Salt Creek Falls

Willamette National Forest / Oakridge / Lane County, Oregon, USA

Rating: 3.5     Difficulty: 1.5
Salt Creek Falls
Salt Creek Falls was one of the more impressive waterfalls we've seen in Oregon. We could tell that it was very popular because it was so easily accessible in addition to its impressive height and flow. Given that we saw this waterfall in late August 2009 and it still had nice flow (as you can tell from the photos on this page), we believe it would flow all year.

The falls was said to plunge around 286ft. We saw a sign by the car park that claimed this was the state's second tallest waterfall. While this claim may be highly disputable (though it might have some weight if we were to just consider vertical drop waterfalls), the falls reminded us of some of the other plunge waterfalls found in the Columbia River Gorge near the border with Washington state. The reason why was because Salt Creek flowed over an old basalt lava flow that once filled in a valley originally carved by glaciers. Over time, glaciation calved off the edge of the lava flow resulting in the vertical wall over which Salt Creek made its plunge.

There were cliff-hugging overlooks providing us with impressive top-down views of the falls. However, an easy, short trail led us further down a pair of switchbacks to a steep lower overlook for a more direct view of Salt Creek Falls.

Back at the car park, we saw that there was also a trail leading to the Diamond Creek Falls and the Falls Creek Falls further upstream from it. Unfortunately for us, the trail was closed due to snow damage on the bridge crossing Salt Creek resulting from particularly strong Winter snowstorms in both 2008 and 2009. We can vouch for the Winter storms because we experienced some of that action earlier in 2009 in Spring!

From the looks of that bridge, it probably wouldn't have been wise to hop the barricade and tempt fate as it certainly looked rickety as well as tilting to one side as the support beams seemed detached from several of the planks lined above it. We'll have to come back here next time to see Diamond Creek Falls, which was one of our priority waterfalls from our August 2009 visit.

Directions: We came here heading southeast on Hwy 58 from Eugene going past Oakridge and then towards the beautiful Crater Lake National Park. Salt Creek Falls car park is roughly over 20 miles southeast of Oakridge in an established turnoff and car park.

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Direct look at Salt Creek Falls from the end of the short trail to the lower viewing area
We stopped by Salt Creek Falls on the way to the beautiful Crater Lake National Park
Cliffhugging viewpointsCliffhugging viewpoints

Looking downstream from the cliffs towards the surrounding forestLooking downstream from the cliffs towards the surrounding forest

Looking down past a cliff towards Salt Creek FallsLooking down past a cliff towards the falls

Julie at the lower viewpoint of Salt Creek FallsJulie at the lower viewpoint of the falls

About to start the hike towards Diamond Creek FallsAbout to start the hike towards Diamond Creek Falls

Diamond Creek Trail closedDiamond Creek Trail closed

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Top down sweep of the falls and then the sweep continues downstream and ends at neighboring mountain range

Bottom up sweep of the falls from the bottom viewpoint

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

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Two spectacular falls (Salt Creek & Lower Diamond) 
This is a spectacular fall but I found that diamond falls both the upper and lower views just as spectacular. Diamond falls is a bit of a hike in. …

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