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Ramona Falls

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

The 'glowing effect' of Ramona Falls (Jeff Statt)
The falls fan out in impressive fashion from a narrow chasm 100 feet above (Jeff Statt)
A footbridge spans the base of falls (Jerry Adams)



The dazzling, picturesque Ramona Falls stands like a fountain centerpiece at the front of a wooded cathedral. The water appears as if from nowhere a hundred feet above you and fans out like a wedding veil to the creek bed below. As it trickles and ricochets off the basaltic rock-face, it gives it a glowing, almost phosphorescent, appearance. This illusion is especially noticeable when the alder canopy allows the evening sun rays to pass through, like a spotlight on a great work of art. Its wooded setting provides a cool escape from the summer heat and is an obvious resting spot before turning around or heading to points beyond.

This is a popular location however. Not only do day-hikers from Portland visit the area, but backpackers traversing the Timberline Trail or Yocum Ridge) will pass through here, often taking up camp at a nearby site.

However, don't let the crowds deter you. This is required fare for outdoor enthusiasts, and it's on many guidebook authors' must-see lists!

This is also the junction of the Timberline and Ramona Falls Trails, the latter coming up Ramona Creek from the Pacific Crest Trail.

According to McArthur and McArthur's Oregon Geographic Names, Ramona Falls was discovered and named by John E. Mills, a Forest Service employee who oversaw Civilian Conservation Corps crews constructing the Skyline Trail, later the Pacific Crest Trail, in the area. Mills found the waterfall in August 1933, while he was scouting ahead to fix the trail's course. He was engaged to be married and was enamored of the well-known love song "Ramona." The song and several silent and early talky movies were derived from the extremely popular romantic novel Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, a dedicated activist for Native American rights. The main character in the 1884 novel is Ramona, a half Indian woman who struggled against the racism of the time in Spanish Southern California.


On the one hand you wouldn't think to camp here because it's fairly close to the trailhead and is very popular, but there are a lot of places to camp in the vicinity.

From Ramona Falls there are two trails - one goes west and the other northwest. The northwest immediately splits into two trails that are both going approximately northwest. The west trail, within about 0.1 miles of the falls, has several side trails going to campsites. These are probably the most used. You can get drinking water from below Ramona Falls.

Keep going on the West trail about 0.4 miles to a junction, and then take the PCT South down to the Sandy River. In about 0.1 mile is a large flat area with a couple of campsites. Go uphill on a steep trail a short distance to the Upper Sandy Guard Station: there are places to camp up there. Alternatively, on the other side of the PCT, there's a side trail that leads to some other campsites. If you keep going a short distance more on the PCT, there's a nice clear stream for drinking water.

Keep going on the PCT towards the Sandy River, and there are many flat places that would make a good camp. A sudden increase in stream flow is always possible so maybe don't camp next to the river itself. If you cross the Sandy River, the crowds considerably diminish, and there are a couple of campsites on the other side.

On the northwest trail from Ramona Falls that follows along Ramona Creek, there are nice places to camp. This is nice when the weather is hot - it's much cooler next to Ramona Creek. In particular, there is a place where the trail has been routed away from the creek, and the old trail next to the creek hits some nice spots.

Between the two trails of the loop you can walk away from the trail and find nice spots. It's about 1.5 miles from Ramona Falls to the other end of the loop, and the two sides of the loop are between 0.1 and 0.4 miles apart so there are many possibilities.

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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.

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