In a state filled with spectacular waterfall hikes, Sweet Creek might struggle to crack the top ten. Oregon is, after all, home to places like Multnomah Falls, Silver Falls, Eagle Creek, Kentucky Falls, and the McKenzie River.
But those who make time to visit Oregon’s Coast Range waterfall paradise shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore the Sweet Creek Falls Trail, a short hike featuring several small waterfalls that don’t disappoint.
Sweet Creek is in the Siuslaw National Forest in the southern part of the Coast Range just east of Florence off Oregon 126. Unlike many Coast Range trails, the Sweet Creek Falls Trail is relatively easy to find and has four trailheads that service the approximately 2.5 mile trail.
The best way to hike the trail is to focus on the first mile, starting at the first trailhead you come to, the Homestead Trailhead (incorrectly labeled “Sweet Creek Falls Trailhead” on Google Maps). This is where you’ll find restrooms, parking, and access to the majority of the so-called 11 waterfalls on the trail (some may be more recognizable as “waterfalls” than others). This section of the trail ends at Sweet Creek Falls, the main attraction, after which hikers must ford the creek – which is too dangerous to attempt when the water is high in winter – or turn around and drive to the other starting points further down the road.
This little adventure, a moderately easy 2.2 mile round trip hike from the Homestead trailhead to Sweet Creek Falls, is a great little trip into the Coast Range.
Following just beside Sweet Creek the entire way, the trail skirts dirt roads and metal walkways, crossing rocky outlets and occasionally climbing a hill. During the rainy season, the creek swells with thunderous force, completely flooding some of the smaller waterfalls, while making an incredible spectacle of the larger falls: Homestead Falls, Annice Falls, Elk Wallow Falls, and Sweet Creek Falls itself.
Sweet Creek Falls, the main attraction, can be seen from a lower vantage point on the banks of Sweet Creek as well as from an upper vantage point nestled in the cliffs. The upper vantage point is definitely worth a visit: a rocky, fenced-in area plunges you into the upper roar of the waterfall – a great experience that crowns the adventure.
HIKE TO SWEET CREEK FALLS
Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: moderately easy
Approvals: parking, restrooms at Homestead Trailhead
This hike is rated “moderately easy” for some challenging stretches over rocky sections of the trail.
To reach the Homestead Trailhead from Florence, take Oregon Route 126 for 14.5 miles, then turn right on Sweet Creek Road, just after crossing the Siuslaw River in Mapleton. Continue 10.3 miles and look for the trailhead on the right.
Hike the trail to Sweet Creek Falls, ignoring the only crossroads that leads to the Sweet Creek Falls trailhead.
Follow the signs at Sweet Creek Falls to the upper viewpoint, and once you have a good look, turn around and head back on your way.