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Henline Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Henline Falls greets the hiker at the end of the Henline Falls trail. (Matt Reeder)
Wild ginger (Asarum caudatum), Henline Falls Trail (bobcat)
Henline Falls (Kaltbluter)
Access into the mine is limited to about 30 feet (Kaltbluter)
The short trail to Henline Falls (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo
  • Start point: Henline Falls TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Henline Falls
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Distance: 1.8 miles roundtrip
  • High point:
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: All year (check conditions first in winter)
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: No

Contents

Hike Description

Featuring a 125-foot waterfall and an abandoned mine shaft, Henline Falls is a scenic and worthwhile destination for an easy day hike in the Little North Santiam River area. At less than two miles round trip and with only 200 feet of elevation gain, this is a great hike for families, provided you keep the children away from steep drop offs. The abandoned adit of the Silver King Mine burrows into the cliff on the right side of the falls and is now blocked by a bat gate.

Sign in at the wilderness permit box at the trailhead and head up the Henline Falls Trail #3348. Join an old road bed, formerly FR2209-301, lined by red alder in a Douglas-fir/western hemlock forest with a salal, Oregon grape, and sword fern carpet. Pass a road track leading up to the right and then reach the unsigned Henline Falls-Ogle Mountain Trail Junction.

Keep left here and reach the old trailhead with a sign for the Henline Falls Trail. This wide trail, once a tramway to the Silver King Mine, drops past some large Douglas-firs and then rises gently. Pass the junction with a user trail that rises steeply up the slope to the top of Henline Falls. Drop to the area of Henline Falls, squeezing past the concrete foundation of the Silver King Mine’s power plant and water wheel, once fed by a flume whose brackets are still attached to the monkey-flowered rock face above the trail.

Henline Falls is a wonderful spot. The falls descend approximately 125 feet as a wide curtain of water into a beautiful green pool that is very typical of the Little North Fork/Opal Creek area. At the base of the falls there is a logjam which has created a number of small but deep green pools. There are various vantage points for viewing the 125-foot falls: the best may be from below the plunge pool and log jam. While a torrential flow might seem grand, the view will be obscured by spray and it will be difficult to get close. The filmy cascade of late spring or mid-fall is more photogenic. Up to the right of the falls is the adit for the Silver King Mine. It was drilled 1,700 feet into the rock without profitable gold being found; these days, there is a bat gate about twenty yards into the shaft.

Return the way you came, but come back often. The falls changes greatly with each flood in the winter, and the pool at the bottom can change every year.

Note:

If you want a scramble adventure, take the user trail that you saw coming in and head very steeply up. At a junction, cut across to get close to the top of Henline Falls. You should be able to find the penstock channel that was blasted six feet deep into solid rock to carry water from a rubble dam built across the creek about 100 feet from the top of the falls. Water was directed to a concrete headgate dam (of which some part remains) and then diverted into the channel to be directed down the cliff via a wooden flume. The spate helped to operate the Pelton water wheel near the base of the falls. Also near the top of the falls, on the west side of the creek, is a diversion ditch that was probably used to direct the stream (and waterfall) away from the mine entrance.

It is also possible to bushwhack up the slopes above the top of Henline Falls to a series of waterfalls above known as Family Falls, but this is only recommended for those with bushwhacking experience. The slopes are very steep in spots and some of the traverses between waterfalls are difficult.

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Bull of the Woods Wilderness, Opal Creek Wilderness, Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area
  • Geo-Graphics: Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness Map
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest: Detroit Ranger District
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Willamette National Forest

Regulations or Restrictions, etc.

  • Part of the Opal Creek Wilderness: all restrictions apply.

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 101 Hikes in the Majestic Mount Jefferson Region by Matt Reeder
  • Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon by Adam Sawyer
  • 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades by William L. Sullivan
  • Wild in the Willamette edited by Lorraine Anderson with Abby Phillips Metzler
  • Waterfall Lover's Guide: Pacific Northwest by Gregory A. Plumb

More Links


Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.