Driving back from Crater Lake National Park we decided to stop by the Umpqua National Forest. Located just 30 minutes away from Crater Lake (2hrs away from Eugene or Bend) are the gorgeous Toketee Falls and breathtaking (literally if you sit in the hottest pool) Umpqua Hot Springs which was exactly what we needed after a long weekend.
Toketee falls is one of those places that makes you feel as if you’ve entered into an enchanted forest. After traveling along a winding path you reach the falls, the water perfectly gentle while at the same instant forceful as it plunges down 113 feet into a basin with a wide decorative columnar basalt formation shaping the two-tiered falls leaving you feeling awestruck. It’s name Toketee is actually a Chinook word meaning Graceful.
Finding the Toketee Falls trailhead is quite easy. Located 1/2 mile north of Highway 138 near Toketee Lake there are many signs that point the way. Arriving at the trailhead we started our short 1/3 of a mile hike to the graceful waterfall. The trail led us to an observatory deck from which we could see the waterfall.
The trail ends there for many, but for others it’s only the beginning. There in the fence is a hole which every other adventurous person has pushed the limits to get to the waterfall up close. The trail is very steep and has a rope for you to hold on to. Moral of the story don’t attempt this with kids, a bad knee, or bad shoes. It might end bad if you do. It was pretty early in the day and we were the only ones there which one would think is a perfect moment to crawl through the fence, but we didn’t. With my sprained knee that has been bothering me all summer long, I didn’t want to risk it and prolong the healing process. Taking a few pictures and taking it the sights, we headed back to our car for Umpqua Hot Springs.
Driving further along the same road from Toketee Falls brings you to another great stopping spot, the Umpqua Hot Springs. The trail is a brief but steep climb of 0.3 miles to the springs. We grabbed our swimming stuff and our 40oz Takeya water bottle to stay hydrated. Along the hike we passed an old outhouse (very stinky) and arrived at the hewn out from mineral deposits pools of spring water.
Umpqua Hot Springs is made up of a multiplicity of pools, with various tempurature ranges. The original pool is covered with an open air shelter, while the rest and newer ones are open to the elements. The uppermost pool is closest to the source, and unbearably hot, while the lowest ones on the hill are lukewarm at best, however, between the six available you’ll definately find the one that suits you. For the especially adventurous venture down along a steep trail to the river for a bonus hot spring and a dip into the cold water.
The use of these hot springs is very high and nudity is common. We believed since we were coming early on a Sunday it would allow us to find the place nearly empty. Our discovery, however, was that there were already some free spirited people when we arrived. We got our own little pool and enjoyed the warm water and the beautiful view onto the river below. It was a hot day, so we didn’t stay too long in the water. We hiked back and headed back to our home sweet home.
The Umpqua National Forest is big and beautiful. It has many other falls, campgrounds, hikes and lakes. It’s a place worth checking out and making a trip to.