Discover Trails to Nature’s Cascading Wonders

Envision strolling through ancient forests, each turn unveiling another natural marvel. At the end of your stroll, imagine yourself at the foot of a glistening waterfall with the feel of mist on your face as copious amounts of water cascade down jagged, rocky outcroppings. This epitomizes the Southern Oregon Coast Range—a realm of unrivaled enchantment and adventure.

If you’re ready to discover nature’s cascading wonders, enticing hikes leading to these splendid flows await you along Oregon’s South Coast. While winter and spring rains can turn any ordinary location into a captivating waterfall wonderland, explore our selection of six trails leading to the most impressive and consistent waterfalls in the area.

Coquille River Falls Trail

Nestled in the scenic Siskiyou National Forest near Powers, you’ll discover the dazzling Coquille River Falls, one of the most reliable waterfalls in the Oregon Coast Range. The 0.7-mile Coquille River Falls Trail takes you on a moderate descent into a canyon brimming with natural beauty. Summer unveils the falls’ photogenic allure, while winter transforms it into a resplendent sheet of frothy white. The 115-foot falls reveal themselves in two tiers. The upper tier cheerfully plummets 50 feet over a broad ledge in a trio of block-like waterfalls, while the lower tier tumbles 65 feet in a pair of curved horsetails. At the falls’ base, the petite Drowned Out Creek Falls joins the Coquille in a frolicking dance.

Coquille River Falls Powers Oregon by Rick Scalf
Coquille River Falls in Siskiyou National Forest; Photo by Rick Scalf

Elk Creek Falls Trail

Combine your trip to Coquille River Falls with a visit to Elk Creek Falls Trail, easily accessible via a barrier-free, 0.4-mile out-and-back trail. Elk Creek Falls gush over four distinct tiers within a narrow, twisting canyon. The falls stand at a lofty height of 191 feet, with the final 83-foot tier clearly visible from the trail’s end. A subtle hint of the second tier may reveal itself when the trees near the base of the waterfall have shed their leaves. Sadly, the upper two tiers remain mostly out-of-sight as they play hide-and-seek with the canyon’s curves. But as a bonus, visit during the rainy season, and you may be treated to a duo of striking ephemeral waterfalls—one tantalizingly close to the trailhead, and the other tucked just below Elk Creek Falls. 

For a longer trek in the area, consider adding a jaunt to the Big Tree Observation Site. A moderately-challenging, 3.3-mile round-trip trail intersects the waterfall trail, leading you to Big Tree Park. There, you’ll discover various towering conifer species, including “The Big Tree,” the world’s largest living Port-Orford cedar tree.

Elk Creek Falls near Powers, Rogue Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon by Manuela Durson
Elk Creek Falls in Siskiyou National Forest; Photo by Manuel Durson

Floras Lake Waterfall Trail

Floras Lake Beach, close to Langlois, showcases imposing cliffs and eroded sandstone rock formations, establishing itself as one of the most intriguing coastal spots on this stretch of the Pacific. Towards the southern tip of Floras Lake Beach, adjacent to Blacklock Point, visitors will encounter a stunning, 150-foot waterfall descending from a coastal precipice, gracefully pouring down the rocks to meet the shoreline. This is one of the few waterfalls you will find outside the coastal mountain range.

The excursion begins in Boice Cope Park, where you’ll need to pay a parking fee. From here, take the 5.2-mile round-trip along the beach to the falls. The sandy terrain makes this hike somewhat demanding, and you should only attempt it at low tide, as the Pacific tends to run all the way up to the sheer sandstone cliffs. After enjoying views of the waterfall, head directly back the way you came or look for signposts pointing to the Oregon Coast Trail. Head up the trail and onto the cliffs for a phenomenal viewpoint atop Blacklock Point.

Waterfall at Blacklock Point Trail in Langlois, Oregon with a view of the ocean and sea cliffs.
Floras Creek Waterfall Langlois, Oregon; Photo by Moriah Rose @xue.er27

Golden and Silver Falls Trails

East of Coos Bay, Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area serves as a peaceful retreat, displaying two of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the region, Golden Falls and Silver Falls. The lush, jungle-like surroundings teem with trees, ferns, and diverse flora enhance the enchanting ambiance of these resplendent falls.

Golden Falls is one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Oregon’s Coast Range. Throughout winter and early spring, a substantial volume of water creates this magnificent 254-foot cascade. Accessible via a straightforward out-and-back trail, hikers gradually ascend to an enthralling vista of the thunderous waterfall alongside massive old-growth cedar and fir trees. A longer trail leads to the top of the falls, providing a different perspective.

Silver Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the Oregon Coast Range at 259 feet, gracefully pours over a uniquely bulbous outcropping. The falls descend over the outcropping in a shimmering sheet, resembling strands of silver hair flowing down one’s back. Simply gorgeous!

Silver Falls at Golden and Silver Falls in Allegany outside of Coos Bay, Oregon
Silver Falls at Golden and Silver Falls in Allegany outside of Coos Bay, Oregon; Photo by Manuela Durson

Kentucky Falls & North Fork Falls Trail

Kentucky Falls Natural Area near Mapleton contains three premier waterfalls in the Oregon Coast Range. Travel northeast from Reedsport to the Siuslaw National Forest and the Kentucky Falls Trailhead. Be sure to bring a Recreation Pass to enter the forest. This well-maintained, 3.7-mile out-and-back trail presents a challenge due to its length and elevation gain, yet remains suitable for most hikers. 

As the Kentucky Falls Trail descends into the canyon, hikers will first encounter Upper Kentucky Falls, plunging 88 feet over a moss-covered cliff into a tranquil pool below. During periods of high water, the falls transform into a wall of water spanning up to 50 feet in width, creating a glorious display. Lower Kentucky Falls marks the culmination of the trail, where a viewing platform offers a stunning view of Kentucky Creek. Watch as water tumbles 117 feet into a gorgeous grotto, enveloped by stately bigleaf maple trees. Adjacent to these falls stands North Fork Falls, the grandest of the three falls at 125 feet. While both of these waterfalls originate from the same cliff band, they carve out their distinct paths, each exhibiting its own unique charm.

Kentucky Falls North Fork Smith Trails
Upper Kentucky Falls in Siuslaw National Forest

Sweet Creek Falls Trail

Enhance your visit by pairing the Sweet Creek Trail hike with your stop at nearby Kentucky Falls. This 1.9-mile out-and-back trail meanders alongside Sweet Creek, treating hikers to a spectacle of smaller waterfalls, lush greenery, and vivid landscapes. The highlight, Sweet Creek Falls, stands at 70 feet and boasts a multi-tiered cascade nimbly spilling over moss-covered rocks. The gentle, well-maintained trail caters to all proficiency levels and offers numerous vantage points from which to admire the waterfall. Just like with Kentucky Falls, entry to Sweet Creek Falls is in the Siuslaw National Forest and requires a Recreation Pass.

Sweet Creek Falls Autumn by David Putzier
Sweet Creek Falls in Siuslaw National Forest; Photo by David Putzier

Cautions & Useful Tips

Hikers generally consider March through October the best time to hike these trails. But heading out in the winter and early spring when rain is plentiful will certainly be a worthwhile experience for anyone seeking to enjoy these waterfalls at their peak.

No matter the season, keep these cautions and tips in mind as you plan your outing. You will reach most forest hikes via dirt and gravel roads that can be windy, bumpy, and narrow. Signage has been known to wander off, and mapping apps can be less than accurate for accessing these remote locations. It’s advisable to consult trail websites for directions. Be sure to bring sturdy boots, as trails can be muddy in any season, but especially during winter and spring. And, while most trails welcome dogs, you must keep them on a leash. One caveat, please be aware that during snowy plover nesting season, beach trails may prohibit pets.

Lace Up Your Boots

Set in the heart of nature’s pristine beauty, the Southern Oregon Coast Range offers an escape into a world where the only sounds are the melodious chirping of birds, the crunching of pine needles, and the reverberant roar of waterfalls cascading down into shimmering crystal pools. It’s a place where the air emits the fresh scent of pine and damp earth, a reminder of the world’s natural phenomena that await those who seek adventure.

Ready for the journey? Lace up those boots!

Header photo by Danny Kent Alacali IG: @homemadepizzagridaynight

Footnotes:

1.  Falls heights per the Northwest Waterfall Survey. The survey does not list the unnamed falls at Floras Lake.

2. Trail lengths are per AllTrails.