Spring Waterfall Hikes
Snowmelt and spring rain combined create tremendous spring waterfalls in Oregon. Lace up those hiking boots and hit the trail to view these dramatic cascades this season.
Follow the signs from Highway 6 along Saddle Mountain Road for a few miles to University Falls in the lush Tillamook State Forest. This enchanting 55-foot waterfall makes a perfect detour on any springtime Coast road trip; you can enjoy it via a short trail walk or the full 8-mile loop. Admire the pink and white trilliums in full bloom and look for a peekaboo bit of blue sky through the towering red alder.
Clearwater Falls is an out-of-the-way beauty smack dab in the middle of the Umpqua National Forest, just north of Diamond Lake and Crater Lake National Park. The lovely spring-fed 30-foot cascade spills into a pool of mossy logs, surrounded by old-growth Douglas fir. The walk is family friendly, just a short walk from the parking lot, with picnic facilities and a nearby campground that opens for the season in late May.
White River Falls in Tygh Valley, north of Maupin is a force of nature in the spring. A rugged trail takes visitors deep into the canyon, where the 90-foot falls plunges into the base of a hydroelectric power plant that supplied the area with electricity from 1910 to 1960. Bring a picnic, toss out a fishing line or set up camp this season when the desert flowers are in full bloom.
Umbrella Falls, in the Mt. Hood Natural Forest, is an awe-inspiring trek with striking technicolor views on the way to the 59-foot falls. The moderate hike will take 2-3 hours, depending on how long you meander along the fluffy white beargrass, deep purple lupine and bright red Indian paintbrush. The scene is picture-perfect on a clear spring day when Mt. Hood appears on the skyline. Bring a picnic and make a day of the 4.2-mile loop, stopping at sister Sahale Falls along the way.
About an hour southeast of Corvallis, Alsea Falls is a portal to centuries past. The 4.2-mile loop trail, through majestic old-growth Douglas firs, is often lush not just with bright green moss and lichen but also a bounty of rhododendrons and uncommon perennials like pinesap and Scouler’s harebell. The 30-foot falls spills in from the South Fork Alsea River. Kids and dogs will enjoy the trip, or go solo and enjoy dewey spring air and tranquility.
about author Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.
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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.