Watson Falls

Beautiful Watson Falls is the tallest waterfall in Southern Oregon

Watson Falls.

Dropping 293 feet, Watson Falls is the highest waterfall in Southwestern Oregon. We visited the waterfall at the end of our annual BFF camping weekend along the North Umpqua River this summer. Prior to our trip, I had seen some spectacular pictures of the near-by Toketee Falls, but I did not know much about Watson Falls and I was pleasantly surprised by what we found.

Access to the waterfall trail head is conveniently located just off Highway 138. From the parking lot, the trail climbs .4 miles through the woods. The bonus is that there are several views of the waterfall as you climb, with the trail finishing at a viewing area roughly half-way up the waterfall. The cooling spray from the falls which will occasionally mist you at this view point is a welcome treat after the climb.

Water plunges over the top of Watson Falls.

Water plunges over the top of Watson Falls.

Watson Falls isn’t actually on the North Umpqua River, but rather on Watson Creek which flows into Clearwater River just a little further downstream. Clearwater River, in turn, flows into the North Umpqua.The trail traverses along a lush ravine with the sound of Watson Creek accompanying you along the journey. With a couple different viewpoints along the way, going the full .4 miles to the upper viewpoint isn’t necessary and we observed many people turning around early. What they missed was being close the this impressive waterfall, looking into the depths of its plunge, and feeling its cool mist on their face.

Watson Falls is located just off Highway 138 at mile 60.5, between Roseburg and Diamond Lake. There are many waterfalls along the North Umpqua River, and the BLM has created a great map to guide you.

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Comments

  1. Long long ago.. OK not that long, but before I can remember (scientific for 1830-1960) Mrs. Watson was the heir and resident of the Watson ranch, perhaps paradise. Back when PP&L (electric co.) planned out the power system for the North Umpqua of dams, canals and those monster water pipes in the Toketee, Soda Springs area, this was included!
    Oh no, Oh my…
    Mrs. Watson was older and it seemed the right thing with so many folks in Oregon wanting electricity. But a local gentlemen whose name I am failing to recall at this moment, made a dream deal that was to good to be true. Mrs. Watson would be paid and receive lands just above Fall Creek Falls, which was much further down river. She’s closer to town, the waterfall and surrounding area is saved for national forest. Fall Creek Falls is also a fun walk. If you go above the Fall Creek falls you’ll find a bridge and the private forest road leading to a small residential area where Mrs. Watson relocated. What a wonderful life the Watson’s must of had on Watson Creek with the views off off the cliffs over Toketee with Diamond Peak in the north on a clear day, the water fall and the forest paradise.

  2. Oh one more note: DO NOT attempt to reach the falls from the top!!! The going is way beyond rugged. It was one of the worst scratched up crawls I ever made when I was younger and dumber to see nothing… The thicket extends the cliffs undercut. VERY DANGEROUS!
    And unacceptable to pack climbing or safety gear into. I know… total bummer…

  3. Mel McGuire says:

    Still hot here in CA. “Cool mist in the face” from a waterfall sounds sooo good!

  4. great photos!

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