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Upper Kentucky Falls

Upper Kentucky Falls

SOUTH COAST — The next South Coast Striders hike will be to Kentucky Falls and the North Fork Smith River on Saturday, June 30.

There will be long and short options for this hike. The first (short) hike is to Kentucky Falls and back. Kentucky Falls area offers views of three waterfalls two of which drop over 100 feet. This hike is 2.2 miles down to falls then 2.2 miles back on a switchback trail. It is rated moderate to difficult. Plan on 3.5 hours to complete the hike, allowing plenty of time to relax, eat lunch, enjoy the falls and then walk back up the switch back trail at your leisure.

Those who want a more challenging hike can join the long hike leaders as they continue another 6.5 miles down along the North Fork Smith River trail. The trail winds back and forth over several rustic bridges through old growth forest of Douglas fir, hemlock, western red cedar and big leaf maples. There will be a side trip to the cable suspension bridge with the group will eat lunch along the creek and soak tired feet. Bring a towel.

The long hike is rated most difficult with two stream crossings and climbing through and around downed trees and small landslides and through salmon berry. Participants should plan on 6.5 hours for the total 9 miles of hiking. The long hike will require a shuttle. Some vehicles will be dropped at the North Fork Smith River trail head and continue to the Kentucky Falls trail head.

Due to the salmon berries and the wet crossings on the long hike, long sleeve shirts, long pants, gloves, and some strap on sandals for wet crossings are required. (Note: Recently completed bridges may render the wet crossings unnecessary).

Bring lunch and water and raingear, dress in layers, and wear sturdy waterproof boots.

The group will leave the Dunes Information Center parking lot in Reedsport at 7:30 a.m., and arrive at the Kentucky Falls trail head around 9 a.m. The Information Center is on U.S. Highway 101 on the left directly opposite the turnoff for state Highway 38. Arrive at the Information Center at least 10-15 minutes prior to that to sign in and coordinate vehicles.

Suggested carpool sites and departure times:

Reedsport Visitor Center — 7:30 a.m.

Bay Area Visitor Center — 6:45 a.m.

Ray's in Bandon — 6:10 a.m.

Coquille Visitor Center — 6:10 a.m.

Battle Rock Park Visitor Center, Port Orford — 5:20 a.m.

Upcoming hikes:

Blacklock Point/Floras Lake — July 8

Cape Arago Trails — July 14

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