Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls


Green Peak Falls
 Foggy, cold and dreary days always seem to plague the Willamette Valley during January. Don't get me wrong; I love all four seasons, but days of fog without change wear on me. Thankfully sunshine is only a short drive away. If you're looking for a great low elevation hike close to both Corvallis and Eugene, Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls is a great place to hike. Nestled in the Oregon Coast Range amid a maze of logging roads, BLM land and private timberland lies this beautiful area. The Alsea Falls Recreation Site includes a seasonal (May11- Sept 30) campground as well as hiking and biking trails. The hiking trails all leave from either the picnic site or the campground. Our plan had been to hike from the campground to Green Peak Falls, but we ran into a little problem.

Road closed really means road closed here
 After seeing the road closed ahead signs, we figured it would be something minor that we could get around. While staring at this stream we decided to park at a turn out near the equipment and ford the stream. This ended up adding 1.6 miles round trip, which wasn't a problem. Follow the short road walk we entered the closed Alsea Falls campground.
Alsea Falls Campground Entry Road

Red Alders and Young Douglas-firs
The majority of the hike follows a well maintained path through unimpressive second growth Douglas-fir. There has been some recent logging in the area, but instead of clear-cuts it was selective logging. This was done to try and prevent the spread of root rot to other nearby trees. Shortly after passing the bridge leading to the Alsea Falls Picnic Area you will enter a much more impressive native forest.

Native forest along the Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls Trail
Sun break through native forest near Green Peak Falls
We had decided to follow the trail to Green Peak Falls first and then backtrack to Alsea Falls. The section between Alsea Falls and Green Peak Falls was definitely my favorite part of the hike because of the rushing water and impressive old growth forest that surrounded the trail. You will pass through one more relatively recent harvest area before reaching Green Peak Falls.
 
Green Peak Falls
 Peak Creek just below Green Peak Falls
This area struck me as somewhere that a lot of people would be swimming if it was summer. I doubt it gets all the warm, but we all know Oregonians love their swimming holes ice cold. After standing under Green Peak Falls for a few minutes trying to soak up what little sun there was, we decided to hike back towards Alsea Falls because the sun was rapidly setting.

Alsea Falls

Alsea Falls
Alsea Falls is much more like a rock slide than a sheer cliff, but it's still impressive and very beautiful. After walking around below the falls to scout out what looked to be an awesome swimming hole we decided to make our way back to the truck. The walk back along South Fork Alsea River as the sun faded was a great end to a beautiful hike.
Red alder line South Fork Alsea River

Shoes of choice: Vibram FiveFingers Classic
Directions from Corvallis: Follow Highway 34 for 23.6 miles, turn left onto Alsea-Deadwood Highway, follow for 1 mile, turn left onto South Fork Road, follow for 8 miles. Trailhead is well marked on the left.

Trailhead Elevation: Approximately 850 feet

Hike Distance: 5.8 miles according to Garmin Oregon 550

Hike Type: Out and Back 

Elevation Gain: Less than 200 feet

Usage:
Light in winter, summer weekends can be busy. 

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Fees: Free during winter $5 day use fee when the campground is open.







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