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Fall Creek Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Fall Creek Falls (lowest tier) (bobcat)
Defile on the Fall Creek Falls Trail (bobcat)
Footbridge on the Fall Creek Falls Trail (bobcat)
Upper tier, Fall Creek Falls (bobcat)
The short hike to the three tiers of Fall Creek Falls (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: USFS/Caltopo
Falling
Poison-Oak

Contents

Hike Description

This short National Recreation Trail takes you up a lush valley carved by rushing Fall Creek and jumbled with ancient boulders. Near the beginning of the hike, you’ll pass through a tight cleft in the rock, and the creek itself disappears under a massive chunk of basalt. You’ll pass gnarly old Douglas-firs to reach 100-foot Fall Creek Falls, which plunges in three tiers over mossy Old Cascades basalt. Return the same way to admire the creek and its cascades under a leafy canopy.

From the trailhead, you’ll pass a map of the trail and then cross a footbridge over a narrow defile on Fall Creek. A short trail to the right leads to restrooms, which were out-of-order in early 2018. Continue up Trail #1502, with Fall Creek rushing through a mossy landscape on your left. Numerous large, mossy basalt boulders have rolled down into this valley. Douglas-firs and western red-cedars are the main canopy trees. The trail winds through a narrow split in a huge boulder: There is just enough space for one person to squeeze through! Switchback up past more mossy boulders, and then make two more switchbacks before swinging away from the creek. Looking upstream, you’ll see Fall Creek cascading down the slope in a series of short, sharp drops. Pass a massive Douglas-fir, and come to the junction with the Jobs Garden Trail #1502A.

Take a right here, and hike up in a salal/Oregon grape carpet. Swing left, and reach Jobs Garden, a field of jumbled talus at the base of a collapsed columnar basalt face shaded by big-leaf maples, Douglas-firs, and Pacific madrones. These ancient rocks are part of the Old Cascades, formed over 15 million years ago (as compared to the stratovolcanoes of the High Cascades, most of which are less than one million years old). Ongoing processes of folding have caused these basalt structures to twist and collapse.

Return to the main trail, and continue up above the creek. Hike under a tumble of large boulders before the trail levels on a flat of cedars and large Douglas-firs. Powerlines run high above. Soon you’ll reach the tallest and lowest tier of Fall Creek Falls, which plunges about 50 feet over a mossy basalt face. You can rock hop to the middle of the stream for a good view.

From this lower tier, the trail makes two switchbacks up along a pole-and-rail fence to reach an upper tier of Fall Creek Falls where the creek spouts out of a narrow defile. The trail makes one switchback up from here to reach gravel FR 4710, the original Umpqua River Highway. Go left here to cross the bridge over Fall Creek. About 50 yards farther on, a short steep user trail drops to mossy ramparts to get a good head on view of the veil-like uppermost tier - only 10 feet high - of Fall Creek Falls.


Facilities

  • Information kiosk, port-a-potty

Maps

  • Maps: Hike Finder
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service & U.S. Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management: Land of Umpqua
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: Umpqua National Forest

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this destination

  • 100 Hikes in Southern Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Trips & Trails: Oregon by William L. Sullivan
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Oregon by Bonnie Henderson & Zach Urness
  • Oregon & Washington: 50 Hikes With Kids by Wendy Gorton
  • Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon by Adam Sawyer
  • Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest by David L. Anderson
  • Best Old-growth Forest Hikes: Washington & Oregon Cascades by John & Diane Cissel
  • Oregon's Southern Cascades: Camping & Hiking by Tom Stienstra & Sean Patrick Hill
  • Oregon Hiking by Sean Patrick Hill
  • Pacific Northwest Hiking by Scott Leonard & Sean Patrick Hill

More Links


Page 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.