Fall Creek National Recreation Trail
Fall Creek rambles through spectacular forests of Central Oregon. The National Recreation Trail follows the stream for 14 miles, passing deep pools, whitewater, and countless sidecreeks. Second-growth and old-growth Douglas fir tower over much of the trail, covering an understory of vine maple, bigleaf maple dogwood, and red alder. Spring brings an abundance of wildflowers to the valley. At its upper end alongside Marine Creek stands a marvelous old-growth forest, 51 acres of virgin Douglas fir mixed with western hemlock and redcedar. These ancients have stood undisturbed for 300 to 500 years!
A quick 30 miles from Eugene, the trail is a great destination for a short day hike or overnighter. It's open year round, with elevation ranging from 960 to 1,385 feet. Camping is available in the Dolly Varden and Bedrock Campgrounds or in dispersed sites along the trail and creek.
Rainbow and cutthroat trout swim in Fall Creek's flow, ready to elude an angler trying his luck. The creek's pools offer many opportunities for a refreshing dip on a hot afternoon.
Part of the pleasure in experiencing Fall Creek National Recreational Trail is the drive to the trailhead. You will begin in the picturesque Willamette River Valley, travel along Fall Creek Reservoir, and then up Fall Creek. The 14-mile trail, located approximately 30 miles southeast of Eugene, is easily accessed from Forest Road 18. To reach the lower trailhead, take Hwy. 58, 15 miles from Eugene to Lowell. Go north two miles to Unity junction and take Road 18 (Fall Creek Road) 11 miles to Dolly Varden Campground. The trailhead is located just south of Dolly Varden Campground across Fall Creek. Other trailhead access points are located on Road 1821, at Bedrock Campground, and on Road 1828. The trail terminates on Road 1833.
Side Trails and a Camp
Clark Creek Organization Camp
A short side trip will take you to the Clark Creek Organization Camp, located one mile east of Big Pool Campground. Constructed in the 1930's, Clark Creek Organization Camp contains a log picnic shelter, several rough cedar sleeping shelters, a chapel, and a ball field. Reservations are required; contact the Lowell Ranger Station for reservation information. Please respect the rights of any group occupying the site.
Clark Creek Nature Trail
Clark Creek Nature Trail is located adjacent to Clark Creek Organization Camp. This 1.1-mile nature trail features 34 interpretive stations depicting the forest ecosystem.
Clark Butte Trail
This challenging 2.2-mile trail begins off the Clark Creek Nature Trail. Traveling through old growth, second growth, and young trees, it is a low-elevation trail open year-round.
Johnny Creek Nature Trail
Johnny Creek Nature Trail, located off Road 1821, provides an excellent interpretive opportunity for the physically challanged. This .5-mile trail is paved with a wide, smooth tread, and the interpretive signs (as seen above) are designed for the visually impaired to be able to touch read. Wheelchair-accessible restroom facilities and a picnic table are available as well as a large parking area for buses.
This 5.8-mile trail joins the Fall Creek National Recreation Trail three-fourths of a mile east of Bedrock Campground. It traverses to the north through the Bedrock-Slick Creek Dispersed Nonmotorized Recreation-Timber area.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication