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.
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.