Waterfall season is right here in Oregon.
In that awkward late autumn period, when the rain has arrived however the snow is lagging, waterfalls hit center stage.
Here are 15 of my favorite waterfall hikes inside ninety minutes of Salem. Most of those waterfalls are open year-round, besides in low elevation snowstorms. A few are a bit greater.
Silver Falls State Park
This is the obvious choice, in fact, so we’re simply going to scratch the surface. Ten waterfalls, six more than 90 ft tall all in a glorious temperate rainforest east of Salem.
If you don’t want to hike the whole Trail of Ten Falls — a challenging eight to 9 miles — contemplate the shorter loops detailed on this story.
My favorite rainy season hike begins at Winter Falls Trailhead and travels past five waterfalls and back on a 3.6 mile tour. The spotlight in Double Falls, which at 178 ft is the tallest cascade within the state park.
Shameless plug: If you’ve questioned whether or not anyone has ever taken a canoe off 177-foot South Falls — or about how Silver Falls grew to become a park — you need to hearken to our podcast on Silver Falls.
More silver falsl state park:
Directions: About a 45-minute drive from Salem. Follow Highway 22 east from Salem for 7.6 miles and take Exit 7 for Silver Falls State Park. Follow Highway 214 for 16 miles, following indicators until you reach the park.
Coordinates: forty four.876667, -122.64805.
The ignored little brother of more well-known Silver Falls State Park is home to 3 waterfalls — together with one 100-footer — small crowds and dog-friendly trails. It’s the quickest drive among the five hikes.
The trek begins on an old gated street, passing farmland that usually has a few cows grazing, before winding up into the dense, temperate rainforest, where wildflowers may be found in spring.
At mile 1.3 the old highway passes over a concrete bridge and just above decrease Shellburg Fall’s 40-foot plunge.
Turn left and you’ll shortly arrive at the major attraction, Shellburg Falls, a 100-foot waterfall where you possibly can hike behind the falls in a narrow, darkish cave. A facet trail brings you down to the grotto at the waterfall’s base.
It’s a roughly 3-mile hike out-and-back. You can continue previous Shellburg Falls for a roughly 6-mile loop.
Directions: About a 45-minute drive from Salem. Head east on Highway 22. After 22.four miles, flip left instantly before Mehama’s flashing yellow gentle on Fern Ridge Road. Follow it for 1.2 miles to a small gravel car parking zone on the proper.
Coordinates: 44.8053, -122. Henline Falls
This waterfall in the Opal Creek area roars with an actual fury once the rain starts falling on this short and kid-friendly hike.
The trek is two miles round-trip, climbing just 200 feet via evergreen forest carpeted with ferns and moss, to the 126-foot vertical curtain of Henline Falls.
From the trailhead, the trail enters the Opal Creek Wilderness. Stay left at two junctions until you attain the falls plunging right into a shallow emerald pool.
If you have kids, be wary toward the end because the place to view the waterfall is fairly small and steep.
More:A hidden ‘household’ of waterfalls in Opal Creek Wilderness
Directions: About a 55-minute drive from Salem. Head east on Highway 22 for 23 miles. Turn left on North Fork Road on the second yellow flashing mild in Mehama. Drive for sixteen.eight miles and continue straight by way of an intersection, avoiding Road 2207 that leads to Three Pools. The Henline Falls Trailhead is just 0.1 mile past this intersection on the left.
Coordinates: forty four.845821, -122.32667.
Cascade De Los Ninos (Opal Creek Trail)
The “waterfall of the children” is amongst the most spectacular cascades on the ever-popular Opal Creek Trail east of Salem.
The hike follows a gravel highway that’s so fairly it’s extra like a trail, winding under hundred-year-old bushes alongside the Little North Santiam River.
From the gate/trailhead, the trail crosses Gold Creek on a 60-foot-tall bridge. After 2 miles, it reaches the former Merton sawmill website which operated for simply two years a half-century ago. Look for a spur trail on the right main a short distance to a view of the 30-foot falls roaring out over a large rock outcropping. Turn again right here for a 4-mile hike or continue one other mile to the wilderness village of Jawbone Flats.
Note: If you attain the log bridge crossing the river, you’ve gone too far.
Directions: From Salem comply with Highway 22 east for 23 miles to the small town of Mehama. At the second flashing yellow mild, flip left on Little North Fork Road. Follow this highway 21 miles of pavement after which gravel because it turns into Forest Road 2209. Stay left at a junction with an indication for Three Pools Recreation Area and park at a big trailhead and parking area at a gated street.
Coordinates: forty four.859828, -122.264339.
Little North Santiam Trail
My favorite trail in the Little North Santiam will get nice and quiet in the course of the wet season, which allows the area’s waterfalls to bloom.
The waterfalls aren’t tremendous obvious to the uninitiated, and some require a bit of off trail scrambling.
The LNS Trail is a total of four.5 miles one-way from the Elkhorn Trailhead to Shady Cove Campground. But here’s a few options with waterfall payoff.
At mile 0.7, you’ll reach a well-worn person trail on the left that leads to a small however highly effective 10-foot waterfall typically called Elkhorn Falls.
Keep going a mile or so, as the trail climbs uphill, and you’ll hear the frenzy of Triple Falls. It’s essential to scramble down a steep and sketchy slope to view it, but it’s a really scenic area. If you hike the full trail, you’ll finally come to Three Pools, the uber-popular summer swimming gap that in rain is remodeled into a triple speedy of mini waterfalls.
Lower Trailhead — Elkhorn: Travel east on Highway 22, toward Detroit, for 23 miles. Turn left on North Fork Road on the second yellow flashing mild in Mehama. Follow the highway to only past mile marker 13 and turn proper onto Elkhorn Drive (also marked on maps as FSR 201). Follow this paved and gravel street half a mile to a trailhead and parking area on the left.
Trailhead coordinates:44.821159, -122.355351.
Upper Trailhead — Shady Cove Campground: From Elkhorn Drive, comply with Little North Fork Road (FSR 2207) for 2.4 miles. Turn proper at a sign for Three Pools and Shady Cove Campground (still FSR 2207), and observe it 2.1 miles, passing Three Pools Day Use Area, to a bridge over the river at Shady Cove Campground. Just throughout the river is the trailhead (on the right) and a parking area (on the left).
Trailhead coordinates: forty four.845983, -122. Pup Creek Falls (Clackamas Trail)
Old-growth rainforest alongside the Clackamas River Trail is the primer, however 200-foot Pup Creek Falls is the actual stunner, especially through the wet season.
The hike is a longer one at 7.5 miles with around 1,000 ft of climb, and it’s pretty in style even within the low season. Even so, it’s nicely worth a 90-minute drive northeast of Salem.
The hike begins at Fish Lake Trailhead (right next to a campground of the same name). After following the river and climbing above it, maintain a watch out for a “falls” pointer around the 3.5 mile mark and drop all the means down to Pup Creek Falls.
Directions: From Salem, drive north on I-5 to exit 271 in Woodburn. Follow Highway 211 east by way of Molalla toward Estacada. Turn proper on Highway 224 and follow it 14 miles before turning proper onto Fish Creek Road. Go zero.three miles up Fish Creek Road and pull into the large parking area on the best.
Coordinates: 45.15728, -122. Butte Creek Falls
These two waterfalls simply exterior the tiny hamlet of Scotts Mills are each stunners — although in different ways — and require solely a fast and simple hike. The driving instructions have just lately changed following instillation of a gate, so take notice below.
As for the hike, it’s short and sweet. A 1.5-mile loop heads into temperate rainforest and, beginning the loop going left, reaches 78-foot Butte Creek Falls dropping right into a small pool seen overhead from the trail. Be cautious here with young kids. The trail travels to a slim level with steep cliffs dropping away on either side, and there are no guardrails.
Just past, staying left on another aspect trail, Upper Butte Creek Falls drops small (26 feet), wide (40 feet) and fairly right into a small splash pool. Paths lead behind the falls into the deep grotto.
More:New Weyerhaeuser gate forces alternate path to in style Butte Creek Falls and campground
Directions: Directions to Butte Creek Falls have recently modified following instillation of a gate on Crooked Finger Road. Now, drive into Scotts Mills. On the far aspect of town, turn left onto Maple Grove Road (instead of proper onto Crooked Finger Road). After four.4 miles, flip right at a “T” intersection with Groshog Road to stay on Maple Grove Road. 3 miles past that, flip proper on Sawtell Road. Sawtell Road turns into Family Camp Road after 5.2 miles, then turns into Butte Creek Mainline after about three more miles. Half a mile after a crossing of Fall Creek (or eight.4 miles after leaving Maple Grove Road), turn right on BC 500 Road; flip proper again onto CF four hundred Road after 1.2 miles. Follow CF 400 Road for 1.eight miles to the trailhead.
– Directions courtesy of Oregon Department of Forestry and OregonHikers.com.
Coordinates: forty four.92088, -122. Abiqua Falls
The trek to Abiqua Falls is an adventure, but these keen to make the trip are rewarded with certainly one of Oregon’s most scenic (and popular) waterfall views.
The waterfall is on non-public property but is available to the public via the Abbey Foundation of Oregon. Stay on marked routes and ensure to have appropriate directions.
The hike is just zero.eight miles however feels longer because of a steep trek all the method down to the creek and a rocky, slippery trudge upstream to the waterfall.
From where you parked, stroll a hundred toes again alongside the highway where there’s a metallic sign on a tree stating that the land is Abbey Foundation of Oregon. This is the trail.
The path leads steeply downhill to Abiqua Creek in 0.2 miles. At the steepest factors in the trail, there are lengths of rope tied to tree trunks for handholds that people can use. Turn upstream along the creek, following a tough trail for another zero.2 mile. You will have to climb over and around rocks and logs (tough in excessive water). Eventually, you’ll reach the falls.
Directions: From Scotts Mills, drive south on Crooked Finger Road for 9.5 miles to the place the pavement ends, and proceed 1.four miles on gravel to a highway poorly marked as CF300 (the road goes downhill and has a picket signal for an ORV/ATV area).
Turn proper on CF300 and follow it downhill, ignoring all deviations from the path for 2.25 miles to the top of the road at a gate and park. This is the trailhead. The street down is tough and steep in locations and isn’t properly suited to low-clearance automobiles.
Coordinates:forty four.93127, -122. McDowell Creek Falls
Whether it’s the shortage of notoriety or remote location, the feeling you get arriving at McDowell Creek Falls Park is that of stumbling upon a hidden gem.
Located 10 miles north of Sweet Home, the unassuming park is residence to 4 spectacular waterfalls discovered on a straightforward, fun, trail home to distinctive bridges and viewing platforms. Dogs on leashes are welcome.
A 1.8-mile loop passes Royal Terrace Falls, Majestic Falls and Crystal Pool.
There’s a map at the trailhead and the trails are properly maintained.
Directions: About an hour and 10 minute drive from Salem. Follow Interstate 5 south to Exit 233 for Lebanon/Sweet Home. Follow Highway 20 east for 19 miles, through the town of Lebanon. Turn left onto McDowell Creek Road and follow indicators about 9 miles to the park. If you reach Sweet Home on Highway 20, you’ve gone too far.
Coordinates: forty four.464232, -122.682278.
Soda Creek Falls
A very quiet and fairly trail leads from the South Santiam River to a tiny crystal stream with a skinny, 150-foot waterfall. In summer season, Soda Creek Falls is little greater than a dribble, whereas in winter, it thunders down the canyon.
The hike begins at Cascadia State Park, east of Sweet Home, and is 1.4 miles complete with a 575-foot elevation acquire, making it a straightforward however sometimes a steep trek.
The path begins on the far facet of the parking space and follows the creek upstream (there are wood signs which are simple to follow).
The farther you hike, the extra slim the canyon becomes. The forest additionally becomes denser.
Once you reach the waterfall, there are a number of scramble trails worth exploring via a slit within the rock partitions — although this could be pretty dangerous and slippery.
Directions: From Salem, drive south on I-5 to exit 228 for Lebanon. Follow Highway 34 and 20 east, previous Sweet Home, to Cascadia State Park on the left.
Coordinates: forty four.398182, -122. Columbia Gorge waterfalls
There are too many waterfalls within the Columbia Gorge to call them all. But these are the closest to Salem and are presently open. Many trails are nonetheless closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire damage.
One of the few traditional waterfall hikes in the Gorge that was comparatively unscathed, this 2.3-mile loop takes in two beautiful waterfalls in a lush surroundings.
But to actually take pleasure in this hike on a weekend, officials beneficial arriving by eight or 9 a.m.
“If you arrive later than 10 a.m. on a weekend, there’s a great chance you’ll end up driving around in search of a place to park,” said Glenn Littrell, park ranger supervisor for state parks within the western Gorge. “It can get really congested.”
Bridal Veil Falls
Another classic Gorge waterfall, the complete hike to Bridal Veil and again totals about 1 mile. It’s simply up the highway from Latourell, and the identical guidelines apply: Arrive early on weekends. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with nowhere to park and no shoulder space during the hike.
Coast Range Waterfalls
Despite the well-known name, and regardless of its close location to Salem, few individuals have even heard of this spectacular hideaway, residence to a pair of 120-foot waterfalls.
An easy trail of two miles round-trip takes hikers into a remote box canyon the place Pheasant Creek and Niagara Falls roar like neighbors making an attempt to outdo each other.
Located northwest of Willamina, and about 10 miles east of Hebo Mountain, the drive from Salem requires navigating a series of county, BLM and Forest Service roads, but it can be reached in an hour-and-20-minute drive. I usually take my daughter and dog here. I’ve seen a complete of 5 other individuals in all my instances touring there.
One other fun thing about this hike is that there’s truly some controversy in the waterfall world about which cascade is known as Niagara and which known as Pheasant.
• From Salem, cross the Marion Street bridge and head west on Highway 22 for 15.8 miles
• Turn proper on Highway 18 and proceed 1.8 miles into Willamina
• Turn left on Willamina Creek Road and follow it, passing Hampton Lumber Mills, a complete of 6.2 miles
• Turn left onto Coast Creek Road and comply with it 1.three miles
• Veer proper onto Gilbert Creek Road and follow it four.1 miles, heading north
• Turn left at Bible Creek Road, at an indication for Niagara Falls, and observe it 1.3 miles
• At another sign for Niagara Falls, flip left and then veer proper onto gravel Forest Road 14 (the highway additionally has a notation .3). Follow Forest Road 14 a total of 3.5 miles.
• At a T-junction, with indicators for South Lake/Niagara Falls, flip right onto Forest Road 8533. Follow it 0.6 miles.
• At a sign for Niagara Falls, flip left onto Forest Road 131 and follow zero.7 miles to trailhead and parking area on the left.
Coordinates: forty five.214674, -123. More:Explore Oregon Podcast: Escape the crowds with Coast Range hikes
Chitwood Creek Falls (Harts Cove Trail)
One of essentially the most lovely hikes on the Oregon Coast ends with views of a dramatic cove with a small waterfall dropping into the ocean.
The trail is Harts Cove Trail, located on Cascade Head north of Lincoln City. The waterfall is Chitwood Creek Falls.
The hike, solely open July sixteen by way of Dec. 31, begins at a trailhead on the finish of Forest Road 1861.
The first part of the trail highlights Cascade Head’s large sitka spruce timber and dense, lush forest. The sound of barking sea lions begins to drift onto the trail near the 1.four mile-mark and after 2.7 miles, the forest opens right into a meadow about 200 toes above the ocean.
Follow the trail to the left towards a grove of spruce for the trail’s best view — Harts Cove. Surrounded by oceanfront partitions, this cove encircles a turquoise pool and skinny waterfall.
Directions:From Lincoln City (or Highway 18 from Salem), go north on Highway a hundred and one and proceed 3.7 miles. Keep an eye fixed out as you head uphill on Highway one hundred and one for Forest Road 1861 on the left. Turn onto Road 1861 and observe it all the way to the road’s finish for Harts Cove Trailhead.
Coordinates: 45.06491, -123. Munson Creek Falls
Of the hikes mentioned up to now, the trip to Munson Creek Falls is by far the best.
Located south of Tillamook, a short zero.3-mile hike winds through old-growth coastal forest to a waterfall that, at 319 ft, is the tallest within the Coast Range.
The creek tumbles over a fern-covered wall of stone, splashing into a tree-encircled pool.
The trail follows the creek from the base of the falls to an open grove, the place the swiftly rushing water laps the creek banks beside a picnic table. The finest time to visit is winter and spring after a pleasant heavy rain.
Directions: From Tillamook, follow Highway a hundred and one south for seven miles and turn left onto Munson Creek Road and comply with it a short trip to its end.
Coordinates: 45.365692, -123. Drift Creek Falls
Easy and flat sufficient to wheel a stroller, but with a dramatic 80-foot waterfall and swinging bridge at its end, Drift Creek Fall is among the many great family-friendly hikes in the Lincoln City area.
The hike is moderately troublesome at three miles round-trip, heading downhill on the method in which in (and uphill on the way out).
After crossing the bridge, a half-mile hike leads all the method down to the creek-level view of the falls. The view as quickly as at the bottom has might require some slippery rock hopping to take pleasure in.
Note: The suspension bridge does transfer somewhat and might make some youngsters (and adults) nervous.
Open: Year-round, however greatest in spring after a good hard rain. $5 trailhead charge or Northwest Forest Pass
Directions (from Salem): From Salem, journey west on Highway 22 and merge onto Highway 18 towards Lincoln City. After passing Grande Ronde / Spirit Mountain Casino, continue another 18 miles. Near Rose Lodge, turn left on Bear Creek County Road for three.5 miles. Continue straight seven miles on Forest Service Road 17 to trailhead.
Directions (From Lincoln City area): From Highway 101 on the south end of Lincoln City, turn east on Drift Creek Road, turn right on South Drift Creek Road a few quarter of a mile. Turn left onto Forest Service Road 17. Stay on Forest Service Road 17 to trailhead, roughly, 10 miles.
Trailhead coordinates: 44. , -123. Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter, photographer and videographer in Oregon for 12 years. To support his work, subscribe to the Statesman Journal.
Urness is the writer of “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He may be reached at or (503) . Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.