Umpqua National Forest is a less visited, but beautiful national forest in southwest Oregon. It has gorgeous waterfalls and fantastic nature to enjoy, and its super close to Crater Lake National Park.
I had heard of Toketee Falls in Umpqua National Forest, but was super surprised by some of the other easily accessible waterfalls in the national forest.
Umpqua National Forest is totally worth a visit, with some many amazing places and lack of crowds, it is truly a gem of a national forest. Read further to find my list of 9 must-see places in Umpqua National Forest.
About Umpqua National Forest
Umpqua National Forest was designated as a national forest in the early 20th century. Native Americans resided in the area for centuries. The word “Umpqua” means “across the waters” or “thundering waters.” Some parts of the national forest are designated as wilderness areas.
Many wildfires have affected the Umpqua National Forest over the years. You will likely see damage from previous wildfires, especially if visiting the northwest side of the national forest, close to Roseburg.
Where to Stay
National Forest Campgrounds
There are a ton of National Forest Campground in the Umpqua National Forest all throughout the area. We personally stayed at the Union Creek Campground along the Rogue River, but there are so many different ones depending on what part of the forest you will be visiting.
To find national forest and national park campgrounds, visit Recreation.gov.
Diamond Lake Resort
Diamond Lake Resort is located in Umpqua National Forest along the northern part of Diamond Lake and is really close to the northern border of Crater Lake National Park. They have various lodging options including cabins and motel rooms.
We stayed in a Diamond Lake Resort Motel Room and were pleased! It was steps away from the lake shore and marina.
Crater Lake National Park Lodges
Since Umpqua National Forest is so close to Crater Lake National Park, staying at Crater Lake is another option on your trip to the national forest. Crater Lake has a gorgeous lodge, cabins, and a campground. The main lodge is pricey, but is located right along the rim of Crater Lake, which is super unique.
For more information on current offerings, check out the Crater Lake Hospitality website.
The 9 Must-See Places in Umpqua National Forest
Susan Creek Falls
Susan Creek Falls is an unexpectedly cute waterfall at the end of a little trail that goes through part of the national forest that has suffered wildfires, most recently in 2020. The trail is 1.5 miles roundtrip and is overall pretty flat.
Despite the blackened and trees and fire damage, you can see the start of revitalization of the areas with wildflowers growing all along the trail. At the end of the trail, you will see the waterfall. There is a single picnic table left near the waterfall.
Fall Creek Falls
Fall Creek Falls is a two tier waterfall that is 1.1 miles round trip to reach. The trail to the bottom of the falls follows a small canyon and weaves through and around unique rock formations. The area of Fall Creek Falls was also affected by the 2020 wildfires, causing most of the trees to be blackened and downed along the trail.
The trail leads to the bottom of the falls, which is shallow and great for cooling down in the summer. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue on the trail up the canyon wall to get a better view of the upper tier of the falls.
Toketee Falls is the most popular waterfall in the Umpqua National Forest by far. I originally planned my trip to the area because of Toketee Falls (but am so happy to have found so many other amazing waterfalls while planning and visiting).
To see Toketee Falls, it is a 0.9 roundtrip hike. There are many stairs, but the trail is well-groomed and upkept. At the end of the trail there is a wooden viewing platform of the falls. It is best to visit the falls closer to the end of the days when the sunlight is shining the canyon on the falls.
Note: Some classic pictures you may see of the falls feature views from the bottom of the falls. The only way to do this is go off trail on a dangerous scramble. I do NOT recommend this as, not only you are leaving a trace, but many people have been injured and killed by falling trying to get to the bottom of the falls.
Umpqua Hot Springs
Umpqua Hot Springs is located a little over 4 miles up a side road off of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Highway. To park at the trailhead, you will need $5 cash (or an America the Beautiful annual pass).
The hike to the hot springs is 0.8 miles round trip. I have been told that it can get super crowded, so if you crave a solo hot spring dip, then maybe try going on a weekday or really early morning.
Watson Falls is 293 feet tall, making it the tallest waterfall in the area and third tallest in Oregon. The trail to Watson Falls is 0.8 miles round trip. The trail weaves through a beautiful mossy forest.
At the end, you will see the falls from a wooden bridge that crosses the creek, but you can also walk up closer to the falls as well.
It is an amazing waterfall and I think the prettiest out of all of the ones on this list.
Clearwater Falls is a pretty waterfall and is one of the closest to the road. It is 0.2 miles roundtrip flat trail to visit Clearwater Falls.
It is magical, mossy waterfall that is such a quick and easy stop to make along your drive.
Lemolo Lake is located a little over 4 miles off of the main Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway. It is a beautiful lake that has many different campgrounds around the lake shore.
The lake has great views of Mt. Thielsen. It is a pretty blue color and is great for paddleboarding or kayaking. We love bringing this inflatable kayak with us on our adventures.
There are various trails starting from the Lemolo Lake area, including Lemolo Falls, a 4.8 mile trail to a gorgeous waterfall.
Diamond Lake is located really close to the edge of the Umpqua National Forest border with Crater Lake National Park. On one side of Diamond Lake there is Mt. Thielsen and on the other side is Mt. Bailey.
There are various campgrounds around Diamond Lake and also the Diamond Lake Resort (which I discuss above). You can also find a marina and gas station at Diamond Lake, which I recommend filling up your car with before leaving.
Diamond Lake is a great place for kayaking, paddleboarding, boating, hiking, or just relaxing. There are great views of Mt. Bailey from the shore and sunsets are phenomenal here.
If you are interested is some more mountainous hikes, Diamond Lake is a great starting point.
Note: At this point in the itinerary, you must decide if you will continue on the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Highway, or bypass part of the highway by driving through Crater Lake National Park. I personally recommend driving through Crater Lake National Park and meeting back up with the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Highway via Route 62 which meets back up around the Rogue River Gorge.
Rogue River Gorge
The last spot I recommend visiting in the Umpqua National Forest is the Rogue River Gorge. There is a main viewing area that has paved trails with signs explaining the area.
At the Rogue River Gorge, there is a river rushing through a gorge carved out of lava rock. Part of the river even rushes through an underground lava cave. It is a unique spot to visit.
If you’re hungry, there’s a place with amazing pies nearby called Beckie’s Café. They have phenomenal pie, particularly the pecan pie a la mode was great.
Making a Road Trip through the Umpqua National Forest
The places I have mentioned are listed in order from west to east. To see all of them in order, start from Roseland, Oregon and drive east towards Crater Lake. This follows the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway from Roseland, Oregon towards Prospect, Oregon.
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I hope that this guide helps you in planning your trip to Umpqua National Forest. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Thanks for reading!