Located deep in Oregon's Umpqua National Forest, Toketee Falls holds its own among Oregon's most striking waterfalls. Only an 85 foot drop, Toketee Falls may not be the most powerful falls in the Northwest, but easily makes up for it with an impressive basalt ampitheater and gorgeous blue water.
Named for the Native Chinook word for graceful, Toketee "pronounced TOKE-uh-tee) is certainly one of Oregon's most famous waterfalls, and one that's tailor-made for Instagram. Deep in the Umpqua National Forest, just getting there is half the fun. From Interestate 5, you must take the Roseburg exit (about 75 miles south of Eugene), then take Highway 138 East through the mountains for another 60 miles. It's a long trek from pretty much anywhere in Oregon, but it's well worth it.
Highway 138 runs east-west along the Umpqua River, linking Western Oregon and Central Oregon. Along the way, it passes some of the state's most gorgeous scenery, including Toketee Falls, as well as nearby Watson Falls (the state's 3rd tallest waterfall) and Umpqua Hot Springs. Further on down the road, Highway 138 encounters the junction to turn to Crater Lake, which (in the summertime) is only another 90 minute drive from Toketee Falls. With a little careful planning, you can hit all these incredible locations on the same trip.
The waterfall itself is quite close to the highway, and only a short, 0.8 mile hike from the trailhead. The trail is mostly flat and suitable for all ages and fitness conditions. Interestingly, the trail mostly stays up above the falls, hugging the hillside. In fact, the trail" end is an elevated viewing platform from which you look down upon Toketee Falls. It's still a gorgeous sight, but nothing like seeing the Falls from down below.
On the right side of the viewing platform, there's a gap in the fence and a makeshift path going down the hillside. This "trail" is very steep, often muddy and can be treacherous. Adventure Cascadia cannot not recommend going taking this route to the bottom of the waterfall. Staying on the viewing platform will keep you safe and protect the hillside from erosion.
However, if you do insist on following the makeshift trail down, make sure to use the rope that's tied to a tree to guide your descent. Grab onto trees and branches as needed.
From the bottom of the hill, you encounter the waterfall face on. The pool at the base can make for excellent swimming, and the entire area is great to explore. For the best photos, try going early in the day. Because the canyon walls are so steep, direct sunlight only penetrates down to the floor for a few hours per day. Timing this right can produce some fantastic cross-shadows, reflections and sunbursts.
We're Cooler on Instagram
Oregon's beauty is so abundant that experiencing it is an everyday occurrence. But some places are so incredible they're well-worth going out of your way for. Toketee Falls is absolutely one of them. And combining a trip to the Falls with a trip to other nearby hotspots, such as Crater Lake, and you have an excellent weekend planned out.
Been to Toketee Falls? Tag us on Instagram @adventurecascadia.