Kentucky Falls Trail #1376

5 reviews #2 hike out of 71 in
3.7 mi
Distance
1 hrs 57 min
Time
terrain
751 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a moderate approximately 4.4 mile out-and-back hike leading to three waterfalls. The hike in is all downhill, so be prepared to hike uphill on the way back. There are a lot of slippery rocks, so it is best to stay on the trail.

After approximately 0.8 miles, you will reach Upper Kentucky Falls. In another approximately 1.4 miles, you will reach a fork in the trail. Go right to continue to Lower Kentucky Falls and North Fork Falls viewing areas. You will have a nice view of all of the falls right from the trail. To return, retrace your steps to the trailhead.

If you choose to bring a dog, please keep it on leash.

Getting Started

The road to the trailhead is not for the faint of heart. You should not try to tackle this in a standard car- an SUV or a car with ground clearance is a necessity. Check the snow level before attempting this drive as it would be a very dangerous feat in the snow.

From Eugene, take Hwy 126 for approximately 33 miles. Between mileposts 26 and 27 turn left at the Whittaker Creek Recreation area sign. After 1.6 miles turn right and cross a bridge. Drive 1.5 miles, and then fork left onto Dunn Ridge Rd. and continue 7 windy, uphill miles to a T-shaped junction which marks the end of the pavement. Here turn left onto Knowles Creek Rd. for 2.7 miles and then turn right onto (paved) Road 23 for another 1.6 miles. Finally turn right onto (paved) Road 919 for an easy downhill 2.8 miles to the trail head parking area on your right.

​You will need a Northwest Forest Pass, or should have cash to pay $5 for parking if you don't have one.

Taking Children

This is a good hike for children. Do be aware that it is slippery in wet weather and there are many steep cliffs from which one could fall, so keep an eye on young children.



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    9 months, 3 weeks ago
    This is an amazing hike with 2-3 amazing Waterfalls that offer many photo ops of the waterfalls & the surrounding area. The trail is well maintained, offers amazing views of the forest & creek, & because it’s out of the way there wasn’t a lot of other hikers using the trail. The hike in is mostly level to downhill & the walk back includes a section of switchbacks that aren’t very steep, but have some trip points do to ricks and roots. Just be aware.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
    Awesome reward! Research how to get there and screen shot the directions so you’re not relying on cell service. It can be a tricky one to find! Well maintained trail with beautiful trees, fungi, mosses, and scenery. Downhill in....which means uphill out.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 week, 6 days ago
    ★ ★

    user_profile
    4 months, 1 week ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 5 months ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★


Public Tracks

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Art.Black 3 years, 9 months ago
Kentucky Falls and N. Fork Smith River; 4.5 miles / 2:45 hours
iWatch read 4.18 miles. Track (7/28/17, 10:52:11AM start) For detailed route description, see hike 50, Kentucky Falls and N. Fork Smith River, in "Moon Oregon Hiking: The Complete Guide to More Than 490 Hikes" (Moon Outdoors), May 11, 2010 by Sean Patrick Hill. Noteworthy features are: -lovely drive to the trail head, first along the Smith River, then on one lane forest roads -hike to two charming waterfall sites, the first with one waterfall, the second with two -very few people on a weekday Trip time includes multiple photography stops. I drove from the Oregon coast to reach the trail head. This description, from the Siuslaw FS website, worked well for me. Note significant portions of this route are on a one lane, sometimes gravel road, with limited/no cell service. I downloaded a Google map before starting. Google maps recommended a longer alternative route to reach the trail head, but this route worked fine for me. And I thought it was a lovely drive. Start by following US-101 N. At Reedsport, turn right (east) onto Lower Smith River Road (Forest Road #48). Continue 15.9 miles and turn left onto North Fork Smith River Road (Forest Road #48A). Travel 10.6 miles and turn right onto Forest Road #23. Continue 9.6 miles turning left onto Forest Road #919. Travel 2.8 miles and turn right into parking area. Follow signs to the trailhead. I reversed these FS directions to continue on to Eugene from the trail head. At the Whittaker Creek Recreation Area between mileposts 26 & 27 off Hwy 126, (east of Mapleton) turn left onto Siuslaw River Rd (Forest Service Road 4390). After 1.6 miles turn right onto Road #18-8-28 at the Whittaker Creek sign and cross the bridge. Travel this road for 1.5 miles, turning to the left onto Dunn Ridge Road (Road # 18-8-28.1). Continue for 7.0 miles to a "T" shaped junction at the end of the pavement. Turn left onto Knowles Creek Road (#18-8-9) and continue 2.8 miles veering to the right onto Forest Service Road #23. After 1.6 miles, turn right onto Forest Service Road 919. Travel 2.8 miles and turn right into parking area. Follow signs to the trailhead.
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Jamil Jonna 7 years ago
Kentucky Falls -- Upper to Lower Loop
A beautiful hike that descends about 800ft from the Upper to Lower Kentucky Falls trailhead. The drive from Highway 126 to the Upper Falls trailhead is somewhat arduous as you drive along a steep, curvy, and heavily potted dirt logging road for final 4 or 5 miles. (About a mile before the trailhead you reach pavement again.) Off the parking lot a little picnic table overlooks Kentucky Creek just before it enters an enormous culvert. Start the hike by crossing the street and entering the trail along the right side of the culvert. In little more than a mile descend steeply along a the edge of an impressive canyon that envelops Kentucky Creek, creating the stunning Upper Falls. The creek is undergirded by massive slabs of basalt that make the creek look like a giant (though perilous) water slide. Spectacular old growth firs tower up above canyon walls layered with a thick medley of mosses and lichens. The mosses only grow more dense by the time you reach the Lower Falls. Mirrored by the N. Fork Smith Falls, which stands just a few hundred by feet away, the two waterfalls generate an envelope of mist that helps the moss blanket every surface. The creeks shatter into a maze of intersecting rivulets flowing over a broad low-elevation area before converging as the Smith River downstream along a southward bend. This is a truly delightful 6-mile roundtrip hike that has something to offer year-round, but is especially pretty in late spring.
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GeekKnitter 4 years, 7 months ago
2016-10-08 Kentucky Falls
Sheesh, that was one seriously hairy drive!
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GeekKnitter 4 years, 7 months ago
2016-10-08 Kentucky Falls
Sheesh, that was one seriously hairy drive!
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aceschini 1 year, 4 months ago
Kentucky falls
Hello I just che
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