Hiking along the Umpqua River

To celebrate National Trails Day and to enjoy the outdoors, I joined up with a bunch of women from my church in Eugene for a day of hiking along the Umpqua River in southern Oregon. Following a portion of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, we stopped for three short hikes to beautiful cascading waterfalls on the north Umpqua. Each building in size and awe-power, the waterfalls filled the day with relaxing river sounds and a chance to get away and enjoy the fellowship of other women in the wild!

Fern Falls

The first stop of the day was at this little, trickling waterfall. Following a flat, strolling dirt trail through the lush river bank forest, we traveled about 1.5 miles to Fern Falls. This hike was a great start to the day and is very gentle for all abilities. Along with stopping at the waterfall, the trail also has great opportunities to view the river and rocky banks.

Fern Falls, Oregon

Susan Creek Falls

Just a short drive east on highway 138 from our first hike, we pulled off for lunch and the second hike of the day to Susan Creek Falls. An impressive waterfall, bubbling lower stream and rolling wide trail made this second hike even more enjoyable. Only a short 2-miles round trip, Susan Creek Falls is wheel chair accessible and would be great for young kids.

Susan Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls

Again just a short jaunt back in the car east on highway 138, we stopped for our final hike of the afternoon to Fall Creek Falls. Following a nicely groomed trail through the mossy forest and carved river boulders, this cool 1.6-mile round trip trail is reminiscent of the dripping forest of fantasy books. Leading to a sultry waterfall that sprays you with refreshing mist, this trail was fun, quick and very rewarding!

If you go:

From I-5 take exit 124 into Roseburg and follow highway 138 for 22 miles through the green Umpqua Valley and eventually following along the gushing river. All three waterfalls have parking lots with small restaurants. Susan Creek Falls restrooms are by far the nicest and the park has a great place to each lunch overlooking the river. From Eugene, it took about 1.5 hours each way to drive to this trail.

All three of these waterfalls are located along the Tioga Segment of the North Umpqua River Trail. Fern Falls is accessible from the trail while Susan Creek Falls and Fall Creek Falls are both located on the north side of the river, across highway 138. There are no day use fees at these three sites (subject to change – always check before parking).

Road Trip Tip: If you visit this trail from the north, make sure to stop at the K & R Drive Inn in Rice Hill for some delicious Umpqua Ice Cream.


Published by Kelsey Ivey

An avid traveler and hiker, Kelsey is a freelance writer and professional explorer.

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