Best Hikes in Umpqua National Forest (OR)

Overview

The Umpqua National Forest is nestled on the western slopes of southern Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Explosive geologic events shaped the distinctive landscape on the 983,129-acre forest, and provide spectacular scenery as well as an abundance of natural and cultural resources. Visitors discover a diverse place of thundering waters, high mountain lakes, heart-stopping rapids, and peaceful ponds. Umpqua National Forest is characterized by its many waterfalls, including the 293-foot Watson Falls on the North Umpqua Highway. Official Website.

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StateOregon
Nearest Metro AreaRoseburg, OR
Area Size983,129 acres
EstablishedJuly 2, 1907
Hiking Trails530 miles

Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Umpqua National Forest

  • Brice Creek Trail + Trestle Creek Falls Trail – 9.6 mile loop
    • The Brice Creek Trail traverses a scenic, rocky canyon with numerous small waterfalls and pools along Brice creek. At the eastern end of the Brice Creek Trail are two adjoining trails accessing the waterfalls of Trestle Creek. The lower falls can be reached using the short 0.25 mile Trestle Creek Trail #1403C and the Upper Trestle Creek Trail #1403D is a 2.6 mile more difficult trail that loops above to the upper falls.
  • North Umpqua Trail #1414 (Swiftwater Segment) – 15.6 miles out and back
    • This is a 79.1 mile trail stretching east to west across the entire Umpqua National Forest. The Swiftwater segment is 7.8 miles long and stretches from the Swiftwater Recreation Area to the Tioga Bridge. The first quarter mile of the trail is accessible and provides easy access to Deadline Falls. Travel another 1.5 miles through the attractive forested fern groves to the small, but picturesque, Fern Creek Falls.
  • Mount Bailey Trail #1451 – 10.0 miles out and back
    • The trail begins on a flat covered by lodgepole pine. From there you travel through open stands of mountain hemlock and true fir. Timberline is reached about 1 mile from the summit. The last half mile is quite steep and rocky and may be too difficult for small children.At the summit, Mt. Thielsen and Diamond Lake can be seen in the foreground with the Cascades in the north and Mt. Shasta in the south.
  • Mount Thielsen Trail #1456*** – 9.8 miles out and back
    • This trail leads through lodgepole pine for the first mile. Timberline is at approximately 7200 feet elevation. Inviting glimpses of Mt. Thielsen are evident along the trail. A breath taking view of Mt. Thielsen presents itself just beyond the Spruce Ridge Trail junction 1.6 miles. The trail enters Mt. Thielsen Wilderness before you reach the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail at 2.9 miles. Here the glacial features of this volcanic peak loom before you. From the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, a scramble trail works its way to the spire pointed peak at 9,182 feet elevation. The trail is a steep climb, particularly above timberline beyond which there are no markers. The last 200 feet is a difficult hand-over-hand climb. Elevation gain is 3,782 feet.
  • Sawtooth Ridge Trail #1401 + Mount June Trail #1400 – 6.0 miles out and back
    • The trail travels east and west along an uneven ridgeline connecting Hardesty Mountain and Mt. June. When it connects with Mount June Trail it becomes a short, constantly uphill hike to the top of Mount June, which offers magnificent 360 degree views of the Willamette Valley and Coast Range to the west and numerous peaks of the Cascade Range to the east.
  • Spirit Falls Trail #1413 – 0.8 miles out and back
    • This short, easy trail descends gradually with occasional switchbacks down to Spirit Falls, a fairy tale-esque waterfall that drops 60 feet over a mossy rock wall into a shallow pool inhabited by frogs and salamanders. Umpqua National Forest’s Moon Falls Trail #1423 and Pinard Falls Trail #1406 are also close by.
  • Toketee Falls Trail #1495*** – 0.8 miles out and back
    • The trail passes through an old-growth stand of Douglas-fir, Western red cedar, big leaf maple, and Pacific yew. The North Umpqua Wild and Scenic River is visible at several points, cascading through a narrow rock gorge. The trail ends at a sturdy viewing platform overlooking a two-tiered falls. The upper descent drops 40 feet, and the lower falls plunges 80 feet over a sheer wall of basalt. 
  • Umpqua Hot Springs Trail #1444 – 0.6 miles out and back
    • The 0.3-mile trail is a steep climb to a “tub” 3 feet by 5 feet by 2.5 feet deep that is hewn out of the travertine deposits surrounding the springs. Families, please note that nudity is common at the springs.
  • Watson Falls Trail #1496*** – 0.6 mile loop
    • Watson Falls is the highest waterfall in Southwest Oregon and the third highest in the state with a stunning 294-foot drop over a basalt lava flow. A wooden bridge crosses Watson Creek and offers an excellent view of the spectacular falls. For those willing to trek a little off the beaten path, just north of the bridge is a path to the base of the falls, where you can get a closer view of both the falls and the lush vegetation that grows in its cool mist.

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