. The electronic assist bikes made it easy and way more fun than it should have been. We used Trek mountain bikes for this ride, but if someone stayed near the shoreline, a cruiser or Townie would have been just perfect too.
If you would like to rent your own electronic assist bikes, Zachs Bikes in Klamath Falls has the bikes we used. They are the Trek Powerfly 5 and the Trek DA+. Contact the crew for rental details, 541-851-9200, 831 Main Street, Klamath Falls or www.zachsbikes.com.
This article was not sponsored by Zachs Bikes but they did provide the Trek rentals for the article.
Please note, at the time of this article there is a $6 per vehicle day use fee to park at the USFS Campgrounds and Resort at Lake of the Woods.
For more information on Lake of the Woods Area visit:
- Lake of the Woods Resort: https://lakeofthewoodsresort.com/
- Lake of the Woods, USFS: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/fremont-winema/recarea/?recid=77580
- Sunset Campground, USFS: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/fremont-winema/recarea/?recid=59731
- Aspen Point Campground, USFS: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/fremont-winema/recreation/recarea/?recid=59821&actid=42
For More information on biking at Lake of the Woods or elsewhere around the basin visit http://rideklamathride.com/
Basin Adventures is brought to you by the Klamath Falls KOA Journey. Centrally located in Klamath Falls, the Klamath Falls KOA Journey is the perfect base camp to visit all the spectacular recreation sites of the Klamath Basin.
Visit http://koa.com/campgrounds/klamath/ for more details.