About Pearsony Falls and “Rogue Falls”
Pearsony Falls (I’ve also seen it spelled Pearsoney Falls) was kind of our last waterfalling throw-in after having visited the nearby duo of Mill Creek Falls and Barr Creek Falls. In fact, if it wasn’t for the wooden map sign at that other parking lot (suggesting that it was merely a short walk from the other trailhead to Pearsoney Falls), then we probably would have skipped out on it. Nevertheless, as Mom would say, “Since we’re already here, we mind as well do it”, and so by virtue of the existence of this write-up, we’ve done exactly that. This waterfall was basically a short cascade on Mill Creek that was much wider than it was tall (15-25ft in height according to our book by Gregory Plumb). While the falls was pretty graceful and conducive to those silky-smooth tripod-aided long exposure photographs, this excursion also yielded unexpected waterfalling surprises in that we also got to check out the Avenue of the Giant Boulders as well as more cascades on the Rogue River, which Plumb called “Rogue Falls”.
We began our short hike from a surprisingly unsigned large parking area nearby a road bridge over the Rogue River (see directions below). At the far northern end of the parking lot, there was a bathroom as well as a small sign indicating the way to Pearsoney Falls. After a few paces of following the trail, we crossed some larger dirt road and continued straight onto the waterfall trail (there was also a large sign indicating that we were indeed going the right way). After about five minutes of walking (as the trail pretty much followed along Mill Creek downstream), we then were right besides Pearsony Falls. A short scramble onto the banks of the creek yielded the photo you see at the top of this page, though the falls was definitely wider than what I was able to fit onto a single frame of my DSLR camera so I’m imagine an iPhone 6 using Pano mode would do the trick.
After less than ten minutes further down the trail beyond Pearsony Falls, we were then at an opening in the foliage overlooking the Avenue of the Giant Boulders. This was where the Rogue River rushed its way through these huge boulders that were said to have come from the eruption of Mt Mazama (the mountain responsible for Crater Lake) some 7,700 years ago. The force of the Rogue River was evident as many of these huge boulders had moved well downstream over the years (the Prospect Hotel had historical pictures showing some of these same boulders being well upstream back then!). We noticed some people on the other side of the Avenue of the Giant Boulders looking for a place to go bouldering or to find a place where the river was calm enough to cool off. But from where we were at, we were content to get our views then head back up to the trailhead. Overall, the time spent away from the car taking in both Pearsony Falls and this view of the Avenue of the Giant Boulders was about 45 minutes.
Before we drove off for good, we made one more roadside stop at the bridge spanning the Rogue River. This was where I got out of the car and walked onto the bridge, where I managed to look upstream at a series of rapids and cascades that Gregory Plumb called “Rogue Falls”. As I crossed over to the other side of the bridge looking downstream, I got a more top down view of the Avenue of the Giant Boulders as well as a gorgeous view of the conical Mt McLoughlin in the distance. This roadside stop was probably unsanctioned because there was no pedestrian access on the bridge (so I was taking my chances hoping no car would come whizzing by while I was on it). Gregory Plumb’s book had a photo of an alternate view of “Rogue Falls” showing parts of the cascade beneath the road bridge, but in my limited search, I had neither the time nor the patience to find it.
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 1.2 miles (at 0.6 miles, there was a parking lot on our right for Mill Creek Falls Scenic Area, at 0.9 miles, we reached a road bridge crossing over the Rogue River). At the end of this 1.2-mile stretch (or 0.3 miles north of the bridge), we then turned right into a large parking area (which was surprisingly unsigned; or at least we didn’t see any). On one side was a picnic table where as on the other side was a bathroom. The trail for Pearsony Falls as well as the Avenue of the Giant Boulders began near the bathroom.
For views of “Rogue Falls”, go back to the road bridge over the Rogue River. On the northeast side of the bridge, there was a pullout where it was possible to stop the car. Then, walk onto the bridge to experience what I was describing further up on this page.
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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