Hello Bend! Now that the weather is getting nicer, and COVID restrictions are easing up, it’s time to get outside and explore the beauty our state has to offer. One of our favorite aspects of Oregon is the multiple stunning waterfall hikes that are within driving distance. Sitting just north of Crater Lake, is Toketee Falls–an absolutely stunning waterfall. It’s worth the drive and just the perfect change of scenery that is much needed during these times!
Road Trip to the Falls
We stumbled upon this beauty during a recent family road trip to the Safari in Wilson, just outside of Roseburg. As we adventured out, the extended round trip drive seemed daunting for a full family of four crammed together in the car for hours. Instead, we discovered a glorious stretch of southern Oregon we’d never explored before. The highway is flanked by a steady stream of gorgeous waterfalls nestled in the heart of the Umpqua Forest. As we drove along the North Umpqua River, even the kids enjoyed the scenery! It was a unanimous decision that a waterfall hike would be the perfect way to break up our long road trips and we recommend it for kids AND adults!
We had planned to drive straight to the Safari, but instead we pulled off for a quick picnic lunch. That detour is where we discovered Toketee Falls– the perfect waterfall hiking adventure for the trek home.
The drive along 138 on the way to Roseburg offers endless trailheads and SIX waterfall hikes to explore: Clearwater Falls, Whitehorse Falls, Watson Falls, Toketee Falls, Fall Creek Falls and Susan Creek Falls (listed in order driving from Bend to Roseburg).
We decided to pick just one waterfall hike to explore on the drive home and the winner was Toketee Falls! The Falls have been given the honor of “one of the most famous waterfalls in all of Oregon” by alltrails.com and “It is renowned far and wide for the graceful columnar basalt formation framing the two-stepped falls”.
When pulling into the parking lot for Toketee Falls, it’s hard to miss the 12-ft diameter redwood-stave pipeline. This is part of the Toketee development of the North Umpqua Hydroelectric Project completed in December of 1949. This wooden pipeline is truly a sight to behold with leaks sprung and water shooting out in all directions.
The Trail to the Falls
The park is well managed, and the trails are lined with many educational signs outlining the history of the falls. The hike is less than ½ mile in length (one way) and takes you through old-growth forests of Douglas-fir, western red cedar, big leaf maple, and Pacific yew, ending at a viewing platform overlooking the two-tiered waterfall. The North Umpqua River is visible at several points, cascading through a narrow rock gorge.
It should be noted that, because of the steep elevation gain/loss, the hike itself is rated ‘‘more difficult’ and there are 97 steps up and 125 steps down, with easily accessible areas to rest along the way.
The columns of basaltic lava framing Toketee Falls were formed from a High Cascades flow that funneled down the canyon. After passing through a narrow gorge etched out by ages of swirling sediment, the North Umpqua River plunges 40 feet over a ledge into a secluded cavity; then plummets another 80 feet through a gaping notch into a large pool.
The longer we live here, the more we fall in love with exploring the many waterfall hikes in Oregon. The forests that encompass our state make this truly an adventurer’s paradise and it is unlike any other state in the nation! I’ll never forget this adventure and as we drove down the road, we reflected on how lucky we are to live in this beautiful state. It’s obvious that we hit the adventure jackpot, and we certainly can’t wait to come back and explore more of this gorgeous stretch of Oregon 138 through the Umpqua Forest. If you’re like me and planning your next adventure, check out the Oregon State Park Status page to confirm that your location is open. SUBSCRIBE to the blog for more reviews of waterfall hikes in this gorgeous little slice of heaven!