When you think about pacific northwest iconic waterfalls, Toketee Falls is what comes to mind. Toketee falls is one of many features in the enchanting Umpqua National Forest perfect for a quick or long stop on your way through central Oregon.
About Toketee Falls
The word 'toketee' comes from the Chinook Jargon dialect of pacific northwest traders in the 19th century. It's translation is "pretty" or "graceful" and the falls took this name during a 1916 decision.
The falls are 120 feet tall with the main plunge dropping 80 feet and the upper falls descending 40 feet. The upper walls are mostly obstructed by the basalt columns.
North Umpqua River Hydroelectric Projects
The falls are fed by the North Umpqua River which receives a consistent flow of water from Toketee Lake, a dammed water source to provide hydroelectric power.
When you turn off route 138 you'll see one of the PacifiCorp hydroelectric dams along the river and once in the parking lot you'll be struck by the massive wooden aqueduct.
The aqueduct is a peculiar scene and don't be alarmed by the bursting water over people walking to the trailhead and cars pulling out of the lot. It's safe and normal - or normal for this aqueduct I guess.
About The Hike
The official hike to Toketee is very short, the trailhead goes into the woods and crosses a small stream before meandering along the side of the river embankment and coming to the wooden walkway.
The wooden walkway is fenced and built into the cliffs and will descend you to the octagonal wooden viewing platform. This was totally unexpected to me and a pretty insane feature of this hike.
The entire hike is less than a mile round trip and can be done in as little as 30 minutes including time to view the falls from the platform.
Distance: 0.9 Miles
Type: Out & Back
Ascent: 167 feet
Getting to the Bottom of it All
Okay, so there's no official trail to the bottom of the falls but it's feasible if you're in an adventurous mood and don't mind hanging onto some ropes as you climb down a short cliff section.
The unmarked trail can be found at the top of the stairs directly above the octagonal platform. There is a small cut in the fence that you need to duck under and will put you standing on the top of a dusty rocky cliff edge with a rope hanging down.
Grab a hold of the rope and carefully repel down the rocks until you get to the base about twenty feet below. From here there may be another set of ropes but the difficult part is definitely over.
At the base you'll need to hop over a couple of logs before reaching the aqua pool in front of the falls.
Many pictures you see of Toketee are shot from below the viewing platform where the official trail ends so this is the only way if you are looking for one of those shots. It's also an incredible spot to relax on the rock slabs for a while.
Going to the base of the falls is the best way to beat the crowds and have a more relaxed visit here. 10/10 recommend.
Getting There and Important Information
Toketee Falls is located in Umpqua National Forest off of route 138 (North Umpqua Highway). The parking lot can hold around 25 cars max with possible additional parking along the street.
There are outhouse style bathroom facilities at the trailhead but the area remains a carry in - carry out park.
No camping or overnight parking are allowed at Toketee Falls.
Check current information and conditions of the area at the Forest Service website here!
Looking for another cool adventure in the area?
Umpqua Hot Springs which has now reopened (as of September 2021) is located less than five minutes drive along the same road Toketee Falls parking lot is off of. See this article from Go Wander Wild on what to expect and how to get there. Umpqua Hot Springs
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Photography exclusively by Dan Oliver unless otherwise stated and cited. Embedded maps are provided by Embed Google Map (embedgooglemap.net) and map images shown are provided as stated and cited.
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