If you’re from Oregon, the word “Tillamook” is probably synonymous with “cheese” in your mind. But how about “trees” instead? I’m talking about the Tillamook State Forest, which is a great place to see some of the state’s most impressive waterfalls...without a crowd hovering around.
If this sounds like a dream come true, try the University Falls Loop hike. A neat six miles in total to hike, this trail is only about an hour from Portland. Find the prize – University Falls – nestled deep in the Forest. It’s a real stunner, with water pouring 80 feet down off a basalt rock that’s roughly 15 million years old. Although it’s tempting to visit the falls in the summer season, note that the falls are most impressive when powered by Oregon rains.
The hike up is also lovely, with red alders, Oregon wood sorrel, Douglas fir, hemlock, cedar, alder, salal, and red huckleberry…there’s no end to the woodland foliage delights. But if you’re just out to see the waterfall, you might want to take the much shorter University Falls hike, which is a 0.7 mile there-and-back trail.
Before heading out, know that the trail shares the same sections of the forest as noisy off-road vehicles and target shooters. The hiking trails are not used for these purposes, and once high enough, the disruptive sounds fade.
Directions from Portland:
- Follow U.S. 26 west and then take OR 6 west for 19 miles.
- Turn left at the Rogers Camp Trailhead and Browns Camp.
- Make another left onto a gravel road for the Rogers Camp parking lot. The trailhead is marked.