Lemolo Falls is the tallest waterfall on the North Umpqua River as the entire river spills over a 165-foot cliff of columnar basalt into a mossy amphitheater below. The river is dammed up just above the falls at Lemolo Lake, which has cut the flow of the river over the falls by as much as 8 times during peak runoff times, but has the added benefit of keeping the flow over the falls consistent for much of the year. There are a couple different ways to view the falls, with one being along the Dread and Terror Segment of the North Umpqua Trail. That trail will take you along the canyon rim to a nice view of the falls from above. But if you want to get down to the base of Lemolo Falls, this trail is the one to follow.
Begin you hike from the “old” trail trailhead, also known as Lemolo Falls Trailhead #2 on Google. The trail starts out by heading down an old, decommissioned road. The trail is a pretty steady downhill trip most of the way to the falls, so remember that for the trip back up. About a half a mile from the trailhead, the trail will transition to single track and you will see a sign directing you to Lemolo Falls. You will also be able to hear the falls roaring and may be able to catch a glimpse or two of it through the trees.
As you head down this section of the “old” trail, Rhododendrons will line the canyon and can put on an impressive display in early summer. You will also come to a log a sort-of step carved into the top of it that you will have to hop over. It’s a stretch, but I believe in you. Quickly after the log, you will switch back to the right and begin the final stretch to the falls.
Soon, you will find yourself just above the North Umpqua River. The roar of Lemolo Falls will continue to go as you head forward. There is a point where you round a small corner and the falls stands before you in all her glory. This is one of Oregon’s more impressive waterfalls, not just because of the size of the drop but all the quantity of water flowing over it. Continue along the trail and you can mosey down to the river right at the base of the waterfall. Enjoy the spray on a hot day and cool off nicely, because you have almost 600 feet to climb on your way back out.
To reach the old trailhead for Lemolo Falls, head north on Birds Point Road towards Lemolo Lake off of Highway 138. This turnoff will be 13 miles north of the Crater Lake North Entrance Highway or 72 miles east of Roseburg. Follow the paved Birds Point Rd for 4.3 miles north until just about a quarter mile before reaching the Lemolo Lake Resort. Here, you will want to veer left onto the gravel Thorn Prairie Road. After just half a mile, make a right onto FS-3401. Continue down this gravel road for 1.7 miles. Then you will see a rough looking dirt road heading to the right. If you are driving a passenger car, you may want to park here. The trailhead is only a quarter mile down this road. Anything with moderate clearance should be able to get down the road fine, however.
Passes: No passes are required
Dogs: Dogs are allowed and must be on leash or under voice control at all times.
Bugs: Mosquitos can be pretty bad during the early summer months.
Open Season: The trailhead is usually accessible from early to mid May until sometime in November.