Visitors can get an unusual perspective of Grotto Falls because there’s a trail in back of this 100-foot cascade. If you venture behind the shimmering water, watch your step because the moss-covered rocks are very slippery.
To get here, take Route 138 for 18 miles east of [node:90117 link Roseburg to Glide. Follow Little River Road to the Coolwater Campground, and you’ll find the turnoff to Forest Service Road 2703 nearby. Take it for 5 miles until you reach the junction of Forest Service Road 2703-150.
Proceed down Forest Service Road 2703-150 for another 2 miles until you reach the trailhead. It’s only a short hike in to view Grotto Falls.
Susan Creek Falls
About 10 miles west of the town of Steamboat is 50-foot-high Susan Creek Falls, whose trailhead sits off Route 138 near the Susan Creek picnic area. A 1-mile trail winds through a rain forest–like setting to the falls. The cascade is bordered on three sides by green mossy rock walls that never see the light of the sun and stay wet 365 days a year.
Another 0.25 miles up the trail are the Indian Mounds. One of the rites of manhood for Umpqua boys was to fast and pile up stones in hopes of being granted a vision or spiritual powers. Also called the Vision Quest Site, the site still holds stacks of moss-covered stones in an area protected by a fence.
Fall Creek Falls
Four miles west of Susan Creek Falls is Fall Creek Falls. Look for the trailhead off Route 138 at Fall Creek. A good walk for families with young children and for older people, the mild 1-mile trail goes around and through slabs of bedrock. Halfway up the trail is a lush area called Job’s Garden.
Stay on the Fall Creek Trail and in another 0.5 miles you’ll come to the falls. It’s a double waterfall with each tier 35–50 feet in height. Back at Job’s Garden, you may want to explore the Job’s Garden Trail, which leads to the base of columnar basalt outcroppings.
During fish-migration season, it’s fun to venture off Route 138 at Steamboat and go up Steamboat Creek Road 38 to see the fish battle two small waterfalls. The first, Little Falls, is 1 mile up the road. It’s always exciting to see the fish miraculously wriggle their way up this 10-foot cascade. Four miles farther down Steamboat Creek Road is Steamboat Falls. A viewpoint showcases this 30-foot waterfall, but not as many fish try to swim up this one because of the fish ladders nearby.
Back on Route 138 about 3 miles east of Steamboat is Jack Falls. Look for the trailhead sign and follow the trail along the brushy bank of Jack Creek to a series of three closely grouped waterfalls ranging 20–70 feet in height.
From Route 138 take Forest Service Road 37 near the east entrance of the Toketee Ranger Station to reach the trailhead of Watson Falls, a 272-foot-high flume of water. A moderate 0.5-mile trail climbs through tall stands of Douglas fir and western hemlock and is complemented by an understory of green salal, Oregon grape, and ferns. A bridge spans the canyon just below the falls, providing outstanding views of this towering cascade. The cool spray that billows up to the bridge always feels good on a hot day after the hike uphill.
Another waterfall worth a visit is Lemolo Falls. Lemolo is a Chinook word meaning “wild and untamed,” and you’ll see that this is the case with this thunderous 100-foot waterfall. To get here, take Lemolo Lake Road off Route 138, then follow Forest Service Roads 2610 and 2610-600 and look for the trailhead sign. The trail is a gentle 1-mile path that drops down into the North Umpqua Canyon and passes several small waterfalls on the way to Lemolo Falls.
Another 19 miles up Route 138 near the Toketee Ranger Station are two big waterfalls. To get to Toketee Falls, follow Forest Service Road 34 at the west entrance of the ranger station, cross the first bridge, and turn left. There you’ll find the trailhead and a parking area. The 0.5-mile trail ends at a double waterfall with a combined height of over 150 feet.
The word toketee means “graceful” in the Chinook language, and after viewing the water plunge over the sheer wall of basalt you’ll probably agree it’s aptly named.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel