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About the Little Luckiamute

This section of my web page is dedicated to the upper reaches of the Little Luckiamute River. Although the area was logged in the very early 1900’s, by mid-1970 the Little Luckiamute drainage above the old logging community of Black Rock was a mature dense forest. Growing up in Dallas, Oregon, my buddies and I spent a great deal of the time exploring the area.

My father first took me down into the upper canyon waterfall area in the very early 1970’s. At that time there was a very steep primitive trail that descended from a logging road down to the river, coming out just above the main Little Luckiamute falls. For the next few years my father and I and/or several of my buddies made regular trips there to fish or just to hang out on hot summer days.

The uniqueness of the area was also recognized by the Chemeketans, a hiking organization from Salem, Oregon. In about the mid-1970’s the group begin construction of the Little Luckiamute Trail, starting just above the Black Rock bridge, and which would eventually extend to the upper waterfalls. The trail was also documented in Bill Sullivan’s mid-1990's version of  his "100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast and Coast Range". Shortly after the trails completion logging begin in the area. The Chemeketans continued to maintain the trail, even re-establishing several sections through clear-cut areas. However, by the late 1990’s the trail was no longer being regularly maintained and was quite difficult to follow in some areas.

After leaving Dallas in 1979 life events and other interests kept me from the area. In 1990 I returned to the area with my father and two young sons. I returned again in 1994, this time taking my daughter. By this time significant logging had occurred between Black Rock and the upper waterfalls, including the southern slopes just adjacent to the Little Luckiamute waterfall. After another long hiatus I again returned to the area in 2011, bush whacking up a portion of the old Little Luckiamute trail and again hiking down to the base of Little Luckiamute Falls. Since then I have returned to the area at least several times each year.

Historic maps of the area only documented the Little Luckiamute Falls. In reality, there are a pair of waterfalls just upstream from the Little Luckiamute Falls, and another pair a little less than half of mile downstream. Bill Sullivan’s write up on the Little Luckiamute Trail noted two waterfalls; Slide Falls, which was probably the second of the lower falls, and Hidden Falls, which in reality was the Little Luckiamute Falls. From downstream to upstream, the height of the five falls are approximately 20 feet, 40 feet, 30 feet, 8 feet, and 15 feet.

In recent years the Little Luckiamute river was recognized by kayakers as not only a potentially challenging run but also had the draw of being able to claim first descents on its upper waterfalls. There are several great trip reports here and here, including lots of fantastic pictures and several video clips.

This section will focus on the my multiple trips to the upper falls, exploration of the remnants of the Little Luckiamute Trail, and a section of some of my older pictures going back as early 1979. I still have further trips planned, so stay tuned for future additions.