Kentucky Falls Trail
Siuslaw National Forest
Distance: 2.2 miles one way
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Best time to go: All year, though access roads may be inaccessible in winter due to snow
About this Hike
At first the trail descends through an old-growth Douglas fir forest, and then reaches Upper Kentucky Falls after 0.8 miles. In another 1.4 miles the trail ends at an observation deck overlooking Lower Kentucky Falls, an incredible 100 foot twin falls at the confluence of the Kentucky Creek and Smith River. Here the trail meets the North Fork Smith River Trail.
About the Area
In many ways the Kentucky Falls area represents a step back in time to an earlier day in Coast Range history, a period before intense timber-harvesting reduced thousands of acres to a cutover maze of roads and clearcut-scarred hillsides. To be sure, the drive to the area is through a patchwork of privately-owned and BLM- managed lands that have been heavily logged. But the Kentucky Falls area was largely untouched by many of the early logging practices that occurred in other areas of the Siuslaw National Forest. It is, in fact, part of a 4,000-acre unroaded area – one of the largest intact forest areas in the central Coast Range.
1. From Eugene, go west on Highway 126 for 33 miles.
2. Turn left at "Whittaker Creek Recreation Area" between mile markers 26 and 27.
3. Continue for 1.6 miles, and turn right to cross a bridge onto Road 18-8-28 (there will be another sign for Whittaker Creek).
4. Continue for 1.5 miles, and then turn left onto Road 18-8-28.1 (Dunn Ridge Road).
5. Continue on this road for 7 miles until you reach a "T" shaped junction where the pavement ends, then turn left onto Road 18-8-9 (Knowles Creek Road).
6. Continue for 2.8 miles and and then veer right onto Forest Road 919.
7. Continue for 1.6 miles to a second "T" shaped junction and turn right onto Forest Road 23.
8. Continue for 2.8 miles to Kentucky Falls Trailhead.