“Toketee Falls”, North Umpqua River, Oregon
Toketee Falls, at 115 feet tall is far from Oregon’s tallest waterfall but is arguably one of Oregon’s most scenic. Tallest waterfall honors go to The Columbia River Gorge’s iconic Multnomah Falls. For Toketee Falls, its drama lies in its rock. To be more precise, wonderful columns of basalt rock which form the base of Toketee Falls. Toketee’s basalt is almost improbably perfect. Intricate, almost symmetrical detail offer a dramatic palate upon which the waterfall is painted. Toketee is composed of two distinct drops, both of which are visible in my new Toketee Falls photo. The first drop is approximately 25 feet high and is partially obscured in my image you see above. The second, larger drop is about 85 feet. The combination makes for a wonderful composition but, once again, Toketee is all about the rocks….. and the details. “Toketee” is the Chinook word for “graceful”, which I like to think is a reference to the long, elegant basalt columns flanking the waterfall and accented by hanging gardens composed of cedar and Douglas Fir trees growing from the vertical basalt face, reminiscent of the hanging gardens of Babylon. It is simply stunning! Oregon is blessed with many waterfalls adorned by dramatic basalt columns. Some of my favorites are, Abiqua Falls, near Silverton, Oregon’s tallest waterfall, Multnomah Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge and the elegantly layered Proxy Falls, located west of Mckenzie Pass.
Toketee Falls Driving Directions
Driving directions to Toketee Falls… from Bend, Oregon.
- Head south on highway 97 for approximately 75 miles
- turn right on OR 138 West and continue for 42 miles
- You will pass turn-offs for Crater lake National Park and Diamond Lake before turning right on National Forest RD 34
- continue about a 1/3 of a mile, cross a bridge over the North Umpqua River, and turn left towards the trail head, which should be well signed.
- The trails head kiosk offers some helpful information and there is a stinky yet functional forest service toilet adjacent to the parking area.
Toketee Falls, the Hike!
Starting at the parking lot, you will certainly note a curious site…. a 12 foot diameter wooden irrigation pipe paralleling the parking area and spraying cold water in an attractive but forbidding pattern. The pipe is used to divert water for power generation purposes.
The trail head is obvious and stays relatively level for approximately ..5 miles before arriving at the falls viewpoint. The hike itself is very attractive. Old growth cedars and firs and accented by mossy and ferns, giving a very tropical feel. The trail is NOT handicap accessible but is easy for healthy hikers. There are several pull-outs in the trail which offer dramatic views of the rain, daiquiri tinted North Umpqua and some dramatic rock formations. Prior to arrival at the official Toketee Falls viewpoint, hikers will hear the roar of the falls and catch glimpses of the river canyon downstream. Clear views of the falls are reserved until arrival at the tree-house like viewpoint. The scene is stunning for for some intrepid and perhaps foolish explorers, the view is too distant. There is an unofficial trail which scales down an almost vertical slope all the way to the base of the the falls and its impressive basalt amphitheater. This unofficial trail is NOT for everyone. It is especially not for anyone without good life insurance! For most, enjoying Toketee Falls photos from landscape photographers such as myself , the most logical way to enjoy a different perspective!
Toketee Falls, the Fine Art Print!
To capture my fine art print of Toketee Falls, I did make the dubious scramble down to the base of the falls, which carrying 45 lbs of large format camera gear. It was scary but worth the effort to be able to share the intricate details of Toketee Falls, its exquisite basalt columns and its hanging gardens. The details in my prints of Toketee Falls is simply exceptional. Visit here to read more about my fine art prints and my large format film camera and gear. To Purchase this beautiful print of Toketee Falls, follow this link, Toketee Falls fine Art print.