OREGON’S CASCADE MOUNTAINS GET A LOT OF PRECIPITATION and with that comes a bunch of awesome waterfalls. Salt Creek Falls is one of Oregon‘s most powerful falls; at 286 feet it’s the third highest single drop fall, coming in just behind Watson Falls (293 feet) and Multnomah Falls (620 feet).
The pool at the bottom of the waterfalls is deep, around 66 feet, and that has a lot to do with the sheer volume of water that plummets over these falls every year. Approximately 55,000 gallons per minute flow over the edge and into the pool below. The falls are usually at their fastest and fattest when the mountain snow melts in the late spring and early summer.
For hikers, there are two paths to take. Both are rated moderate. There’s a 3.4-mile loop that will lead you to some awesome views of the fall and the surrounding canyon. The longer trail, a 6-mile semi-loop, will take you past both Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls — twice the distance for twice the falls. The primary viewing platform at the top of the falls is a short stretch from the parking lot (only 50 yds). The platform is wheelchair accessible, but the steep path with lots of stairs to the bottom of the falls is not.
The waterfalls are located in Willamette National Forest in the central part of the Cascade Range. Created in 1893, it’s one of the largest national forests. Get a little way from the hustle of Salt Creek Falls and you’ll really feel the wilderness of the area.
How to get there
The closest town is Oakridge. Salt Creek Falls is 64 miles east of Eugene, 23 miles southeast of Oakridge and 5 miles west of Willamette Past. The turn-offs and parking lot are well signed from Hwy 58.
What to consider
- The trails are open year round, but snowshoes are recommended for the winter.
- If you’re going in the summer, bring bug spray!
- The walk to the base of the falls only takes about 10 minutes, but it’s steep so use caution.
- It’s a great outing for families.
- If you’re going in late spring, be sure they’re open as the snow can linger into the summer months.