Wildwood Falls is the closest and one of the best waterfalls outside of Cottage Grove. There is no hike involved, but the location is perfect for swimming, cliff jumping, wading, and sunbathing. It is a popular spot with the locals, so be prepared to share your experience with a bunch of strangers. The river is wide enough, though, to easily accommodate everyone so it doesn’t feel crowded.
The river can be accessed both above and below the falls. (As always, please be careful if crossing the river above the waterfall. People have died at this waterfall.) Thankfully, my husband made it across safely while carrying our son on his back. They then waded across the river below the falls, and my husband swam back to a little chasm (the black spot on the left of the picture) to climb back out on shore – still with our son on his back.
I had been stung or bitten on my leg by an unseen bug just before our visit, so I sat on a log in the shallow part of the river and enjoyed a quiet moment in the beautiful afternoon. I had a hard time finding a way down to the river, though. The spot I found was so steep that my dog couldn’t jump back up; I had to hoist her up before scrambling out myself. I wondered if parking on the other side of the river might provide better access. If you find out, let me know!
My rating: Highly recommended (3 stars)
(Waterfall – 3 stars, Trail – n/a, Experience – 4 stars)
Distance from Beaverton: Almost two and a half hours drive south
Nearest town: Culp Creek
Nearest city: Eugene
Length of round-trip hike: None
Best season to visit: Summer
Things to know: A $3 fee is required; however, I couldn’t find any spot to pay when we visited.
Toilet / Amenities: Toilets and picnic tables.
How to get there:
- Exit Interstate 5 at Cottage Grove (Exit 174) and drive east on Row River Road for approximately 17.5 miles.
- Turn left onto a road with the marker “Wildwood Falls Park.”
- In less than a mile Wildwood Falls is on the right – park on the wide spots to the right.
- OR, travel a half mile further east on Row River Road and turn left at milepost 17.2 for LaSells Stewart Park. Be careful as you make the left turn because you will be driving over a paved walking/riding path. Row River is a short walk from the parking lot.