Trail Info: Salt Creek Falls is Oregon's second tallest waterfall, at 286'. The hike is a 6 mile out and back loop, with 750' of elevation gain. The trail will take us over a log bridge spanning Salt Creek, before climbing slightly to an overlook of the canyon below. From there, we will pass by Too Much Bear Lake, before heading down to a beautiful lunch spot at Diamond Creek Falls. After taking a lunch, and some pictures, we will head up to Fall Creek Falls, and then head out along another trail, which will make a loop. The scenic hike is rated as easy to moderate, and can be found on page 232 in William L. Sullivan's Forth Edition of "100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades". Sullivan's books are well used by local hikers, and can be found at most REI stores, as well as Barnes and Noble.
Where: Salt Creek Falls is located 5 miles west of Willamette Pass, and about 20 miles past Oakridge. Salt Creek Falls is about 62 miles from Eugene. McCredie Hot Springs is located near milepost 45, along Highway 58. There are also some hot springs on the other side of the creek. Those springs you can get to by taking a forest road to the other side, and then hiking in along the creek.
When: Sunday, September 21.
Directions: From I-5 take Exit 188A for Oakridge. Follow HWY 58 through the small town of Oakridge. Just past the tunnel, at milepost 57, turn right at the sign for Salt Creek Falls. Keep to the right at junctions, as you follow the road in to a paved parking lot, with bathrooms and a information kiosk. The falls are located just down a short path, but the hiking trail starts at the far end of the parking lot.
Details: We will hike in 1.8 miles to Diamond Creek Falls, where we can take a short snack, or our lunch, depending on time. After the short break we will continue 1.3 miles up to the cascading waters of Fall Creek Falls. After enjoying our time there, taking some pictures, and relaxing a bit, we will return on the trail, making a loop back to the trailhead. After the hike, those that want to relax in the hot springs will take the road back to HWY 58, and take a left, and head about 18 miles down the highway to a small parking lot on the left. The hot springs are located down a short path from the parking lot, following the creek. Those that would like to just head home, or grab dinner in Oakridge, can do so. After soaking in the hot springs, we will enjoy a dinner together in Oakridge and make our way back home.
Contact: Matthew Howell - (541)[masked]
Forest Service: Middle Fork Ranger District - (541)[masked]
Requirements and Suggestions: All hikers must bring at least two liters of water with them for the hike along with snacks or a lunch. I know some hikers feel comfortable hiking with less water, but it's what I'm asking of those going. I have had to deal with unprepared individuals on hikes, so I always make sure other hikers are well hydrated and carry some type of food. Thank you for the understanding. I highly recommend quick drying clothing, such as synthetics, and avoiding all cotton, as it is worthless once wet. Please dress in layers, and bring a layer of insulation, such as a fleece jacket or light down, and rain gear. Pack a small lunch along with some snacks that are high in protein. It will help you along for the endurance of the hike. Waterproof hiking boots or shoes are highly recommended, and a spare pair of socks in your pack is always a wise choice. Remember to pack your 10 Essentials as well.
Carpooling: We will carpool from Best Buy, so those needing rides please bring money to chip in for gas and the parking fee. Hopefully we can take just a few cars, which saves us all money on gas, and limits the amount of cars at the trailheads.
Parking and Regulations: Salt Creek Falls requires the Northwest Forest Pass at the trailhead. This pass is available for $30 at REI and other sporting goods stores. It covers your parking at most trailheads throughout the Northwest for one full year. A day fee of $5 for those without the pass, but the trailhead may be missing the dropbox for the fee. So the Northwest Forest Pass would be the safest way to go.
Disclaimer: McCredie Hot Springs is a clothing optional hot spring, that is along Salt Creek. They have added restrooms and a better parking lot, and more improvements are planned for the future. You can now use the restrooms for changing of clothing. There are also more hot springs on the other side of the creek. With it being a clothing optional hot spring, nudity is common. Those choosing to enjoy the hot springs, I ask that you respect those around you, as well as those in the group. Please be considerate and respectful as we share the hot springs. Bring a swimsuit and towel if you would like.