If you’re looking for someplace to see beautiful fall color this weekend, the Fall Creek area would not be a bad choice. Greg and I headed out here on Wednesday to take pictures of the foliage, and we were not disappointed. (Incidentally, this trail was mentioned as part of the blurb for the Willamette National Forest in the Fall’s Best Forests picks on the GORP web site.)
It’s about a half hour east of Eugene. Take exit 188A and take the highway east for 14 miles, turning left at the covered bridge. Follow Jasper-Lowell Road 2.8 miles through Lowell, following the signs for Fall Creek. At a four-way stop by another covered bridge, turn right on Big Fall Creek Road, going about 10 miles. You’ll see the trailhead on the right just before a bridge at the Dolly Varden Campground.
The fall color here here is really gorgeous, with some vine maples and lots of big leaf maples overhanging the creek.
Pretty early on, you cross a bridge over a really cool side creek that slides into Fall Creek over an area of smooth rock. You can’t see it very well from this side of the creek, but you could probably get a good view of it from the other side.
The road parallels the creek over there on the opposite bank. We could hear the occasional car or log truck, but traffic was pretty light. There were some spots we could see on that side that would have definite good access points for getting good views of the creek. The trick, of course, would be to find them once you’re driving along over there!
The trail follows the creek upstream for many miles, but we were pressed for time and only went 2.5 miles up, then turned around and came back. I think we stopped just short of Timber Creek. This was the last spot we took pictures from, a big mossy rock peninsula where the creek curved.
Even though we only went a few miles, we saw LOTS of beautiful fall foliage and got lots of good pictures. (See all of them here.) It was a chilly day (we read 45 degrees in the car on the way in), and it drizzled off and on, but we had a few short sun breaks too. Driving back up Interstate 5, we drove through the blackest of black rain storms as well as sunshine and blue sky. WEIRD weather day. But this one is worth braving the weather for!