Here’s a waterfall that seldom makes the ‘must-visit’ lists, but is worth seeing nonetheless. This is a great, off-trail hike if you’re in the Southern Oregon Cascades. It’s also a beautiful place to pause in the woods by an underappreciated water feature if you need some meditative quite in the woods.
Seldom Creek Falls is just enough out of the way that few hikers bother to make it out in that direction. It’s also a seasonal waterfall, formed by snow melt from the Great Meadow off Highway 140, so you have to catch the water show at just the right time. Not to mention, it’s hard to find directions to it – even comprehensive waterfall guides allow this slippery cascade to avoid being mentioned in print.
But that’s a shame, because Seldom Creek Falls is an undervalued gem that’s worth the hike out to see. It’s not as dramatic or as tall as many Oregon waterfalls, but if you’re looking for an offbeat hike without crowds, this hike was made for you.
Come prepared with supplies and a GPS, because there’s no official trail to Seldom Falls. Most who travel this area park between Highway 140 and Dead Indian Road, then hike southeast into the forest at any point. It’s a short, but steep, downhill trek to Seldom Creek, which you can then follow bankside to the falls. You’ll know the falls when you see them, cascading down a tumble of blocky rocks.
Be sure to come in the middle of spring to catch the best of the falls. Mountain snow melt powers the creeks in the area once the great meadow at Lake of the Woods fills with water and overflows. Strong and cold flows of water pour down the rocky hillside, sliding into worn groves and creating small waterfalls. In one place Seldom Creek is divides into two cataracts, then recombines in a small gorge of lava rock – this is Seldom Creek Falls.
As always when hiking in remote area without maintained trails, take extra safety precautions and prepare for unexpected events.
-- Take I-5 to exit 33 toward Central Point
-- Turn left onto E Pine St.
-- After 0.7 miles, turn Left onto Hamrick Rd.
-- Continue onto W Vilas Rd. and travel 1.7 miles
-- Turn left onto OR-62 E; travel 2.4 miles
-- Turn right on OR-140 E
-- Travel for 37.9 miles and turn off Falls Hwy onto Dead Indian Memorial Rd.
-- Take a quick left on NF-3600
-- Park on the roadside by the turn for NF-3610
-- Follow NF-3610 to the falls (GPS coordinates: 42.39715, -122.18207)