Goodman Creek trail

Now that the weather has changed towards spring it is time to do some more hiking adventures.  This is a new hike for us, with a bonus that it is still fairly close to Eugene, and there is a waterfall near the end of the hike. For me this is a very easy hike.  Not so much for Staci.  She didn’t yell at me at least this time. I normally do almost this much during my lunch hour at work.  Granted that is walking on pavement though. The path is nice and wide as it meanders through the forest.  The path was very muddy in spots.  As it dries out this would be a great hike to take kids on.  Not too steep and lots of wildflowers and scenic forest to explore.

interesting to see how the hike plotted out on google maps
Interesting to see how the hike plotted out on Google maps.


Goodman creek Trail: A well wooded trail that runs along side an inlet. After a brief climb, the trail crosses a few small creek beds before taking you through tall trees and fern lined views. Just short of two miles in, you will come across a small waterfall, that is very rewarding to your hike. Continue to the right just a few hundred yards to a large log bridge and Goodman Creek. Great picnic spot and turn around.

  • Distance: 4 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • Difficulty rating (in alltrails): Medium (easy must be flat only)

How to get there: Take HWY 58 off I-5, just south of Eugene. As you approach Dexter Lake, and the small town of Lowell, keep your eyes out for a turnoff between mile post 20 and 21. There is a decent size parking lot to the south side of the road. The trail head is near the road and the sign will read Hardesty Trail, with mileage for Goodman Creek Trail junction as well. After a short hike through the trees, you will come to the junction for Hardesty Mountain going to the left, and a right going to Goodman Creek Trail. The waterfall is before you get to a log bridge across the creek.

I always wonder how old these signs are when I see them.
Staci walking down the trail. We are almost to the waterfall at this point.
One of hundreds of Trillium blooming along the trail
The waterfall at the end of the our hike. The trail continues in a loop that can be walked or biked.

Salt Creek Falls

View from the viewpoint
View from the viewpoint

This easy to get to waterfall is the second highest in Oregon.  The path to see the falls is a short 256 feet from the parking lot.  But if you would enjoy a longer walk you can do a short half mile hike down to near the base of the waterfall.  The path does not go all the way to the base but if you are adventurous you can scramble down the loose slate rock to the plunge pool.  Salt Creek creates one of the most impressive waterfalls in Oregon as it hurdles 286 feet into a gaping canyon near Willamette Pass. The size of the falls isn’t terribly notable in the area, but rather the process by which the falls were formed. Glaciers scoured the valley out during the last Ice Age, then following their retreat, lava flows filled in a portion of the valley, creating the narrow canyon walls composed of columnar basalt that are now seen at the falls.

The trail to the falls is wheelchair assessable
The trail to the falls is wheelchair assessable

Salt Creek Falls was discovered by Anglos Frank S. Warner and Charles Tufti, his guide, in March of 1887. Salt Creek is named after a series of springs with a high salt content, which is often used as salt licks by wildlife. The falls were named for the creek. Though the falls are located within relatively close proximity to Eugene, this area was more or less wilderness for quite some time. The original viewpoint of the falls was from a pullout along the old Willamette Pass Road, directly across the canyon from the falls,  You can still look at the falls from that perspective, but there is nowhere to park, so you have to walk along the road from the current viewing area.  But if you want to go that way you might as well walk to the base of the falls.  Walking the highway there is dangerous due to many people not expecting to see pedestrians in the area.

Two of my travel companions.
Two of my travel companions.

Located west of Willamette Pass, just off of Highway 58. The Salt Creek Falls day use area is located 21 miles east of Oakridge, or 5 miles west of Willamette Pass. The parking lot is well signed from the main road, and eastern travelers will undoubtedly see the falls through the trees before reaching the turnoff. The first viewpoints are handicap accessible, with the trail to the base being easy, but with numerous stairs.  There is a $5 per day fee to park at the viewpoint or have a Northwest forest pass to use (currently $30 per year as of 2013)

View from the halfway mark  as you head down towards the plunge pool
View from the halfway mark as you head down towards the plunge pool
how the falls were created
How the falls were created

View looking down from the base as the creek travels through the canyon
View looking down from the base as the creek travels through the canyon