Larson Creek Falls, Oregon

Larson Creek Falls

Larson Creek Falls in August 2018

Larson Creek Falls was an unexpected find. Exactly a year ago, my partner, my nephew, and I were in Oregon. We stayed at an Airbnb in Pacific City, and I was wondering whether there were any waterfalls along the way back to Portland that I hadn’t visited before. Google Maps has become a pretty useful tool for finding some different waterfalls as people can add points of interest. Larson Creek Falls popped up, and we had some time to kill, so we drove along the coast and found the falls.

I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find the falls since we went searching on a whim, but it’s actually pretty easy. There are some stairs that lead down to the beach, and then you veer a bit to the right (north), and you’re at the falls. While the falls aren’t particularly wide, they are pretty tall. If you visit the falls, though, you also get the added benefit of being right on the Pacific Ocean. Larson Creek Falls doesn’t fall directly into the Pacific. There’s a hundred feet or so between the falls and the shore. The whole package is really spectacular.

Directions:

  1. In the map below, I’ve tagged Short Beach as the location. That’s because you want to find the trail/stairs that lead down to Short Beach. If you try to direct yourself to Larson Creek Falls, you’ll end up at a spot you can’t access. So from Tillamook, you could head west, and then southwest on OR-131. That would lead you to Netarts, and then Oceanside.
  2. You want to pass through Oceanside, and head north (turn right) on Cape Meares Loop. (OR-131 essentially turns into Cape Meares Loop, which then may turn into Bayshore Drive right around the parking area for the falls.)
  3. After 1.2 miles, you’ll come to an area where you can park on either side of the road. You’ll hopefully see a sign for Short Beach, though I don’t remember. There should be a trail on the west side of the road that then leads down to Short Beach.
  4. Turn right, and walk about 0.3 miles to Larson Creek Falls, which may be a bit back from the shoreline.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 90′
Length of Hike: 0.7 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Larson Creek Falls?

Toketee Falls, Oregon

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Toketee Falls in August 2013

Oregon has so many beautiful waterfalls, and Toketee Falls is another one to add to the list. I flew into Eugene five years ago, with the goal of visiting Crater Lake National Park. There are a number of falls in the park, but there are also many falls along the way to the park. Toketee Falls was one of those stops along the way back to Eugene.

I thought the hike to Toketee Falls was a bit longer than it actually is…goes to show what happens in five years. At 0.75 miles round-trip, it’s a pretty quick jaunt to the falls and back. I don’t remember it being a difficult hike, though I do recall that there were some stairs that led down to a viewing area. The viewing area has a somewhat steep drop near it which made me a bit dizzy (as someone who’s not a fan of heights). I have read that some people have made it to the base of the falls, but it’s something I would in no way attempt. I’m not that brave! You are a bit of a distance from the falls, so it might be wise to bring a zoom lens. It will also allow you to get some better shots of the fascinating basalt columns surrounding the falls.

Directions:

  1. Toketee Falls is off of OR-138, which runs east-west between I-5 and US-97. It’s somewhat closer to US-97 than I-5.
  2. The turn for the falls will be near mile marker 58 (58 miles from Roseburg on I-5). There will be a sign for Toketee Falls.
  3. If you’re headed east, you would turn left onto NF-34/Toketee-Rigdon Road.
  4. After a short distance, you’ll turn left to head to a parking area for the falls. The trail starts here (and heads west).

Accessibility: 9/10 (Easy)
Height: 113′
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Toketee Falls?

Rodney Falls (and Hardy Falls), Washington

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The upper portion of Rodney Falls in September 2017

When I visited Portland, Oregon, this past September, wildfires showed up in the Columbia River Gorge. They were intense enough that many of the waterfalls in that area were off limits. Some of them are just now coming back to life in late December. So I decided to head to the less-visited Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.

There are a number of waterfalls on the Washington side, though they’re not as well advertised or always as accessible. Woodburn Falls and Pothole Falls are both further west in the city of Camas. Rodney Falls and Hardy Falls are about 20 miles east in Beacon Rock State Park.

The hike to both falls is on the medium/moderate side. It’s about a 2.5 mile round-trip, but it is consistently uphill on the way to the falls. As I hiked along, there were remnants of ash from the other side of the gorge! It makes you realize how forest fires could travel even across a rather large river. The hike is not difficult to follow until you get very near the end. And then it’s just a bit confusing about where you should really focus your effort and attention.

I would usually separate posts about these two falls, but Hardy Falls isn’t worth a separate post. There is a spur that leads to an “overlook” of Hardy Falls, but it was almost impossible to see the falls due to plant growth. It might be a better view in the winter months when leaves aren’t on the trees. I’ve read that there is a way to get to the base of Hardy Falls, but it seems rather precarious to me. It’s a 90′ waterfall, and it wasn’t clear how you’d get to the base. I thought following some of the trails would lead me closer, but they didn’t.

If I were to go in the summer, I would instead focus most of my time and energy on Rodney Falls, which is a bit further upstream along the same stream. At 80′ overall, it’s not as tall as Hardy Falls, but it is much easier to view. The biggest drop is approximately 40′ if I understand correctly, and while you can’t get directly next to the falls, you can get very close. It’s actually a very cool view.

Directions:

  1. From Vancouver, WA, drive east along WA-14 to Beacon Rock State Park.
  2. Pass the ranger station to your left, and then take a left onto a road signed for camping/hiking. This road will climb uphill.
  3. You’ll want to go to the parking area for the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead. There is a fee to visit the park, and you can pay it at a self-service station.
  4. From there, start your hike along the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead. It’s about 1.25 miles to the waterfalls. The trail does continue on to Hamilton Mountain.

Accessibility: 6/10 (moderate)
Height: Hardy Falls: 90′, Reagan Falls: 80′
Length of Hike: 2.5 miles roundtrip

Where in the World is Hardy Falls and Reagan Falls?

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Can you see Hardy Falls? It’s actually pretty tall!

Falls City Falls, Oregon

I’m a bit behind on posting about waterfalls. Now that work is slowing down again for a break, I have some time to post more information about a few new ones.

In early September, I visited Portland again, which happens to be one of my favorite areas to visit. There are so many waterfalls in the vicinity. I didn’t get a chance to see many new ones…wildfires showed up in the Columbia River Gorge just as I arrived. It made visiting some of the falls rather difficult as time progressed. It also happened to be very warm (upper 90’s F) so I knew some of the other waterfalls might not be flowing very well. It just so happened, though, that I ended up near Falls City, which does have a waterfall associated with it!

Falls City Falls is a quick visit unless you’re planning on doing a bit more. A number of kids were jumping into the pool below the falls, though I’m not sure that’s allowed. Oh well…not my issue to worry about. The falls are pretty easy to find, especially if you end up on the left side of the falls. GPS directed me to the “right” side, which is harder to access, though there is still access available.

I’m not sure that I’d go out of my way to find these falls again…maybe on a cooler day when there weren’t as many people there. It made photographing the falls a bit difficult. It was still nice to add one new waterfall to my list during this visit.

Directions:

  1. In this case, to get to the general vicinity, I would suggest programming Falls City into your GPS or Google Maps (zip code 97344).
  2. If you enter into the city heading west on Main Street (aka Falls City Road), you want to veer left onto Bridge Street and cross over the river. (You can veer right onto Mitchell Street, though access to the falls isn’t as obvious.)
  3. After crossing the bridge, you’ll quickly turn right onto Parry Road. You’ll pass a post office on your left. The parking area for the falls will be on your right not long after.
  4. It’s a very short jaunt to the falls. Be careful, as there is a possible big drop.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 25′
Length of Hike: Roadside

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Falls City Falls in September 2017

Where in the World is Falls City Falls?

Lower Sahalie Falls, Oregon

There are some waterfalls that are overshadowed by larger counterparts. If you took what I’ve designated as Lower Sahalie Falls are transported it anywhere else, it would be a destination on its own. In this case, Sahalie Falls (and Koosah Falls nearby) could lead you to overlook Lower Sahalie Falls.

Lower Sahalie Falls is larger than it appears. There’s an optical illusion of sorts that makes it seem a smaller. What you can see in the picture below is about 20′, but there’s more above. It was very difficult to get the upper portion of the falls, and that was due to the angle of the rock along the river. The logs in front of the falls also hide a bit of the drop.

Depending on where this waterfall was and how easy it was to get to, I would have gone out of my way to see this waterfall. Luckily, I didn’t have to. It’s in between Sahalie and Koosah Falls, and the hike is very easy and enjoyable. Look for Lower Sahalie Falls as you’re exploring this beautiful part of Oregon.

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to get to the falls, though they will all require some drive. If you’re in Albany/Corvallis, you could head east on US-20. From Bend, head west on US-20. If you’re in Eugene, head east on OR-126.
  2. The falls are found on OR-126…If you’re on US-20, you would turn and head south on OR-126. If you’re already on OR-126, it would obviously be a “straight-shot”, though it’ll be a curvy drive. There are two parking areas, one for Sahalie Falls and one for Koosah Falls, though there is a trail that connects both falls.
  3. The Sahalie Falls parking area is the further north of the 2 parking areas, and once you park there, it’s a short 100 feet to Sahalie Falls. Then veer left and follow the trail along the McKenzie River.
  4. Lower Sahalie Falls is found downstream from Sahalie Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Hike: 0.1 mile round-trip

lower sahalie

Where in the World is Lower Sahalie Falls?

Sahalie Falls, Oregon

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Sahalie Falls in September 2015

There are two Sahalie Falls, and they aren’t that distant from each other (maybe 60 miles or so as the bird flies, 110 miles driving distance). The Sahalie Falls near Umbrella Falls isn’t as easy to get to as it used to be. On the other hand, this Sahalie Falls (along with Kooshah Falls), is very easy to visit.

The biggest difficulty might be getting to the vicinity of the falls. It’s about a 150 mile drive from Portland and a 55 mile drive from Redmond/Bend. I started in Portland, and in one day I was able to hit Gooch Falls, Shellburg Falls, Sahalie and Koosah Falls. It was a long drive, but most of these falls don’t require a difficult hike.

Once you get to the parking area for the falls, the hike to the falls is extremely short: only about 100 feet or so. And after arriving, you’ll probably be rewarded with an amazing waterfall. I visited in September, which for some waterfalls is a low volume time since there may not be much rain during the summer months. And yet, as you can see, Sahalie Falls was pretty intense. Overall, this is an awesome waterfall, and you’ll be able to see Koosah Falls also (along with some other “smaller” waterfalls, which are still impressive).

Directions:

  1. There are multiple ways to get to the falls, though they will all require some drive. If you’re in Albany/Corvallis, you could head east on US-20. From Bend, head west on US-20. If you’re in Eugene, head east on OR-126.
  2. The falls are found on OR-126…If you’re on US-20, you would turn and head south on OR-126. If you’re already on OR-126, it would obviously be a “straight-shot”, though it’ll be a curvy drive. There are two parking areas, one for Sahalie Falls and one for Koosah Falls, though there is a trail that connects both falls.
  3. The Sahalie Falls parking area is the further north of the 2 parking areas, and once you park there, it’s a short 100 feet to the falls. (Check out Lower Sahalie Falls downstream.)

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 73′
Hike: 200 ft round-trip

Where in the World is Sahalie Falls?

Weisendanger Falls, Oregon

Weisendanger Falls in September 2015

I first visited Multnomah Falls seven years ago or so. I visited the falls later in the day after visiting a number of other waterfalls in the area, and doing a number of hikes, some of them longer than I expected. I knew there were other waterfalls upstream from Multnomah Falls, and really wanted to see them. (I often try to hit many falls in a day.)

At that time, I don’t think I really understood what it meant to climb approximately 600′ or so in a matter of 1 mile. It is truly an uphill battle. I’m not really sure there’s any point where it flattens out (for more than 2 or 3 feet). The first try, I got maybe 2/3 of the way up and gave up. I didn’t have enough energy to go the rest of the way. I was disappointed, but too tired to really significantly care.

I did visit Multnomah Falls a few years later, but didn’t even think of going up. So when I arrived in Portland about two weeks ago, I had some time during the evening. I didn’t want to drive extremely far to see a waterfall, so I figured I might try the hike to Weisendanger Falls again. I hadn’t done much during the day except sit on a plane.

This time, I was successful. It was still difficult, I was panting much of the way up, and my legs did feel sore after. I think one of the things that helped this time were the markers indicating which switchback I was on. I don’t remember these being there last time… There are 11 switchbacks. It may help to know that you’ve reached the top at switchback 9. The other two are downhill toward Weisendanger Falls (or the other viewpoint for Multnomah Falls). The final portion of the hike to Weisendanger Falls is actually very enjoyable. It was rather warm for this early September day (in the mid-to-upper 80’s), and the downhill portion was much cooler as it was isolated, keeping some of the heat out. It was definitely worth the hike to see the falls!

Directions:

  1. Take the exit off of I-84 toward the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Trail, and follow the road. It’s pretty hard to miss Multnomah Falls. The parking for the falls is actually right in the middle of the road.
  2. From the parking area, start heading toward the bridge that crosses Multnomah Creek. This is a uphill climb to begin.
  3. After crossing the bridge, you’ll have a 1 mile uphill hike. This is the part that’s tough. Once you reach switchback 9, you’ll head downhill.
  4. After reaching that switchback and heading downhill, you’ll reach a split. If you head right (indicated by a sign), you’ll reach the Multnomah Falls upper viewpoint. If you head left along trail 441, that will lead toward Weisendanger Falls. Even if you miss this first left, there’s a left later on.
  5. It’s about 0.4 miles further from the switchback to Weisendanger Falls. If you continue uphill beyond that, you’ll reach Ecola Falls.

Accessibility: 2/10 (strenuous)
Length of Hike: 2.8 miles round-trip
Height: 50′

Where in the World is Weisendanger Falls?