Mill Creek Falls/Barr Creek Falls/Pearsony Falls
I thought for a moment I was in Hawaii -as I gasped at the 200 foot drop waterfall cascading down and plunging into the Rogue River- but the smell of forest pine trees and walking along the carpeted pine needle trails, brought me back to the reality I was in……Southern Oregon! As I stood close to the edge of the cliff, to capture a picture of course, I was in awe of the magnatude of splendor here in our own Rogue Valley!
Most people travel on Highway 62 to visit Crater Lake National Park, but bypass these epic waterfalls, known as Mill Creek Falls, Barr Creek Falls, and Pearsoney Falls. If you are in the mood to get out of the city, and want a quick drive into a lush garden of pine trees and waterfalls then you must venture this way!
The Falls are located near Prospect, Oregon. (home to the Historic Prospect Hotel which is just southwest of Crater Lake National Park, along Highway 62. From downtown Medford, I traveled out on Highway 62 (past Eagle Point, and Shady Cove) and within about 50 minutes I was at the trailhead for Mill and Barr Creek Falls.
Mill and Barr Creek Falls: The Falls, are great for a short day hike and extremely date and family friendly, because both are just a short 1/2 -3/4 mile hike (from the parking lot). The trails are easily accessible and well maintained, great time to break-out the off-road stroller! The ony trail map is located in the parking lot of Mill and Barr Creek Falls, so you’ll have to rely on your photgraphic memory to remember the directions to the Falls!
As you begin your adventure, the trail winds down to a fork in the road. The left fork leads to the Avenue of the Boulders and the right fork leads down to the waterfalls. The Avenue of Boulders has boulders the size of houses-(really they are that large), pools of water, sandy beaches (only in late summer) and breathtaking scenery. To get to the Avenue of the Boulders you have to walk/hike down a rocky trail, definitely not stroller friendly! The right fork to the waterfalls is stroller friendly and you will hear the waterfalls plunging into the Rogue River, especially this time of year (May and June) when the waterflow is at its peak, demonstrating the natural beauty at it’s prime! Mill Creek Falls is the first of the two waterfalls you will view on the trail. Mill Creek Falls features an impressive 173 foot drop, it truly is spectacular! If you are the extra adventurous type and want a refreshing mist to cool you down, then follow a steep trail -off of one of the lookouts- down to the base of the falls.
Only a few hundred yards from Mill Creek Falls, is Barr Creek Falls so, don’t cut your hike short just yet; you won’t want to miss seeing this massive waterfall. Barr Creek Falls, one of Southern Oregon’s tallest waterfalls, has a 200 foot drop, and an elevation of 2,533 feet. Continue down the trail, and you will come to a dead end where there’s a gigantic fallen tree trunk (my husband has a picture of himself as a kid, from the 80‘s, sitting on the same huge trunk, yes it is still there). From there, you’ll see natural made steps that go up the left hand side of a rocky outcropping. Hike up the steps and low and behold you will see such an amazing site! You will most likely say the same comment I said, ……. “Am I in Hawaii?” The view of the falls is breathtaking, so sit down, relax and stay awhile to admire the beauty around you. This is my favorite spot to have a picnic or just lay down on one of the large rocks, close my eyes and relax to the sound of waterfalls. A history tid-bit: The waterfall and it’s namesake creek were apparently originally named Bear Creek Falls, and through time, the name was morphed into it’s current name, Barr Creek Falls.
Pearsony Falls: After hiking the trails to Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls, the next adventure is just 1/4 mile up the road, near the historic town of Prospect. Get back in your car, cross over a beautiful bridge – on your right hand side you will see a large parking lot with restroom faciliites (thank goodness, huh!). The trail to Pearsony Falls begins to the right of the restrooms and meanders down the trail, parallel to the beautiful Rogue River. This section of the river is calm which makes this trail to the waterfall so peaceful and relaxing. Once you see the Waterfall continue down the trail. This is where the Rogue River begins to pick up speed. This is a perfect spot for a photo with the family! Pearsony Falls is another breathtaking waterfall (20 foot drop) tucked away in our backyard. The falls were named after two families who were among the first pioneers in the area, the Pearson Family and the Mooney family.
While you are out exploring, be sure to visit the Natural Bridge interpretive trail (a geologic and historic scenic spot where the river is swallowed by an underground maze of lava tubes then surges back to the surface), located just off of Highway 62, outside of Prospect, Oregon, or just stay the night at the Natural Bridge Campground, and fish, camp, and hike to your hearts content! For more info. on the campgrounds contact the Prospect Ranger Station at (541) 560-3400 or visit: Travel Oregon online.
Directions to Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls: Travel on Highway 62. You will cross over Peyton Bridge and see a sign that says Mill Creek Drive 1/2 mile, turn right on Mill Creek Drive. Pass Mile marker 5, and 1/2 mile on the right, you will come to the parking lot to Mill Creek Falls.
541Live Tip: Cascade Gorge Store is a great last minute stop for snacks, picnic supplies and restrooms! Find the store on Mill Creek Drive, on the right just after you turn off Highway 62.