Take the Plunge
Hike to Waterfalls Along the Southern Oregon Highway of Waterfalls
How can you take a road trip through Southern Oregon and not hit the Highway of Waterfalls? This stretch of Highway 138 east of Roseburg along the Umqua River is a watery marvel that’s terrific year-round. Winter sees fewer people, making it an ideal time to visit. While some waterfall hikes in the area are temporarily closed, you’re still going to find plenty of adventures to mesmerizing falls.
That includes Southwest Oregon’s highest waterfall, Watson Falls. Go early in the morning for a good chance of having this 293-foot oasis all to yourself, at least for a little bit. It’s a forested and relatively easy 1-mile loop hike that’s lush with ferns under a canopy of Douglas fir and western hemlocks. You’ll cross a wooden bridge with an outstanding vantage of Watson Falls, but you can also continue up a spur trail to a viewpoint closer to the misty action. More waterfalls?! Of course! This is the Highway of Waterfalls, after all.
Toketee Falls is a thunderous tumbler. The name Toketee is a Chinook word for “pretty,” and that’s almost too modest. Toketee is a two-tiered stunner. The first 40-foot cascade plunges into a hidden pool and then the falls suddenly drop another 80 feet as the North Umpqua River squeezes through a notch in the balsatic rock. Hike 0.4 mile (one-way) beneath old-growth Douglas fir, big-leaf maples, and western red cedars to reach the viewing platform. Other waterfalls to check out include Clearwater and Lemolo.
Stay: Umpqua’s Last Resort kinda sounds like what it is … a last resort lodging option before you embark on the Highway of Waterfalls. But this is not a bad thing because Last Resort is an eclectic combination of cozy cabins, glamping tents, and RVs, including two amazing retro RVs that are well worth trying to snag. This Last Resort should be first on your priority planning.
lThe Highway of Waterfalls is also known as the Rogue Umpqua Scenic Byway, or Highway 138, east of Roseburg.
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