Kilchis Falls & Lester Creek Falls

Kilchis Falls and Lester Creek Falls are both accessed from Jones Creek Road off of Highway 6, near the Diamond Mill OHV Staging Area.

Kilchis Falls is 8 or 9 miles off of the highway, and wow, what a beautiful, harrowing drive! You’ll pass steep drop-offs that provide amazing views across the mountains. If you’ve got a good car for rough roads and a driver who doesn’t mind heights, this trip is definitely worth making.

The waterfall itself is tucked behind a bend in the road, so it’s not a hike. But it is a pretty little nook and a good spot to take some pictures.

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Lester Creek Falls, photo by Denise Heisler Keaton. Used with permission.

Lester Creek Falls is accessed from the parking lot of the Diamond Mill OHV Staging Area. We visited in January on our way back from the coast and were hoping to get there before the sun set. Unfortunately, we crossed the bridge and starting hiking up the mountain for a while before realizing we were going the wrong way! So by the time we reached a view of the waterfall (yards away from the parking lot!), dusk had fallen.

The creek is on the opposite side of the river as the trail, and there are some trees partially obstructing the view, so this is definitely a skippable waterfall.

SUMMARY:

My rating: Kilchis Falls – Worth the effort (2 stars); Lester Creek – Low priority (1 star)
(Kilchis: Waterfall – 2 stars, Trail – n/a, Experience – 2 stars; Lester Creek: Waterfall – 1 star, Trail – 2 stars, Experience – 2 stars)

Distance from Beaverton: About an hour and 15 minutes drive west

Nearest town: Jordan Creek

Nearest city: Portland

County: Tillamook

Length of round-trip hike: Kilchis – 0; Lester Creek – 0.2 miles

Best season to visit: Winter-Spring (Kilchis most likely runs dry in the summer.)

Things to know:

  • Off-road vehicles abound in this area, so drive carefully.
  • The Wilson River Traverse Hike can be accessed from the Diamond Mill OHV Area parking lot.  Get the details here.

Consider combining this trip with:  Any of the waterfalls off of Highway 6.  Wilson Falls is the closest.

Toilet / Amenities: Toilets and picnic tables at the OHV staging area.

How to get there:

  1. From Highway 6, turn north onto Jones Creek Road, just east of the Tillamook Forestry Center (28.9 miles from the junction with Highway 26).
  2. To get to Kilchis Falls, follow Jones Creek Road as it loops behind the Forestry Center and meets up with Cedar Creek Road. Stay right at this junction.
  3. Stay left at the next two junctions. After 4½ miles, you’ll cross Cedar Creek where the road begins climbing steeply.
  4. For the next 2½ miles, you’ll gain 1500 feet, eventually topping out on a precarious ridge.
  5. At the top of the ridge, stay straight where a road makes a hard right, then about ¼ mile further, head to the right, downhill, and in another 2 miles, you’ll pass the falls on the left. It’ll be about 8 miles back to Highway 6.
  6. To get to Lester Creek Falls, take Jones Creek Road .3 mile from Highway 6.
  7. Turn right onto North Fork Road and find the staging area in 1.5 miles.
  8. Start at the bridge, but do not cross the river.  Turn right and follow the trail downriver.  The waterfall is visible across the river at the far side of the parking lot.  The trail loops around back to the parking lot.

Helpful websites:

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Travels with Hollie White says:

    If you ever make it to Illinois, we have a few really pretty ones near Utica.

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