Munson Creek Falls

Tillamook, Oregon, USA

About Munson Creek Falls


Hiking Distance: 1/2-mile round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2017-08-17
Date last visited: 2017-08-17

Waterfall Latitude: 45.36262
Waterfall Longitude: -123.76946

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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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.

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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Tagged with: tillamook, tillamook county, oregon coast, cape meares, trail closure, landslide, oregon, waterfall

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