Munson Creek Falls

Tillamook / Tillamook County, Oregon, USA

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1.5
Munson Creek Falls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Munson Creek Falls was probably most significant waterfall in the vicinity of the Oregon Coast that we've encountered. Tumbling over three visible tiers, it was said to have a cumulative height of 319ft also making it possibly the tallest in the Coast Range. While the Oregon Coast contained many natural features like sand dunes, sea stacks, lighthouses, beaches, and even sea arches, waterfalls were something we never really counted on seeing in these parts. In fact, we even missed this waterfall when we first drove along the Oregon Coast back in late March 2009 when we had to retreat to the coast to avoid the snow in the mountains after some nasty storms that hit us during that trip. When we learned after the fact that there was this waterfall near Tillamook, and it required a very short hike to reach, we made a concerted effort to come back when the opportunity arose (which turned out to be 8 years later!).

In any case, from the unpaved trailhead parking area (see directions) below, we followed a flat trail flanked by tall trees providing quite a good deal of shade on a warm and sunny afternoon. Even in the dry Summer that we experienced on our visit, the trees still clung onto brownish moss growing out of their trunks and branches, and ferns still covered the forest floor (attesting to how much moisture this area would typically get). The path meandered alongside Munson Creek as it gently gurgled its way downstream towards the Pacific, then the trail started to climb up a short hill providing perhaps the best view of Munson Creek Falls (shown at the top of this page). The trail then continued as it descended steps before going up the next set of steps. But then the trail was cut short by a closure sign admonishing us not to go further.

From the closure fence and sign, the views were a little less satisfying than before even though the falls was closer. Beyond the closure sign, the trail eventually disappeared into Munson Creek or completely disappeared under the debris of broken trees, lots of dirt, and rocks. The instability of the neighboring cliffs was what warranted the closure, and further progress to get closer to the base of the falls would be foolish. Apparently, this landslide occurred in the mid 1990s, and the remainder of the trail was never rebuilt since. So after having my fill of the Munson Creek Falls, we returned the way we came. Judging from how many other people came and left, Munson Creek Falls was still a popular place, but their time spent on the trail seemed to be even shorter than the half-hour or so we spent away from the car.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

These sea arches beneath the off-shore sea stacks off Cape Meares were one of the attractions of the Tillamook areaThese sea arches beneath the off-shore sea stacks off Cape Meares were one of the attractions of the Tillamook area
About an hour drive north of Tillamook was the attractive Cannon Beach, which featured the Haystack Rock backing this gorgeous sandy beachAbout an hour drive north of Tillamook was the attractive Cannon Beach, which featured the Haystack Rock backing this gorgeous sandy beach
About 3 hours drive to the south along the Oregon Coast were the Oregon Dunes, which covered a long swath of the coastline between Bandon and FlorenceAbout 3 hours drive to the south along the Oregon Coast were the Oregon Dunes, which covered a long swath of the coastline between Bandon and Florence
About 90 minutes drive to the east of Tillamook was the city of Portland, where this sign was one of its iconic featuresAbout 90 minutes drive to the east of Tillamook was the city of Portland, where this sign was one of its iconic features
The trailhead for the Munson Creek FallsThe trailhead for the Munson Creek Falls

Looking back at the cars parked at the trailhead for Munson Creek FallsLooking back at the cars parked at the trailhead for the falls

On the lush trail for Munson Creek FallsOn the lush trail for the falls

Looking up at some mossy hairs dangling from the trees providing shade for the Munson Creek Falls TrailLooking up at some mossy hairs dangling from the trees providing shade for the waterfall trail

The trail following along Munson CreekThe trail following along Munson Creek

Getting my first look at the Munson Creek Falls after going up a short hillGetting my first look at the Munson Creek Falls after going up a short hill

The trail appeared to continue to move closer to Munson Creek FallsThe trail appeared to continue to move closer to the falls

Then I was stopped short by this closure sign and fencingThen I was stopped short by this closure sign and fencing

Broad look back at Munson Creek FallsBroad look back at the falls

Back at the trailhead where most of the cars that were here when we got started were now goneBack at the trailhead where most of the cars that were here when we got started were now gone


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Video starting with the trail closure then moving back to the apex of the trail while checking out Munson Falls from at least three different spots


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From downtown Tillamook at the junction of Hwy 6 and the US Hwy 101, we drove south on the US Hwy 101 for about 7.2 miles then turned left onto Munson Creek Rd. We then drove on Munson Creek Rd for the next mile as the narrow paved road passed through residences then became unpaved beyond the homes. The road then came to a fork where a sign had us keeping left to remain on Munson Creek Rd, then veering right at the next signed fork to leave the Munson Creek Road and reach the end of the unpaved road in another 0.4-0.5 miles. This drive took us about 15 minutes.

For some geographical context, Tillamook was about 40 miles (an hour drive) south of Cannon Beach, 73 miles (under 2 hours drive) west of Portland, 118 miles (over 2.5 hours drive) north of Florence, 140 miles (about 2.5 hours drive) north of Eugene, 167 miles (over 3.5 hours drive) north of Coos Bay, 190 miles (over 4 hours drive) north of Bandon, and 303 miles (about 5 hours drive) north of Medford.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.


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MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES





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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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