Douglas County, Oregon
It’s well known that Oregon is home to many spectacular waterfalls and Toketee Falls was one of the highlights of my week-long trip to the state. At 113 feet Toketee Falls are not the tallest or grandest falls, but the vibrant colors, 2-tiered falls and unspoiled beauty combine to make Toketee Falls a very special place. Unlike the many other popular waterfalls near Portland there were no large crowds here, making it much more enjoyable.
Hiking Toketee Falls
Driving to Toketee Falls is quite easy, other than being a good distance from any big cities; about 2 hours from Eugene or Bend. Parking at the trail-head is limited to about 5-6 cars, I arrived early enough in the morning to get the last spot. The trail is easy terrain and only 1/3 of a mile to reach the waterfalls.
The first thing I noticed beginning the hike was the tall moss-covered trees that the Northwest is famous for. If you’ve never seen this person it’s even more beautiful than you’ve imagined. After crossing a small wooden bridge the trail runs along a creek, flowing with bright clear water.
It’s not the least bit strenuous to reach the end of the trail, so I had plenty of time to stop and take in the nature I was surrounded by. I don’t what it is about the sound of flowing water but it’s always so relaxing! Had I visited in the warmer summer months I would’ve taken a dip in the creek, it looked so refreshing!
Upon reaching the end of the trail you’ll see a large wooden platform that offers a great birds-eye view of Toketee Falls. With no one else around this was great place to sit and enjoy the moment looking down the falls. There’s nothing like breathing the fresh air of the outdoors.
For the less fit and adventurous the falls viewing platform is the end of the line. I couldn’t help but notice a large section of the fencing on the side of it had been bent out of place, where people were obviously climbing through. Upon further investigation there was a steep and slippery mud-filled hill to descend that would grand access to the bottom of the falls. No signs say it’s not allowed, so off I went!
The climb down was slippery and unstable due to the wet and damp soil but I made it to the bottom. I was again tempted to take a swim in the falls but the water was just too chilly. The climb back up was much easier than the descent.
Clothing Optional at Umpqua Hot Springs
Just a couple miles down the road from Toketee is one of the increasingly popular hot springs in Oregon – Umpqua Hot Springs. Arriving around noon the parking lot was already dotted with vehicles. A short walk uphill leads to the springs where the bold and free-spirited frolic in the nude.
Undeterred by the sight of strangers in their birthday suits I found a pool of my own to soak in. With outdoor temps in the 50’s the warm water felt amazing and a long refreshing soak ensued. And the view? Can’t beat it, these springs are perched atop a hill overlooking the North Umpqua River and surrounded by nothing but lush forest.
There are several different pools, the upper being the hottest at 112 degrees F; with temps decreasing in the pools the lower you go. Would you be brave enough to strip down and soak it up with a group of strangers? Toketee Falls and Umpqua certainly made for a memorable, fun day in Oregon!