National Creek Falls, top waterfalls in Medford, the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, Highway of waterfalls,

HIKING NATIONAL CREEK FALLS

Seeking a waterfall adventure close by to Crater Lake? Look no further than the National Creek Falls Trail, a quick detour off HWY-230 and a short hike to a 40ft waterfall - one that’s arguably the most impressive in the Upper Rogue River Basin. While not quite long enough for a full day feature, the trail to National Creek is a natural stop on your way from Medford to places like Diamond LakeCrater Lake, or even Bend.

The trail to the falls starts with a half mile descent and doesn’t let up until you reach the bottom. It weaves through a heavily forested hillside as several switchbacks. (Stick to the trails! Many hikers have abandoned the switchbacks here and have eroded the ground between them, creating stark ‘social trails’ in lieu of the main trail). About halfway you’ll swing past the top of the waterfall and get a small preview of its height if you peer down to the canyon floor. But there’s still a short way to go! 

After a couple more switchbacks, the trail quickly opens up to a scene of crashing water and mist-laden trees. If it’s a clear day and the sun is high, look for a rainbow within the mist! Enjoy the scenery, have a picnic, or even splash around a little before tackling the climb back to your car. Check out the rockpile to the left of the falls for an ‘in your face view’ of the water - but be careful! The wet rocks get slippery.

For more waterfall adventures nearby, check out Pearsony FallsTakelma Gorge, or Mill Creek Falls among many others. The options for scenic water along the Upper Rogue River are endless.

National Creek Falls

Difficulty: Easy - Moderate

Average Distance: 1 mile out-and-back

Elevation Gain: 160 feet

Parking: Free, but fills up quickly on weekends

Restrooms: None, plan accordingly

Optimal Season: April - October

Day hiking, photography, dogs allowed with leash. Watch out for ticks and poison oak in spring and summer. Trails may become muddy, snowy or icy in the colder months. Watch out for poison oak, mosquitoes and some steep ledges.

National Creek Falls, top waterfalls in Medford, the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, Highway of waterfalls,

From Medford, take Crater Lake Highway (OR-62) east toward Crater Lake for approximately 55 miles. Continue on a slight left onto OR-230 N, past the turn off to Crater Lake National Park for approximately 6 miles to NF- 6530. There will be a sign. Turn right and follow the road for 3.8 miles to the trailhead. Please note in the spring months this road may likely be blocked by downed trees. Proceed with caution. Generally by late spring the forest service has cleared the road. But be advised in the winter and early spring months the road may be impassible.

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