Salt Creek Falls in Autumn
Middle Fork Willamette River, Oregon
This beautiful waterfall is located 5 miles west of Willamette Pass in the Willamette National Forest and 23 miles southeast of Oakridge,Oregon. This stunning Horsetail waterfall cascades 286 feet into a deep canyon, making it the third largest single drop waterfall in Oregon behind Multnomah Falls and Watson Falls. The falls are named after its eponymous creek which is named after a group of salt laden springs located downstream from the falls. This elegant waterfall has an attractive parking area interpretive kiosk and trails that depart from near the parking area. One of the Trails is a 3 mile loop with elevated views of Salt Creek and Diamond Creek as well as separate spur trails that visit the intriguingly named “Too Much Bear Lake” as well as the breath-taking Upper Diamond Creek Falls
The dizzying vertical drop of Salt Creek and the elegant vail-shaped Diamond Creek Falls make for one of Oregon’s best combo waterfall hikes. Be forewarned that the side spur to Diamond Creek is somewhat steep and requires some scrambling but it is entirely worth the additional effort for those who are physically capable.
I’ve been to this wonderful waterfall many times during trips between Bend and Eugene. It is beautiful any time of year but especially so in autumn. The climate on the west side of Willamette Pass is conducive to the growth of vine maples which offer some of the most vibrant fall color of any trees in Oregon. Fine art landscape photography is much like comedy in that they both require excellent timing. A few days earlier or later and the vine maples on the left side of this lovely photo would have been much less attractive. Even slight winds would have made the vine maple a blurry mess, detracting from the beauty of the scene. Was I Lucky? If this had been my first time to the falls in autumn specifically for the purpose of landscape photography, then, yes, I’d call this nature photo… lucky. But, I’ve been to Salt Creek countless times in autumn, with the hope of capturing this exact scene at the peak of fall color on a windless day. When preparation and determination intersect, I call it resilience.