Hello, internet people! Tim here with a blog about waterfalls. Oregon is lousy with them, and most of them are great. These three are amazing. We live right next door to the Umpqua National Forest and that provides us with a quick getaway to places like this. Layng Creek Road is one of my favorites. There are three rather spectacular waterfalls within 4 miles of each other up there and its a great place to visit. Each waterfall is a quick hike of about a half a mile, though it is up and down hills and the trails can be mildly tricky in spots. Our three year old has successfully navigated all of these so if you happen to have a mild mannered toddler these could be fun hikes. Without children you could easily make a day of it and see all three waterfalls in a three or four hour jaunt. From Eugene I would say it's about an hour and fifteen minutes to the first waterfall on this list, so be prepared to make a day of it. (May I suggest breakfast at Buster's in Cottage Grove. This is a completely unpaid endorsement, I'm just a big fan of a good breakfast)
A Few Quick Notes on Travel:
The falls are all located up Layng Creek road, a forest service road that is maintained admirably by the good people at the Forest Service. It's a beautiful and pleasant drive along the creek and through the woods. That in mind, this is a forest road and it can get narrow, the potholes can be massive and in poor weather you should probably just stay home. I have traversed them all with my Nissan Sentra and have done just fine (aside from the occasional pothole scrape). There is also nowhere to get water by the falls so bring plenty, and snacks are always advised.
For directions to these falls and many more adventures see the Forest Service's recreation guide. It's a 51 page pdf with maps to a couple dozen falls and hikes in the Cottage Grove Ranger District. I printed mine out (at my old job, hehehe) and thumb through it looking for new adventures. It gives very detailed directions, far better than I could ever do, so I highly recommend looking at it. For serious, do it. I've found many a good hike in there.
Spirit falls is our cover waterfall this post. It's the easiest to get to, only a few hundred yards from where the pavement turns to gravel, just past your last chance for a bathroom. As it is the easiest to get to it is also the busiest, but at it's busiest there will be maybe five or six cars. After a half mile hike the falls clock in at 60 feet tall. There's a picnic table in the shade at the waterfall so its a great place for lunch on a hot day. All of these waterfalls are in the Layng Creek watershed so swimming is discouraged but the spray from the falls is always refreshing. Like any waterfall it will be at its fullest early in the spring, which is when these photos were taken.
From Spirit falls Moon and Pinard Falls are each 3.5 miles away. In different directions from each other. From here on out the road is unpaved and the last .3 miles to Moon Falls are on a narrow gravel road that is a little bit bumpy and mildly nerve wracking. It is little traveled but be careful out there. I don't mean to scare you off, I just don't want you to get out there and start cursing my name for sending you into the woods unprepared.
Once you get to the parking lot the falls are a half mile away and a fairly easy walk. Like many of the trails in the Umpqua forest it follows along an abandoned logging road through second growth forest before meandering down to the falls. Moon Falls clocks in at 125 feet. Pretty impressive. There's a picnic table at the trailhead and another at the falls. Don't cheat yourself, the walk to the falls is short and the view from the parking lot table is lousy.
There's also a patch of cedar trees that grow in the creek created by the falls. It's pretty nifty.
From Moon Falls you head back towards Spirit Falls and then you can pop over to Pinard. I really like Pinard Falls. I've seen many a waterfall, what with being from Oregon and all, and this is on of my favorites. It's 105 feet tall, the rock faces are massive, the pool is beautiful, and it's all a very striking experience.
That said, it's been a while since I've been there and I can't completely recall what the roads are like (which means they can't be memorably awful, right?), but I do remember the hike gets a little steep near the falls. Not too bad, but definitely a little steeper than the other trails. There's a bench by the falls but no picnic table. The viewing area is small and I did not climb down to the pool, though there is a little path for that.
This concludes our tour of the Waterfalls of Layng Creek, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read, maybe I'll see you out at the waterfalls one of these weekends!