About Mill Creek Falls and Barr Creek Falls
Mill Creek Falls and Barr Creek Falls were one of those rare two-for-one waterfalling experience where you couldn’t say one played second fiddle to the other.
In fact, both waterfalls were within a stone’s throw from each other yet each were quite impressive in their own right as they each possessed good size as well as good flow.
With Mill Creek Falls, one of the trail markings proclaimed this to be 173ft tall.
However, for a waterfall of this size, it had quite a gushing flow as it seemed like all of Mill Creek was hurled over a vertical cliff before crashing and joining up with the Rogue River down below.
With Barr Creek Falls, it was said to be taller at 242ft tall, but it possessed a lighter yet more graceful flow.
Barr Creek also made its contribution to the massive Rogue River right at the base of this waterfall.
It was hard to tell which of the two we liked better – Mill Creek’s forcefulness or Barr Creek’s gracefulness.
Regardless of the comparisons, we were quite happy with the overall waterfalling experience as a whole, and in the end, that’s all that matters.
Hiking to Mill Creek Falls
From the well-established parking lot (see directions below), we were immediately able to assess what we were signing up for in doing this trail.
There was a large wooden signboard showing a map of the Mill Creek Falls Scenic Area.
That was where we could see that we had to walk from the east end of the parking lot, which initially descended alongside Mill Creek Drive before continuing its descent as the trail veered further to the east.
As we made this descent, we saw that there was a steeper shortcut trail that led straight back up to the parking lot though I wondered if that was unsanctioned.
Anyways, all this downhill suggested that we would eventually go back up this way on the return hike and get back all that elevation loss.
After about five minutes removed from the parking lot, the wide and forested descending trail reached a junction.
The pi-shaped sign pointed left for “Giant Boulders” (i.e. the Avenue of the Giant Boulders) and it pointed right for “Falls”.
Obviously, we kept right and continued along the still-wide and forested trail for the next 7 minutes or so (passing by some interesting rocks along the way) before reaching another pi-shaped sign.
This time the sign pointed left for “Mill Cr 173′” and right for “Barr Cr 242′”.
We first kept left where just a few paces further, we got to look right across the Rogue River Gorge at the plunging Mill Creek Falls.
There were false paths throughout the hike perhaps in an effort to improve the view, but the sanctioned view was clearly the best one.
That said, we did notice that trees growing from the bottom conspired to block the bottom portions of the waterfall’s overall drop.
With the late afternoon light during our visit, it seemed to be the best time for a visit as the soft light from the sun provided nice backlighting against the white plume of Mill Creek Falls.
Hiking to Barr Creek Falls
After having our fill of the look-but-don’t-touch Mill Creek Falls, we then followed the other side of the pi-shaped sign and walked another couple of minutes towards some rock outcrop.
At this outcrop, we climbed up to its top and got to peer right across the Rogue River in an open setting towards Barr Creek Falls.
We were also able to peer further downstream at the Rogue River making its meander further towards the south.
Meanwhile looking in the opposite direction, we could also get obstructed views of Mill Creek Falls making us realize just how close together these impressive waterfalls were.
Like with Mill Creek Falls, Barr Creek Falls also benefitted from the late afternoon lighting of our end-of-the-day visit so we probably timed our visit perfectly.
When we had our fill of this falls, we returned back the way we came and got back to the parking lot just under an hour after we had gotten started.
If we were so inclined, we could have taken the other path in the junction (before the climb back up the parking lot) towards the Avenue of the Giant Boulders.
I believe it was another half-mile (one-way) or so further upstream from this first pi-junction we encountered.
Instead, we visited that other attraction from Pearsony Falls, which we’ll get into in a separate write-up.
Mill Creek Falls and Barr Creek Falls reside in the Prospect State Scenic Viewpoint near Medford in Jackson County, Oregon. They are administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
The closest big city to Prospect State Park was Medford, which was where we were based for our most recent tour of the Southern Cascades.
Therefore, we’ll describe the driving directions from there.
From the I-5/Hwy 62 exit in Medford, we then took the Crater Lake Hwy (Hwy 62) for roughly 40 miles to a signed turnoff for Mill Creek Falls on the right.
Turning right onto this turnoff, we then followed it briefly to the next junction where the sign pointed left as we drove onto Mill Creek Drive.
Then, we continued on Mill Creek Drive for the next 0.6 miles to a parking lot on our right.
We knew we were in the right place as a giant wooden sign with a map engraved on it indicated as such.
Overall, this drive was roughly an hour from Medford.
I believe it was also possible to take Mill Creek Drive in the opposite direction from the small town of Prospect, but we didn’t go that way so we can’t comment more on it.
For some geographic context, Medford was 97 miles (over 90 minutes drive) south of Roseburg, 274 miles (over 4 hours drive) south of Portland, 308 miles (about 5 hours drive) north of Sacramento, California, and 692 miles (10.5 hours drive) north of Los Angeles, California.
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