Notes, birds, nature, meanderings.

Musings about birds, nature, and our meanderings on the Central Oregon Coast

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Munson Creek Falls State Park

We've driven past the Munson Creek Falls sign many times, but the other day we decided to make a special trip up there after a nice visit to Whalen Island.  The falls is a few miles south of Tillamook off Highway 101.  Oregon Coast Today describes it:
"A triple horsetail falls down 319 feet, it’s the tallest cascade in the Coast Range, and it’s just two miles on gravel road from Hwy. 101, south of Tillamook. The trail is less than a mile round trip, a straight shot through big-leaf maple, old-growth Western red cedar and Sitka spruce (including one of the country’s tallest remaining Sitkas, at 260)."
The road up to the park is a single lane with turnouts, which makes it seem longer than 2 miles.  But the scenery was stunning and there were no other vehicles.
Munson Creek Falls Trailhead

Arriving at the parking area, again we found ourselves alone.  The trailhead is clearly marked, and the trail makes good on its promise of being only a half-mile round trip.


We were immediately greeted by bird songs, with both CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES and WILSON'S WARBLERS calling back and forth across the trail.

On the tree-lined path, dappled sun shone through the trees, with luscious foliage wearing the green-gold colors of spring.  The path is well-maintained, and an easy walk for two, hand-in-hand.

Between the path and creek, flowers bloomed in profusion, while ferns and grassy moss draped rocks and limbs over the water.   

As we neared the falls, we caught a glimpse of the upper cascade through the trees - a truly stunning sight and sound.

We reached an area where the original trail had fallen away.  A detour with some stairs bypassed the fall-in and returned us to the wider path.

On the other side, we were greeted by the sight and sound of the falls - all three cascades totalling over 300 feet.  Breathtaking.  It was hard to get it all into one photo.
Munson Creek Falls

A signed warned us not to go further on the path.  We have read that there is a more difficult upper trail, but did not see any indication of it. 


Looking around, we were again amazed by the long moss covering almost everything.  We found a STELLER'S JAY busily gathering some of it.

Walking back, we heard the call of birds all along the trail but saw very few.  The burbling creek is visible all the way.  Several more people were walking up the trail as we returned to our car.  

Munson Creek Falls State Park is worth seeing - if you are in the area you don't want to miss it!  The park has no facilities and no fee.  The drive is more difficult than the walk, which is well-maintained and wide start to finish, with just the one side trip up and down a few stairs.  Plenty of parking, but I wouldn't risk a large RV on those narrow roads.


  1. Wow! I really love seeing all these cool places you guys find on the coast... That little Wilson's is adorable!

  2. Nice post. I enjoying your comments and photos as you take me through your experiences.