Spirit Falls Hike

After a couple longer days of hiking at Cape Kiwanda, Cascade Head, and Abiqua Falls, Spirit Falls was like a little treat. We drove straight to the trailhead and it took hardly any time to hike down to the falls. Plus, we had the place to ourselves.

The falls, so mossy and cushioned with greenery, felt like we were walking through a Disney movie, with talking forest creatures (though, we didn’t see any). We spent about an hour walking around the falls, finding the best spots to place our tripod, and trying to soak it all in before anyone else made their way down.

Our intentions were to share this outing with the sister falls nearby, Moon and Pinard Falls, but we were cut short due to too much snow :(. Keep this in mind for people visiting in March!

Directions and more information about Spirit Falls can be found below!

Getting To Spirit Falls Trailhead

  • From Portland: 3 hours
  • From Salem: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • From Eugene: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • From Bend: 3 hours
  • From Eugene, take I-5 South towards Cottage Grove, take exit 174
  • Turn left onto Row River Road, take this for 18.5 miles
  • Turn left onto NF 17 (Layng Creek Road), take this for 8.7 miles
  • NF 17 (Layng Creek Road) will come to a “T”, take a right here (road 1790)
    • Just before you take a right at this “T”, you will see a small rest area with a bathroom.
  • In just 0.1 miles on road 1790, on the right you will see a pullover and a small sign. This is the trailhead.
The pullover, where the trail starts.
Trail starts just to the left of the sign.

If you plan on seeing Spirit Falls, you could also check out Moon and Pinard Falls, which are within a few miles of each other.

  • Drive past the Spirit Falls pullover (traveling south/east) for another 0.2 miles (on road 1790). The road will fork here, and you will see a sign that says Moon Falls to the left and Pinard Falls to the right. Both take 3 miles to get to.

We would have more specific information and photos here for Moon and Pinard Falls, but when we visited this area in late March, there was too much snow to drive through (the mountain dirt roads were not plowed). We did manage to drive up both of these roads for about 1.5 miles before the snow really started to get deep. Yes, we could’ve hiked for the last 1.5 miles to get to the trailhead, but there was about 18 inches of snow, and we weren’t prepared with snowshoes!

Where we had to turn around 🙁

In hindsight, it would’ve been good to get a better sense of where the snow started in terms of elevation while we were there in late March. Spirit Falls sits at about 2,000 feet (little to no snow at the time), but Moon and Pinard Falls are closer to 3,000 feet, where it was covered in deep snow.

We had the same issue when we tried to drive to the Grotto Falls trailhead (2,800 feet). As we drove up the single lane dirt road, we didn’t notice any snow until we hit around 2,500 feet, where we had to turn around once again.

The snow can really creep up on you. Within a couple-mile span of these mountain roads, it can go from 0 inches of snow & 45 degrees to 10 inches of snow and 32 degrees. Just be prepared!

Hiking From the Trailhead to Spirit Falls

This is a very easy 0.6 mile out-and-back trail that will only take you about 10 minutes to reach the falls. There is also a nice picnic table right next to the falls!

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