The Umpqua National Forest is on the western side of the Cascade Mountains and one of our favorite places in Oregon. This part of the Oregon Cascade Mountains is known as “Oregon’s Emerald-Jewel Gateway” to Crater Lake National Park. You can visit throughout the year but driving to some of the spots will be harder during the winter months. The best time to visit is in the spring when the snow has melted but it’s not crowded with people on summer vacation. To learn more about the history of the area, I use Native Land when traveling. In this blog post I will cover where to stay and what to do if you have a few days to spend in the area.
Umpqua’s Last Resort
We can’t say enough great things about this place! The hosts were so nice and had great recommendations. It’s located right off of the North Umpqua Highway in the middle of the Umpqua National Forest along the North Umpqua River. They have Cabins, canvas tents, a tiny house, campers, RV spots and tent camping spots ranging from $30.00 a night to $120.00 a night. They also have monthly RV rental spots available.
We stayed in the King Cabin that has a small, covered porch with beautiful views, a private fire pit, BBQ and picnic table. A short walk from the North Umpqua River and trails that lead to a stream and little waterfall. There is a king-sized bed on the main level and a ladder that leads to a loft with a double bed. There is a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and water dispenser on the main level. It’s a short walk from shared bathrooms and showers. We brought a cooler with food from home and cooked on the BBQ and over the fire because there are no grocery stores nearby.
Umpqua Hot Springs
The Umpqua Hot Springs are just 16 miles away from Umpqua’s Last Resort at the end of Umpqua Hot Springs Trail #1444. There is a $5.00 day use fee. These hot springs are some of the warmest in Oregon, getting up to 115°F (46.1°C) degrees. The hot water cascades down the hillside with the hottest pool at the top getting cooler and cooler as it goes. From the largest pool you can see Surprise Falls across the river. These hot springs are heavily trafficked, so if you’re visiting during the summer peak season, arrive as early as possible, ideally on a weekday morning. During the summer months you can drive straight to the trailhead and hike in just 0.3 miles, but when it is snowy and icy, they close the road further down so that cars don’t get stuck. When the rough part of the road is closed you can walk up to the trailhead adding about 2 miles to the hike. As at most hot springs, nudity is common. Umpqua Hot Springs is no exception as it’s a popular site that attracts naturists.
North Umpqua Trail
The North Umpqua Trail is divided into 11 different segments of varying lengths and difficulties.
- Tioga: Length: 14.3 miles, Difficulty: Hard, Elevation Gain: 2742 feet
- Mott: Length: 5.2 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 472 feet
- Panther: Length: 4.5 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 843 feet
- Calf: Length: 3.7 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 708 feet
- Marsters: Length: 4 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 757 feet
- Jessie Wright: Length: 4.8 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 685 feet
- Deer Leap: Length: 8.4 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 1909 feet
- Hot Springs: Length: 3.3 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 754 feet
- Dread and Terror: Length: 12 miles, Difficulty: Hard, Elevation Gain: 2837 feet
- Lemolo: Length: 9.4 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 1200 feet
- Maidu: Length: 20 miles, Difficulty: Moderate, Elevation Gain: 2086 feet
There are three must see waterfalls that are all within a 10-minute drive from Umpqua’s Last Resort:
- Watson Falls is a spectacular 272-foot waterfall on Watson Creek located at the end of a heavily trafficked 0.8-mile loop trail. The trail is considered moderate and takes about 35 minutes to get up to the waterfall.
- Toketee Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen and the most famous in Oregon. An easy 0.9-mile out-and-back trail that is heavily trafficked year-round.
- Grotto falls is a 100-foot waterfall that you can walk behind! The roads are pretty rough to get to the trailhead but once you are there it’s an easy 0.5-mile out-and-back trail. I recommend checking the latest reviews on All Trail to see what the road conditions are looking like.
There are so many other beautiful waterfalls in the area that are lesser known. Click these links to see the brochures including maps for each area: