Back-road adventures are the very best. That is especially true for the ones that let you get a sneak peek at nature! This week’s getaway may have you thinking you’re living in a distant state. But it’s true: Oregon does indeed have it’s own Niagara Falls!

And it pays to go with someone who really knows the way – like George Buckingham of the Siuslaw National Forest.

“It’s a little more out of the way and characterized as more difficult with some steeper portions, but it’s also only a mile down and a mile out.”

Our small hiking party sported cameras in hand and each had a mission in mind as we trekked high in the coast range hills on a trail you’ve likely missed. This is a place where the wet is measured in feet not inches and we were determined to reach a namesake falls that will surprise you:

“We get a lot of questions about that and they wonder – ‘did you name it after Niagara Falls in New York?’ – No, it’s named after Niagara Creek…which is a tributary of the Nestucca River.”

If you determine to travel this way, be sure to follow USFS Trail Technician, JW Cleveland, who offered: “Watch your step! It is slick and wet and steep. So, wear proper footwear and rain gear because you never know when something could blow in.”

A foot of rain has drenched the heart of the Oregon coast range the past four weeks so the forest, the creek and the falls are wringing wet. Get here soon.

Directions: Drive Hwy 101 south from Tillamook to Beaver, Oregon. Then travel east on Blaine Road for 6 miles. At Blaine Junction travel east on Upper Nestucca River Road for 5.8 miles to Forest Service Road 8533. Go south 4.3 miles to Forest Service Road 8533-131. Turn right at the junction and travel 0.7 miles to trailhead parking.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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In this Grant’s Getaway

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Ryan Mishler says…

    For the record, you can also easily get to Niagra Falls from Carlton. Simply follow Meadow Lake Road due west out of Carlton then turn left on FS Road 8533. That way you also get to enjoy the views along the Upper Nestucca River.

    Written on March 24th, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  2. Kathleen says…

    Just hiked in to this last month and was rewarded by the falls. Trail is just straight up on the way out though so be prepared.

    Written on March 24th, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  3. Tom & Carol Yadon says…

    Thanks for bringing such beauty to those of us who are unable to hike to see the beauty in our state.

    Written on March 29th, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  4. Virginia Prowell says…

    Grant, At my age I am unable to hike so I really enjoyed this film. Niagra Falls. I live in Beaver along the Nestucca River and was unaware of these falls. I’ve know Don Best since he was a child. He and my son Dan went to school together and did a lot of mountain hiking and hunting.

    Written on April 8th, 2011 / Flag this Comment
  5. Richard says…

    Accorrding to the book I own the names of the Falls are reversed, but that is understandable as it is 50 50 as to which is correct. This is the latest info I have.

    Under a picture of the free falling falls is this comment.

    Pheasant Creek Falls is the superior attraction of the paired waterfalls at the end of the Oregon’s Niagara Falls trail. With a larger drainage area than neighboring Niagara Falls, this waterfall, hurtling 112 feet off the lip of a dark cliff of basalt makes for a nice backdrop for a picnic and even serves as a good natural shower (in the summer at least). The Siuslaw National Forest officially lists the falls at 112 feet tall, and though this is the only source I have ever seen to definitively provide a height for the falls, I have to believe its accurate simply for the randomness of the number (and it does look completely in the realm of believability).

    HISTORY AND NAMING INFORMATION

    PHEASANT CREEK FALLS is the Official name of this waterfall.
    Confusion has surrounded the naming of the waterfalls along the Niagara Falls trail. First of all, neither of the falls at the end of this trail are on Niagara Creek. Niagara Falls was named due to its proximity to Niagara Point. For the longest time it had been assumed by nearly everybody that the waterfall on Pheasant Creek was the real Niagara Falls, but the Siuslaw National Forest seems to have recently clarified the confusion, asserting that this is NOT the correct waterfall to apply the name Niagara with as is commonly thought. The falls are often referenced as Pheasant Falls or Pheasant Creek Falls, with the latter apparently being the correct form according to the Forest Service.

    Written on June 12th, 2011 / Flag this Comment

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