Upper Parker and Lower Parker Falls are two of Cottage Grove’s eleven waterfalls. The trail is well marked and “moderately steep” for the first half mile. At that point, the trail splits. Lower Parker Falls is found 300 feet further to the right, and Upper Parker Falls is found another quarter mile to the left – and up. That last quarter mile is steep, no “moderately” about it!
The trail ends at the top of the upper falls, and unfortunately there aren’t any great spots on the trail from which to take a picture. There are a lot of downed trees across the creek above the falls, so we were able to sit and catch our breath after the climb.
The lower falls, however, offer multiple opportunities for exploration and photographs. We visited at the end of summer, so the creek was running at low volume. I’ve seen pictures of it in winter that show it to be much fuller and more impressive, but visiting in summer allowed us to get close and scramble all around – which we love.
My rating: Worth the effort (2 stars) for Lower Parker and Low priority (1 star) for Upper Parker
(Lower Parker: Waterfall – 2 stars, Trail – 2 stars, Experience – 4 stars; Upper Parker: Waterfall – 1 star, Trail – 2 stars, Experience – 2 stars)
Distance from Beaverton: Almost two and a half hours drive south
Nearest town: Culp Creek
Nearest city: Eugene
Length of round-trip hike: 1.6 miles
Best season to visit: Avoid visiting in late summer since the creek will be low. However, that is when we visited, and we still had a good time.
Consider combining this trip with: Trestle Creek Falls, Upper Trestle Creek Falls, or Evergreen Falls. Cottage Grove is the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World;” information about tours can be found here.
Toilet / Amenities: None.
How to get there:
- Exit Interstate 5 at Cottage Grove (Exit 174) and drive east on Row River Road for approximately 19.5 miles to Brice Creek Road # 22.
- Follow Brice Creek Road for 10.8 miles to the fourth bridge across Brice Creek, where the trailhead (#1415) is marked. Parking is provided on the right.