Fall Creek

Fall Creek

Willamette National Forest

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 13.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Best time to go: All Year

About this Hike 

The Fall Creek Trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail, and follows Fall Creek for most of the route. The trail is 13.7 miles altogether, but hikers can opt for as short or long of a trek as they please. Although part of this trail parallels the creek through a lush old-growth forest, it also takes you through a section of old-growth that was affected by the 2003 Clark Fire where you can witness the ecosystem's natural recovery after a burn. On hot summer days you can stop at the many swimming holes throughout Fall Creek. 

History of the Area

This area was widely used by the Kalapuya tribe for fishing, hunting and the Slick Creek Cave was used as a campground. Sadly, looters destroyed the sites archeological value in the 1950s. In recent years the Fall Creek area has been hotly contested: The Clark Timber Sale was planned in the late 1990s and was home to a tree sit, but most of the area was saved due to an Oregon Wild lawsuit. The Clark Fire, which burned much of the area in 2003, could also have led to extensive controversy over post-fire logging, but the Forest Service wisely bowed to public pressure to allow the area to recover on its own. This area serves as an example for the positive effects of not logging dead, burnt trees. 

Getting There

1. From I-5, head east on Highway 58 for 14 miles.

2. Turn left to cross over Dexter Reservoir. 

3. Take another left onto North Shore Drive, and then take the first right onto Moss St.

4. Continue on this road until you reach a junction with Big Fall Creek Rd. (it will be right before a covered bridge) and turn right onto Big Fall Creek Rd. 

5. Follow this road and keep left at the dam for 10-11 miles until reaching a parking area and trail sign.

Photo by Kelly Morgan