It’s your vacation and you’d like to take your family somewhere nice. In these days when most of us spend the majority of our time staring at electronic screens, maybe you’d like to take the family the great outdoors.
Television and video games are wonderful, but this beautiful planet of ours has much to offer, lest we forget.
But with the great outdoors being so, well, great, it can be difficult to decide on an ultimate destination.
Why not Toketee Falls? This blog covers everything you need to know about Toketee Falls and the surrounding trails.
Photo Credit from Edge Water Inn
Getting to Know Toketee Falls and the Surrounding Trails
As its name suggest, Toketee Falls, named after the Chinook word for “graceful,” is a waterfall located in the Umpqua National Forest, which is itself located in Douglas County, Oregon. Douglas County is on the southwest portion of the state, about three and a half hours from the nearest major city, Portland.
In two different tiers, the falls are about 120 feet tall, with the upper fall being about 40 feet and the lower fall being about 80 feet.
Even though this isn’t among the tallest waterfalls in Oregon, it is certainly one of the most scenic. The Toketee Falls are surrounded by luscious greenery and a gorgeous collection of trees, such as Douglas-firs, Western red cedars, big leaf maples, and Pacific yews.
The falls are part of the North Umpqua River and flow into a large, scenic pool. It’s the perfect area to find a soft spot on the ground, put your hands on the back of your head, close your eyes and listen to the calm rushing of the waterfall.
The trail that will take you to Toketee Falls is aptly titled the Toketee Falls Trail, so there can be no confusion.
For those older visitors or anyone who isn’t in tip-top physical shape, the trail is less than a half-mile long, and includes a bench about half-way through for hikers to rest their legs. A large part of hiking is knowing your limits, according to Lifehack’s Michael Prywes. And, even the most experienced hikers might like to sit down simply to enjoy and soak in their surroundings.
The Toketee Falls area is also a popular attraction for marriage proposals, due to its immense beauty. So if you decide to make the trip, the waterfall might be the second most beautiful thing you see.
What Else is There to do in Umpqua National Forest?
Once you’ve seen Toketee Falls, you’ll probably be primed for even more outdoor adventure. You might even take your cell phone and chuck it in the river, forever swearing to live among the trees. Okay, maybe your feelings won’t be that extreme, but you won’t be ready to go home just yet.
Thankfully, Umpqua National Forest is home to more than just Toketee Falls. In fact, AAA says there’s something for “nearly every outdoor enthusiast.”
Here are a few of its most notable attractions:
1. Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway The Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway has a long name for a reason. It’s an extensive, scenic road that winds through the forest for 172 miles, touching upon its most breathtaking sites.
This is a nice change of pace from the numerous trails and perfect for older visitors who would like to explore the park, but aren’t up to the physical challenge.
You’ll be driving by the Upper Rogue, Cascade Mountains, and the North Umpqua River. You’ll also get to see the gorgeous Diamond Lake, which lives up to its name when it’s shimmering against the noon-day sun.
This road will also take you to the entrance of Crater Lake National Park, which is surrounded by fascinating rock formations.
All in all, this road will take about 8 hours to drive the entire way, but it might take you a little longer if you’re pulling over to admire the sights, which is highly recommended.
2. The Vast Wildernesses The Umpqua National Forest wouldn’t be much of a forest without a healthy amount of wilderness. Sure enough, the forest has three large areas.
One of them is Boulder Creek Wilderness, which consists of 19,886 acres. That might sound like a lot, but it’s actually the smallest of the three areas. It contains the modest Boulder Creek, which is made up of some small pools. This is also a popular area for rock climbers, as there are monoliths aplenty.
One of the other wildernesses is the Mt. Thielsen Wilderness. This area encompasses a whopping 54,914 acres and nestles up to the Cascade Mountains. The titular mountain reaches an ultimate height of 9,182 feet, which makes it quite the journey up.
Unlike some of the other areas, this area consists of many open meadows, although it certainly has its share of alpine forests, too. This area is also home to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, which cuts through the wilderness for 26 miles and provides the ideal perspective for admiring the natural wonders of the forest.
The last wilderness is the Rogue-Umpqua Divide Wilderness, which is 35,701 acres. This area has a particularly active wildlife population due to its abundant water sources and varied plant offering.
There are two major trails that will take you through this area: the Acker Divide Trail and the Cripple Camp Trail. While both of these trails will offer fantastic views, it’s best to tackle them after July, because the snow doesn’t melt until then.
3. Outdoor Recreation If walking around and admiring the beauty of the natural world isn’t exciting enough for you, Umpqua National Forest has plenty of other outdoor activities to offer. One such activity is dog sledding, which probably isn’t something you get to do every day.
Naturally, dog sledding is only available in the months where snow is available. Location-wise, it’s available in four of the forest’s districts, those being the Cottage Grove Ranger District, the Diamond Lake Ranger District, the North Umpqua Ranger District, and the Tiller Ranger District.
If dog sledding isn’t your speed, then maybe you’d like a peaceful night of camping under the stars.
The forest has 40 different campgrounds available, most of which include a table, a grate, and a living space - whether it’s for a tent or a place for a trailer.
Showers are only available at Broken Arrow and Diamond Lake campgrounds. Unfortunately, there are no electricity outlets. But, hey, it’s not an arcade. It’s camping.
Any fishing aficionado will tell you that fishing is all about location. This not only has to do with the body of water and the kinds of fish available, but also the scenery, as fishing involving a lot of sitting and looking around.
Fishing is allowed in four different districts of the forest, which includes the Cottage Grove Ranger District, the Diamond Lake Ranger District, the North Umpqua Ranger District, and the Tiller Ranger District.
While you have plenty of choices when it comes to your fishing needs, the rainbow trout at Diamond Lake are hard to pass up.
Keep These Things in Mind
When you’re having fun exploring the area, you might forget there’s actually some rules to this nature stuff. But don’t worry, because they primarily exist for your own safety, as well as the safety of the forest itself.
First of all, in the warmer months, a special substance can grow in the waters called Blue-Green Algae. If this algae gets into the body of a human being, it can cause them to get sick. If it gets in the body of dog, it can actually kill them, so watch your pets.
Anytime you go hiking or sightseeing in the wilderness, you should always do extensive research on the weather, not just of the day you’re planning to visit, but also for the days before and after. This is backed up by Active’s Jessica Sanders. It’s best to be prepared for any possible situation.
As our mutual friend, Smokey the Bear, has told us, fires remain a constant threat among forests.
Not only should you keep an eye out for fires, so that you can tell a ranger, but be wary not to start a fire yourself. This preparation includes knowing how to properly extinguish a campfire and knowing never to use fireworks in a forest. Even something small, like a cigarette, can result in catastrophic damage.
Toketee Falls is Only the Beginning
Even though Toketee Falls might be what entices you to Umpqua National Forest in Douglas County, Oregon, there’s plenty of other outdoor attractions to keep you from leaving.
After you see Toketee Falls and mosey around its many nearby trails, take a drive down the Rogue-Umpqua National Scenic Byway. Not only will you get to see more gorgeous sights, but you’ll get to rest your weary legs.
Then, once you regain your energy, explore the forest’s many wildernesses, each of which has its own unique flavor. If you’re still not satisfied, go fishing at Diamond Lake and cook up some rainbow trout at one of the nearby campgrounds.
Given the vastness of the Umpqua National Forest and its immense beauty, it’s a wonder anyone ever leaves at all.