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?

University Falls, Oregon

University Falls in May 2010

University Falls is a really stunning waterfall hidden away in the backwoods of western Oregon. When it’s at high flow, it’s definitely a photogenic waterfall worth visiting. And you’ll probably remember the journey just as much as the waterfall.

This waterfall is not particularly hard to drive to, though it is slightly out of the way. The roads leading to the trail are clearly used by loggers at certain times of the year, though I didn’t run into anyone. That just lends to the remote feeling of the falls, even though they’re not that far from a main route.

Once you get to the trail, you’ll meander around for a while, slowly heading downhill until you reach the base of the falls. The falls do just seem to appear out of nowhere. You’ll be reminded of the powerful forces of nature, as there are numerous logs strewn in front of and near the falls. It’s a really great view.

Directions:

  1. The falls are found of off OR-6, which has mile markers. Pay close attention to those mile markers. Heading east from Tillamook, the turnoff is about 0.1 miles past mile marker 33.
  2. There will be a sign called Rogers Camp Road, which will also indicate University Falls. Pay attention for signs to the falls.
  3. Keep heading down Rogers Camp Road, which will veer right and turn into University Falls Road. The roads can be pretty complicated, but I remember thinking it seemed like the only sane road to be driving down. All of the others seemed less hospitable.
  4. After driving for about 3.3 miles from the turn on Route 6, you should come to the sign for the trail to University Falls. If I remember correctly, the sign is fancier than I expected for a falls so hidden away.
  5. Hike to the falls and enjoy!

Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: 1 mile round-trip

Where in the World is University Falls?

Fern Rock Creek Falls, Oregon

Fern Rock Creek Falls in May 2010

I was trying to remember how difficult it is to find Fern Rock Creek Falls, and realized it is definitely one of the easier waterfalls to find. It is right off of Oregon route 6. Bridge Creek Falls is also nearby, but my gosh, is it difficult to find, though once you find the trail, it’s a super-easy hike.

Fern Rock Creek Falls, on the other hand, is only a few feet away from a large pulloff where there is much more space for cars to park. When I arrived, the parking area was wet and muddy, which I’m expecting is pretty normal in spring. Even so, you can see the falls from your car. It’s definitely worth it to get out and enjoy the view. The waterfall is very photogenic, as are many of the mossy falls in Oregon.

Directions:

  1. I was heading east along OR-6 from Tillamook. Set your odometer, and drive for a little over 29 miles. You should see mile marker signs, though for some reason, not every mile…
  2. Just past the 29 mile marker, you’ll see a “parking” area, which is one of the few places you can pull off easily. It will be on your right if you’re heading east.
  3. Look out your window, and you should see the falls. If you don’t see falls, you’re not at the right place!

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

Where in the World is Fern Rock Creek Falls?

Munson Creek Falls, Oregon

Munson Creek Falls in May 2010

Munson Creek Falls is often advertised as being one of the largest waterfalls in the easternmost portion of Oregon near the coast. I don’t know whether that is supposed to make it more interesting simply because it is tall, but I didn’t find it very exciting.

The waterfall itself is very pretty, but there is not really any way to get close to the falls. You can only view the falls from a rather distant vantage point. Numerous fallen trees and brush very effectively deter most people from even trying to get closer. I’m guessing that if you were determined enough, you could get closer, but I didn’t even try. There are other smaller waterfalls in the general vicinity that are more intimate. (I haven’t had a chance to check out this falls again, but it is now a state park, and there may be a much clearer path to get closer to the falls.)

Directions:

  1. On US-101 between Tillamook and Beaver is Munson Creek Falls County Park. I was heading north, and the turn to the falls was on my right.
  2. After turning, follow the sign 1.6 miles to the parking area. The hike to the falls is rather short.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 266′
Length of Hike: 0.75 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Munson Creek Falls?

Bridge Creek Falls, Oregon

Bridge Creek Falls in May 2010

As you may notice in the directions given below, the negative about Bridge Creek Falls is finding the exact point to pull off the very curvy OR-6 to get to these falls. Once you’ve done that, the hike to the falls is very enjoyable. I was very impressed by this smaller falls in the northern coast range of Oregon. I think I was partly impressed by the ability to get closer to the falls. I had been to the much larger Munson Creek Falls earlier that day, and was disappointed that I wasn’t able to get close to the falls, as they were blocked off by a number trees. Bridge Creek Falls has no issues of that sort, so you can play around to get a number of different views of the falls.

Directions:

  1. These directions to Bridge Creek Falls are based on starting at the junction of US-101 and OR-6 in Tillamook on the coast.
  2. From that junction, head east on OR-6 for almost 20 miles.
  3. This is where it can get a little bit tricky. Look for mile marker 21 on OR-6. Go almost 1 mile past this mile marker. On your right, you will notice a “pulloff” and a sign indicating a falls. The sign is NOT very big, and can be easy to miss the first time around. If you get to mile marker 20, you’ve gone just a little bit too far. You’ll have to turn around and figure out how to get back to the pulloff.
  4. You may have to backtrack on foot for a few feet to get to the stairs leading to the falls. Once you find those stone stairs, it is just a very short distance to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 50′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Bridge Creek Falls?