Smith River Falls

On a blustery rainy Oregon fall day while out hunting for deer we came across a small campground and a waterfall on the Smith river. Since the Deer were being as elusive as ever we stopped and took some pictures (I say we but really my wife took all the pics) of this beautiful waterfall right off the road. There is a fish ladder right next to the waterfalls that allow for some salmon and steelhead watching in the fall and winter


Since we took the long way to the falls I will give easier directions to the river.

From Eugene,

  1. Take Hwy 126 to Crow Road (at Shell Station just outside of town).
  2. Take Crow Road to Smith River Road.
  3. Follow the road until you get to the campground (a little over 40 miles)

From highway 101 by Reedsport,

  1. On HWY 101, 0.7 miles north of junction with HWY 38 in Reedsport (Hwy 101, MP 210.7),
    turn east on Lower Smith River Road (aka Douglas County Road #48).
  2. Note your odometer reading or reset your trip odometer.
  3. At 13.5 miles the road will lose its center stripe – county maintenance ends.
    Road is paved all the way to the falls, though.
  4. When the total distance counts up to 26 miles the waterfall will be on the right side of the road.

There are 10 sites at the campground that are free to stay in. I have never seen them full, but I usually only drive that way in the fall when it is cold and wet outside. There is no garbage service at the campground so please pack out anything that you bring in. The falls are about a mile farther down the road with a sign pointing out where to stop.

I have never personally fished for salmon or steelhead on this river, but I know people that say it has a great run of both. This may be the year for me to try for a steelhead or a Chinook in this river. Wild Coho salmon have to be released unharmed if they happen to be caught. For more on Oregon Fishing the Fishing in Oregon book is a great resource

Several great books for the local areas

Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Day Hiking Bend & Central Oregon: Mount Jefferson/ Sisters/ Cascade Lakes

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades

100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range

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4 thoughts on “Smith River Falls

  1. Eddie

    I live on the smith & your missing out on some great fishing. Now is the time to hit this river. Try bouncing egg or herring off bottom just bellow the store. some 40-50# class A Studz holding in there right now k. Good luck & keep on fishin. !!!


  2. phi

    I grew up in Tyee on the main Umpqua and after 70 years, I’ve never explored the Smith River area. Want to do that this summer.


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