Oregon Nature, Waterfalls September 05, 2019
For A Beautiful Fall Road Trip, Take The Oregon Highway Of Waterfalls
Autumn is the time to take a scenic drive, and one that includes more than a dozen waterfalls sounds pretty good to us. Allow yourself at least 5-7 hours for this drive, and you might even consider breaking it up over two days by camping along the way or staying at one of the inns in the area.
The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway makes a 172-mile-long loop from Roseburg to Gold Hill. Its nickname is The Highway of Waterfalls and you'll find more than a dozen along the drive.
Starting in Roseburg, you'll turn onto Highway 138 to begin your journey. You'll pass the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery and the Swiftwater Recreation Area, then you'll soon reach Susan Creek Falls.
A .8-mile trail takes you to the pretty waterfall, which tumbles 50 feet off a cliff into a little pool. The trail is accessible, but can be a little bit tricky to navigate for wheelchairs.
Fall Creek Falls is your next stop and you'll hike for about a mile to see it up close.
The trail is easy enough for most kids to tackle and just has a few somewhat steep sections along the way. Fall Creek Falls is a double waterfall.
The North Umpqua River parallels the first half of your journey on this byway, and the 33 miles above Deadline Falls are set aside specifically for fly fishing.
The waterfall itself is more like a little cascade in the river, but if you're lucky and patient, you might be able to capture a shot of a salmon or steelhead jumping it.
You'll come to the High Cascades portion of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway next and that's where you'll find Toketee Falls.
This is one of the
most photographed falls in the Beaver State
, and for good reason. Cut right into a basalt cliff, the double-tiered falls plunge 120 feet. It's just a short .4-mile walk to the viewing platform, but you'll need to climb 200 steps. It's worth it!
Watson Falls is right down the road from Toketee and it's every bit as impressive.
Watson Falls is one of the tallest in Oregon, cascading 272 feet from the cliffs high above the river. The trail is not even a half mile long, but it's fairly steep, with more than 500 feet of elevation gain.
Whitehorse Falls is a pretty little 15-foot waterfall, and you can see how it got its name.
The water tumbles in several separate streams, and if you use your imagination just a bit, you can picture a white horse's tail. There's an observation deck to see it right from the parking lot.
Clearwater Falls might not have a big, impressive drop, but it's absolutely gorgeous in its own way.
This picturesque place can be accessed with just a short, easy half-mile walk.
Catch a stunning view of Mt Thiesen, an ancient volcano that towers over the landscape, then turn off onto Highway 230 to continue the loop.
National Falls is one of Oregon's most unique because of the way it splits as it tumbles over the rock formation.
It's just a short, easy .4-mile hike to see it.
You'll certainly want to visit the Rogue Gorge Overlook before continuing on to the hook back up with I-5 at Gold Hill.
The Rogue River cuts through these volcanic-rock cliffs and there's a view point where you can get a good look.
Next, you'll hit the jackpot when you visit Prospect State Scenic Viewpoint.
Check out Barr Creek Falls, Mill Creek Falls, and Pearsony Falls here.
From here, you'll pass Lost Creek Reservoir, drive through the quaint town of Shady Cove, and check out Table Rocks before arriving in Gold Hill, where you can hook back up with Interstate 5.
Are you ready to take this beautiful drive? You might consider
staying the night at Steamboat Inn, which is located right in the middle of the 33-mile stretch of the North Umpqua River that’s set aside for fly-fishing.