Fall Creek Trail In Oregon

Here is everything you need to know about the Fall Creek Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Oregon
  • Length: 13.7 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: gravel
  • Managed By: Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://tnstateparks.com/parks/fall-creek-falls

The Fall Creek Trail, located in the beautiful state of Oregon, holds a rich historical significance that dates back several centuries. The trail follows the path of Fall Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River, and has been an integral part of the region’s history since the early 1800s. Originally used by Native American tribes for hunting and gathering, the trail later became a vital transportation route for early settlers and pioneers.

In the mid-1800s, as Oregon experienced a surge in population due to the Oregon Trail migration, the Fall Creek Trail played a crucial role in connecting the Willamette Valley to the Cascade Mountains. Settlers used the trail to access the abundant natural resources of the area, including timber, fish, and game. The trail also served as a link between various communities, facilitating trade and commerce.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Fall Creek Trail witnessed significant development as logging operations expanded in the region. The trail became a lifeline for the timber industry, allowing loggers to transport their harvest from the remote forests to mills and markets. The construction of logging roads and bridges along the trail further facilitated the extraction of timber, contributing to the economic growth of the area.

In recent years, the Fall Creek Trail has undergone restoration and preservation efforts to maintain its historical significance and natural beauty. Today, it serves as a popular recreational trail, attracting hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts who wish to explore the area’s rich history and enjoy the stunning landscapes that have remained largely unchanged for centuries. The Fall Creek Trail stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Oregon’s early settlers and the vital role that trails played in shaping the region’s history.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Fall Creek Trailhead: This is the main access point for the Fall Creek Trail, located at the end of Fall Creek Road in Felton, California. It provides parking facilities and is the starting point for the trail.

2. Big Ben Trailhead: Located about 1.5 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead, this access point offers an alternative starting point for the trail. It can be reached by following the Fall Creek Trail from the main trailhead.

3. Barrel Mill Site: This historic site along the Fall Creek Trail is another access point. It is located about 2.5 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead and offers a glimpse into the area’s logging history.

4. Lime Kilns: Around 4 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead, the Lime Kilns are another access point along the trail. These kilns were used in the past to produce lime for construction purposes.

5. Lost Empire Trailhead: Located approximately 5 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead, this access point marks the intersection of the Fall Creek Trail and the Lost Empire Trail. It provides an opportunity to explore a different trail system.

6. Big Ben Overlook: About 6 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead, this overlook offers stunning views of the surrounding forest and can be accessed from the Fall Creek Trail.

7. South Fork Trailhead: This access point is located around 7 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead and marks the intersection of the Fall Creek Trail and the South Fork Trail. It provides an option to continue exploring the area.

8. Last Chance Trailhead: Approximately 8 miles from the Fall Creek Trailhead, this access point is the last major trailhead along the Fall Creek Trail. It offers parking facilities and serves as a turnaround point for those not continuing on the longer loop trails.

Transportation Available

1. IndyGo Bus – Public bus service in Indianapolis, convenient for commuting and exploring the city.
2. Lime Scooters – Electric scooters available for rent, offering a fun and eco-friendly way to get around.
3. BlueIndy – Electric car-sharing service, providing convenient transportation options for short trips.
4. Yellow Cab – Traditional taxi service, offering reliable transportation with professional drivers.
5. Uber – Ride-hailing service, providing on-demand transportation with a network of drivers.
6. Lyft – Ride-hailing service, offering convenient and affordable transportation options.
7. Pacers Bikeshare – Bike-sharing program, allowing users to rent bicycles for short trips and leisurely rides.
8. Bird Scooters – Electric scooters available for rent, providing a convenient and efficient way to travel short distances.
9. Red Line – Rapid transit bus service, connecting various neighborhoods and attractions in Indianapolis.
10. Amtrak – Train service, offering long-distance travel options from the nearby Indianapolis Union Station.


The amenities available at the Fall Creek Trail may vary depending on the specific location and management. However, here are some common amenities that you may find:

1. Restrooms: Some trailheads or visitor centers along the Fall Creek Trail may have restroom facilities available for public use.

2. Parking: There may be designated parking areas or parking lots near the trailheads for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Depending on the trail and its regulations, there may be designated camping sites along the Fall Creek Trail where visitors can set up tents or camp overnight.

4. Picnic Areas: Some sections of the trail may have designated picnic areas with tables, benches, and sometimes even grills for visitors to enjoy outdoor meals.

5. Trailhead Facilities: At the trailheads, you may find information boards, maps, and sometimes even visitor centers where you can gather information about the trail, its rules, and any additional amenities available.

6. Interpretive Signs: Along the trail, you may come across interpretive signs that provide information about the natural and cultural features of the area, enhancing the educational experience.

7. Water Sources: Depending on the trail and its location, there may be water sources such as streams, rivers, or lakes where visitors can access water for drinking or other purposes. However, it’s always a good idea to bring your own water or purifying equipment.

8. Benches and Rest Areas: Along the trail, you may find benches or rest areas where you can take a break, relax, and enjoy the surroundings.

It’s important to note that the availability of these amenities can vary, so it’s recommended to check with the local park or trail management for specific details about the Fall Creek Trail you plan to visit.

Nearby Services

1. Fall Creek Inn – Cozy lodging option near Fall Creek Trail.
2. Creekview Restaurant – Nearby eatery offering delicious meals.
3. Fall Creek Campground – Campsite with amenities close to the trail.
4. Fall Creek Lodge – Rustic lodge providing accommodation near the trail.
5. Trailside Diner – Convenient dining spot along the Fall Creek Trail.
6. Fall Creek Emergency Clinic – Emergency medical services available in case of any mishaps.

Fall Creek Trail Difficulty Notes

The Fall Creek Trail offers a moderate difficulty level, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels. The trail spans approximately 6 miles and features a mix of flat sections, gentle inclines, and occasional steeper sections. While some parts may require a bit of effort, the trail is well-maintained and offers beautiful views of the surrounding nature, including waterfalls and lush forests. With proper footwear and preparation, hikers can enjoy a rewarding and enjoyable experience on the Fall Creek Trail.

Features And Attractions

1. Fall Creek Falls State Park: This state park is home to the stunning Fall Creek Falls, which is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. The park offers breathtaking views of the falls and surrounding natural beauty.

2. Cane Creek Falls: Located within Fall Creek Falls State Park, Cane Creek Falls is another impressive waterfall along the trail. It cascades down a series of rocky ledges, creating a picturesque scene.

3. Piney Falls: Piney Falls is a hidden gem along the Fall Creek Trail. This 80-foot waterfall is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

4. Buzzard’s Roost: This scenic overlook provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is a great spot to take in the beauty of the Fall Creek area.

5. Rockhouse Falls: Rockhouse Falls is a unique waterfall that flows through a narrow rock formation, creating a beautiful and dramatic sight. It is a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

6. Fall Creek Gorge: The Fall Creek Gorge is a deep and narrow canyon carved by the creek over thousands of years. Hiking along the trail offers stunning views of the gorge and its rugged beauty.

7. Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park: Located near the Fall Creek Trail, this park is home to an ancient Native American ceremonial site. Visitors can explore the mounds, hike along the river, and learn about the rich history of the area.

8. Lost Creek Overlook: This overlook provides breathtaking views of the Lost Creek Gorge and the surrounding forest. It is a great spot to stop and take in the natural beauty of the area.

9. Fall Creek Dam: The Fall Creek Dam is a historic landmark along the trail. Built in the early 1900s, it provides a glimpse into the area’s industrial past and offers a unique perspective on the creek.

10. Fall Creek Lake: This picturesque lake is formed by the Fall Creek Dam and offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and picnicking. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Usage Guidelines

– Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail but must yield to pedestrians.
– Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the trail.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off into restricted areas.
– Camping or overnight stays are not allowed on the trail.
– Open fires or barbecues are prohibited.
– Respect seasonal restrictions, such as closures during hunting seasons.
– Do not litter and carry out any trash or waste.
– Be mindful of other trail users and yield to slower-moving individuals.
– Follow any additional rules or guidelines posted at trailheads or along the trail.

Seasonal Information

The Fall Creek Trail is a popular hiking destination located in the beautiful Willamette National Forest in Oregon. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views of lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and serene creeks. While the trail is open year-round, there are certain times of the year that are considered the best for visiting.

One of the best times to visit the Fall Creek Trail is during the spring and early summer months, from April to June. During this time, the trail is adorned with vibrant wildflowers, and the surrounding foliage is lush and green. The weather is generally mild, making it perfect for hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, the waterfalls along the trail are at their fullest during this time, creating a mesmerizing sight and providing a soothing soundtrack to your hike.

Another great time to visit the Fall Creek Trail is in the fall, particularly during the months of September and October. As the leaves change color, the trail transforms into a picturesque landscape of reds, oranges, and yellows. The crisp autumn air adds to the charm, making it an ideal time for a peaceful hike. The trail is less crowded during this season, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

It’s important to note that there may be seasonal closures or restrictions on the Fall Creek Trail. During the winter months, from November to March, the trail can be covered in snow and ice, making it unsafe for hiking. It is advisable to check with the Willamette National Forest or local authorities for any closures or trail conditions before planning your visit. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to pack appropriate gear, such as sturdy hiking boots and warm clothing, as the weather can be unpredictable in the mountains.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trailhead: The Fall Creek Trail has a designated accessible trailhead with accessible parking spaces and a smooth, level surface for easy wheelchair access.
2. Paved Pathway: The trail features a paved pathway that is wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and provides a smooth surface for easy navigation.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at designated points along the trail, equipped with features such as grab bars and wider doorways for wheelchair users.
4. Rest Areas with Benches: The trail includes rest areas with benches at regular intervals, providing opportunities for wheelchair users to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail that are wheelchair accessible, allowing individuals to enjoy outdoor meals and gatherings.
6. Signage and Wayfinding: The trail is equipped with clear signage and wayfinding markers, ensuring that wheelchair users can easily navigate and find their way along the trail.
7. Accessible Viewing Areas: The Fall Creek Trail offers accessible viewing areas at scenic points, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife.
8. Accessible Water Fountains: Wheelchair-accessible water fountains are available along the trail, ensuring that individuals can stay hydrated during their journey.
9. Assistance Animals Allowed: The trail permits the presence of assistance animals, such as service dogs, to accompany individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Trail Maps: Wheelchair-accessible trail maps are provided at the trailhead, offering detailed information on the accessible features and points of interest along the Fall Creek Trail.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Fall Creek Trail is rated as moderate to difficult, with steep sections and uneven terrain, requiring proper hiking gear and experience.
2. Weather Awareness: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, as the trail is exposed and can be subject to sudden temperature drops, rain, or strong winds.
3. Trail Length: The trail is approximately 6 miles long, so plan accordingly and allow enough time to complete the hike.
4. Trail Markings: Follow the trail markers and signs to stay on the designated path and avoid getting lost.
5. Wildlife Encounter: Be cautious of potential encounters with wildlife, including bears, mountain lions, and snakes, and know how to react in such situations.
6. Water Availability: Carry an adequate supply of water, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
7. Sun Protection: Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, as parts of the trail are exposed with little shade.
8. Footwear: Wear sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction to navigate the rocky and uneven terrain.
9. Hiking in Groups: It is recommended to hike with a partner or in a group for safety and assistance if needed.
10. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a first aid kit, a map, a compass, and a whistle in case of emergencies or getting lost.
11. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, staying on the trail, and respecting the natural environment.
12. Trail Conditions: Check for trail conditions and closures before heading out, as the trail may be temporarily closed due to maintenance or hazardous conditions.
13. Cell Phone Reception: Be aware that cell phone reception may be limited or nonexistent along the trail, so inform someone of your plans and estimated return time.
14. Physical Fitness: Ensure you are in good physical condition before attempting the trail, as it involves uphill sections and can be physically demanding.
15. Trail Etiquette: Yield to uphill hikers, be respectful of other trail users, and maintain a safe distance from others, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conservation Notes

The Fall Creek Trail is a significant natural resource that is currently under conservation efforts to protect its unique ecosystem and biodiversity. The trail is located within a designated conservation area, and its conservation status is considered to be of high importance. The primary objective of the conservation efforts is to maintain and restore the natural habitat along the trail, ensuring the long-term survival of the various plant and animal species that call this area home.

Conservation initiatives for the Fall Creek Trail focus on preserving the native vegetation and preventing the spread of invasive species. The trail passes through diverse ecosystems, including forests, wetlands, and meadows, each supporting a wide range of plant and animal life. Efforts are being made to control the spread of non-native plants that can outcompete and displace native species, thereby disrupting the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

Additionally, the conservation status of the Fall Creek Trail involves protecting the wildlife that inhabits the area. The trail provides a vital corridor for many species, allowing them to move freely between different habitats and ensuring genetic diversity. Conservation efforts include monitoring and managing the populations of various animal species, such as migratory birds, amphibians, and mammals, to ensure their long-term survival and prevent any decline in their numbers.

Overall, the conservation status of the Fall Creek Trail is actively managed to preserve its unique natural features, protect biodiversity, and maintain the ecological integrity of the area. Through ongoing efforts, the trail continues to serve as a valuable resource for both recreational activities and scientific research, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of its ecosystems.

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