Toketee Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in all of Oregon, renowned far and wide for the graceful columnar basalt formation framing the two-stepped falls. The North Umpqua River has carved a sinuous gorge out of the lava flow, resulting in a waterfall of 113 feet in height – a 28 foot upper tier which plunges into a pool flanked by a deep alcove, followed by an 85 foot plunge into a large pool. At the trailhead, the wooden 12 foot diameter Toketee Pipeline is passed, which diverts much of the volume of the North Umpqua River to a powerhouse downstream. This artificial taming of the river allows the waterfall to flow in an extremely consistent manor all year long. Toketee Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in southern Oregon due to its ease of access.
“Toketee” is a Chinook word meaning Graceful. The irony in this choice of names continues to baffle me – the falls were named long before the hydroelectric system was in place, and the full volume of water of the North Umpqua River was allowed to flow over the falls in a much less graceful and much more explosive manor.
The Toketee Falls trailhead can be found 1/2 mile north of Highway 138 near Toketee Lake, itself about 43 miles east of Glide or 16 miles west of Diamond Lake. Simply watch for the road signs. The trail leading to the viewpoint is about 1/3 of a mile in length and while it is not designed for the disabled, it is well graded and easy to travel.
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