Plaikni Falls, Oregon

The trail to Plaikni Falls in Crater Lake National Park opened just the year previous to my visit, so I feel somewhat lucky that I showed up at the right time when visiting the park. If I remember correctly, this waterfall was not listed in the books I had, and only found out about it by looking at the map they gave at the park entrance.

The hike to the falls along the newer trail was very enjoyable, and isn’t particularly difficult. It’s just over 1 mile from the parking area to the falls. I have read that it is wheelchair accessible, and it seems from reports of others that this is true.  I do believe the last portion of the falls does require a slight uphill climb, if I remember correctly. Even so, the elevation change isn’t particularly significant.

Once you get to Plaikni Falls, you’re rewarded with a very mellow waterfall. The hike to the falls was so enjoyable, and then you arrive at this waterfall that is big enough to excite the senses but not so large as to drown out the thoughts…it just seemed peaceful. I enjoyed being able to rest, surrounded by lush green plants (which I associate with parts of Oregon).

Directions:

  1. The trail head is found near the southern portion of the Rim Drive, which goes around Crater Lake. Realize that the Rim Drive is only completely open from sometime in mid-June until the snow starts falling again copious quantities. So don’t plan on visiting Plaikni Falls in April. You won’t be very lucky.
  2. From the Rim Drive, you’re going to turn onto Pinnacles Road. If you are headed east, it would be a sharp turn to your right onto Pinnacles Road. (Also, if heading east, it would be right before the Phantom Ship Overlook, which you can use as a turn-around in case you miss the road.)
  3. If you go all the way to the end of Pinnacles Road, you’ll be rewarded with another amazing sight…Pinnacles formed by interesting volcanic activity and subsequent erosion. To get to the trail head, though, go about 1 mile down Pinnacles Road. The parking area for the trail head will be on your left.
  4. Park at the trail head, and start the hike to Plaikni Falls. You may want to bring bug spray…

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Distance of Hike: 2.2 miles roundtrip
Height: 20′ (main), 40′ (total)

Plaikni Falls in mid-August 2013

Where in the World is Plaikni Falls?

Whitehorse Falls, Oregon

After visiting Crater Lake National Park last year, I took Oregon route 138 when heading back toward Eugene. There are a number of very impressive waterfalls along the road, including Toketee and Watson Falls. There are also a number of smaller waterfalls which are very easy to visit.

Whitehorse Falls is just off of route 138 along a very short, paved National Forest Service road. The most difficult task is finding the correct road number, though if I remember correctly, there might be a sign for Whitehorse Falls. After parking in the parking area, you’ve got a walk of a few feet to see the falls. Because it’s only about 15′ tall or so, it’s not nearly as popular as Toketee or Watson Falls. You’ll probably pass by Whitehorse Falls (and Clearwater Falls, which is also on the Clearwater River), so you might as well stop for the few minutes that’s required to see the falls.

Directions:

  1. There aren’t many options to get to Clearwater Falls. You’ve got to be on OR-138. If you’re coming from Crater Lake NP, at the junction of OR-230 and OR-138, you would continue north along OR-138.
  2. After some time, the road will then veer so that you’re driving west (again, if coming from Crater Lake).
  3. Clearwater Falls is the first easy-to-visit waterfall. If you continue on OR-138, you’ll NFS Road 4770, which if heading west, would be on the left.
  4. Turn onto 4770, drive a very short distance to the parking lot, get out of your car, and essentially view the falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 15′
Length of Hike: Roadside

Whitehorse Falls in August 2013

Where in the World is Whitehorse Falls?