Oregon

Panther Creek to Siuslaw Falls

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Here's another little area you can explore easily as a half-day excursion from Eugene. I didn't find any particularly challenging driving conditions, but this area of (mostly) BLM land has been heavily logged over the past 10 years, which has resulted in more views than you might typically find in western Oregon hills. In addition to the usual lovely passages through dense second-growth forests, rich with ferns, mosses and other undergrowth, I found some wide open grassy hilltops affording vistas across Coast Range peaks.

I drove out into this area in mid-October without any real plan. The fall rains had returned and I just felt like getting out into the woods. While the driving was tame, it was nonetheless satisfying to poke around here for an afternoon, probing up dead-end spurs and just randomly following whichever roads seemed the most appealing. As it wasn't a camping trip nor was I terribly far from home, I had no time pressures and was able to simply enjoy exploring until it got too dark to see.
Looking at the public lands map for Oregon , this area is pretty checkerboarded with BLM and private land. I saw a few closed gates but, none of the No Trespassing signs I frequently encounter when exploring western Oregon hills. If you're looking for dispersed camping options, I would just bear in mind that about 50% percent of the land out here is technically privately owned.

As darkness was starting to fall and I found my way to the nearest random paved road so I could air up and head home, I spotted a sign for Siuslaw Falls, which was completely unplanned and serendipitous. I had never been there before, but it's a really cute little spot and an unusual waterfall for western Oregon. Instead of the typical water zigzagging over jumbled broken black basalt or through gray rounded boulders, here the water streams smoothly over a series of flat steps of horizontal bedrock...I'd never seen anything quite like this in Oregon. Anyway, Siuslaw Falls is a nice little point-of-interest destination if you decide to explore this area.
Route Notes
There are numerous ways to get up into these hills. I turned off of Territorial Hwy just south of Crow, onto Wolf Creek Road, and then eventually turned left onto Panther Creek Road, and then just started randomly following whatever roads looked interesting. A number of the roads go for miles and then dead-end, but I found some of the nicest spots along these, so I wouldn't necessarily balk if you see a dead end on your GPS.

VIDEO OVERVIEW OF THIS EXCURSION: