A rather easy hike, with several trails leading to great views of the falls along the creek. The area was founded by Oregon Trail pioneers back in 1879. A section of the trail was once used to transport dairy to the once thriving coastal town of Cushman, just east of Florence. The trail is popular with local hikers, as the trail uses catwalks mounted into the rocks to allow hikers to enjoy the creek as if walking right on the water.
Trail Info: All the trails to each of the falls is a combined 5.2 miles with just 650 feet of elevation gain. William L. Sullivan's book rates the hikes as moderate, due in part to a decent drop on the far side of the falls that has a bit of a switchback. Trails are also rated on how wide they are, how well maintained, vegetation overgrowth and roots and rocks. This hike should be good for all skill levels and kids are more than welcome to join with a responsible adult.
Where: Sweet Creek Falls is located about 60 miles west of Eugene, near Mapleton, in the Siuslaw National Forest.
When: Sunday, January 12
Directions: Take Highway 126 west from Eugene towards Mapleton. Just before the bridge crossing into Mapleton turn left onto Sweet Creek Road. Follow this paved road for 10.2 miles to a marked trailhead on the right. The trailhead will be marked as the Homestead Trailhead. There is a restroom available at this parking lot.
Details: I plan on leaving the Target parking lot in Eugene by 9:00AM. I'm hoping to get to the trailhead by 10:00AM. My plan is to hike in 1.1 miles along the trail to Sweet Creek Falls, following the catwalks. At the falls we can take a lunch, and some pictures. We will then hike back out 1.1 miles to the parking lot. From there we will drive up the road a bit to another trailhead to see Beaver Creek Falls, and some history about the trails. The trail to Beaver Creek Falls is just 0.6 miles, and has a great view. After seeing Beaver Creek Falls we will cross the road and take a trail that will allow us to see Sweet Creek Falls a bit from above and also from a much better view. We will take some pictures and then return to our cars, completing 5.2 miles along the trails. I hope to be able to return to Eugene before 4:00PM. Please keep in mind other hiker's pace, stops for pictures, and driving and lunch. I like to enjoy my hikes and I take a lot of pictures. I hike to see things, not just go from trailhead to destination as quickly as I can. I try to allow those that like to hike faster to do so. Also those that hike a bit slower are always welcome, just hike with a partner if you do. Thanks for being understanding.
Contacts: Matt Howell - (541)[masked]
Forest Service: Central Coast Ranger District - (541)[masked]
Requirements and Suggestions: I require that all hikers on the hike carry enough water for themselves to drink for the entire 5.2 miles. About 2 liters should be good. Also, please dress in layers, avoid any cotton, and bring rain gear. Each hiker is responsible for themselves, but not being prepared endangers the safety of themselves and others in the group. The trails will most likely be wet or icy, and the catwalks are right above the creek, so bring good hiking shoes or boots. Please pack a lunch to enjoy for the day. Anyone that needs to borrow a backpack for the hike, please let me know beforehand. I have a few I can loan out.
Ten Essentials: Every hiker should have these on them, even for short day hikes. http://www.meetup.com/Willamette-Valley-Outdoors/messages/boards/thread/25318292
Carpooling: We will carpool from Target on West 11th in Eugene. A picture of where we will meet, at Target, is provided below. The trip is about 120 miles total, so if you are riding with someone, please bring between $10 and $15 for the driver's contribution to getting everyone to and from the trailheads safely. If you are riding the bus to Target, or need a ride there, please arrange so with others before the trip.
Parking Passes and Forest Regulations: No parking fee is required at this trailhead.
Looking forward to seeing you on the trail.