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Ki-A-Kuts Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Ki-A-Kuts Falls, Tualatin River (bobcat)
On Maple Creek Road, Tillamook State Forest (bobcat)
Approaching Ki-A-Kuts Falls, Tualatin River (bobcat)
The Tualatin River near the confluence with Maple Creek (bobcat)
The hike to Ki-A-Kuts Falls and beyond (not a GPS track) (bobcat) Courtesy: Caltopo



Ki-a-Kuts Falls, on the Tualatin River only about 1 ½ miles from its source, was only “discovered” in 1993 by a team of Tualatin Riverkeepers as part of their efforts to track the river’s entire course. By the end of the 1990s, the USGS had agreed to give the falls a name, that of the last chief of the Atfalati Kalapuyans. It is quite likely that loggers and hunters knew of these falls before 1993, but they had never been properly documented until then. Note that the roads in this area are active logging roads, and there is no established trail to the falls. However, this is an excellent weekend excursion for families whose kids like to "get dirty." The description below includes an extension of the hike to visit the Tualatin River-Maple Creek Confluence.

From the pullout, follow the new extension of Maple Creek Road for about 80 yards, and find the old alignment of the road leading off into the woods on your right. The faint footpath crosses a creek and follows the road on a mossy tread through salal and sword fern under a canopy of Douglas-firs and red alders. Before the road curves to the left, look for a user trail that leads down and out to a basalt promontory above Ki-a-Kuts Falls. You can see the upper Tualatin River from here, but you can only hear the falls themselves. It’s possible to scramble down to the falls from the promontory, but it’s easier to go back to the road bed.

Continue a few more yards to where a slide has taken out the road. Take the path across the slide and, before heading up to the road again, find an established elk track down through the sword fern and Oregon grape to the Tualatin River. Once there, make your way upstream, negotiating the steep bank and log jams to get a head on view of Ki-a-Kuts Falls, where it plunges 40 feet between moss-covered faces of columnar basalt. Look for the dippers that nest near the top of the falls. Alternatively, you can find a way to cross the stream and view the falls from the other bank. Doing this, you will cross a tributary stream which has its own slender waterfall.

To extend the outing, return to the road bed and continue walking until you reach an old logging landing. It’s possible to follow a track to the left that makes a level traverse to upper Maple Creek. It’s easier to take a track leading down to the right. This trail drops below a ridge (Don’t take the trail on the ridge) and then merges with an old cat road that leads to the alder-shaded Tualatin River-Maple Creek Confluence, a peaceful spot for a contemplative lunch break.

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Active logging in the area. Be aware of road closures and logging operations. Travel these roads on weekends.


Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest by the Tillamook State Forest Committee, Columbia Group Sierra Club

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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.