Seldom “Seen” Falls (Oregon) 21-Apr-2020

Sometime in early 2019 we learned of a small (30-foot high) waterfall on Seldom Creek near Lake of the Woods. There were even a few pictures of it on the web gushing heartily. Since it was only a short ways off Highway 140, we swung by for a quick visit in May 2019 after a nice hike at Spence Mountain. After a little wandering through the woods we came upon the falls – or rather the large trickle that passed for them. No gushing, hearty or otherwise, was observed. Saddened, but not discouraged, we vowed to try again. This is how obsessions start…

The mighty trickle we found in 2019

As we learned after our first attempt, the peculiar hydrology feeding Seldom Creek means that conditions have to be just right or there’s no gush. Or much of anything actually. This gives these falls the Brigadoon-like quality of appearing only sporadically and then only briefly. We’re in a severe (D2) drought at the moment, but had nonetheless accumulated a slightly above normal snowpack over the winter. We figured that this snow, combined with the recent onset of warm Spring weather, would be enough to get the falls flowing at more than a trickle.

So we went to see. This wasn’t so much a hike (about a mile round-trip) as an excuse to be outside for a couple of hours. There was no idle wandering this time. We went straight to the falls. Or where the falls sometimes are.

We enter the valley of the falls…

But today, none. No gushing. Not even a trickle. Just the muffled drip, drip of melting snow.

But there weren’t any 😥

So we hiked up the dry creek bed, up the dry falls, and back to the car.

We climb the dry falls
So dry, so very dry
Yes, imagine…

Timing is everything, especially with this waterfall. Had the gush already happened? Or is it yet ahead? Or did this year’s drought-plagued Great Meadow just suck-up the gush? Hard to say. We do know now is that if the Great Meadow is dry (or we can’t see water flowing in Seldom Creek where it passes under the road), it’s not worth making the trek (however short) to the falls. 😦

Our short trek to the falls: (1) Highway 140, (2) Dead Indian Memorial Road

Otherwise it was a beautiful sunny spring day 😎 and we were rewarded with a stunning view of a still snow-capped Mount McLoughlin on the way home. 🙂 And, of course, we’ll try again (and perhaps again and again) to see these elusive falls… 🙄

Mount McLoughlin
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3 comments

  1. Yes, it’s all about the Great Meadow (which is probably not related to the Great Pumpkin 😉 ). So we were overly hopeful going up there in a drought year with a below normal snowpack. But it was a nice day to be outside for a few hours. 🙂 We’ll just keep trying until we see that waterfall…

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  2. We have been to Spence mt once. Plan to go again. Recently visited Lost Creek Falls east of Ashland. Nice amount of water and cloudy so got some good pictures of the falls.

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  3. I have my blood checked every 4-6 weeks in a lab and the guy working there lives near Klamath Lake, just before the Spence Mt trail area. So he drives over 140 to Medford for work. He told me 4 weeks back that the great meadow was already drying out and he thought there would be no Seldom Falls this year. Your hike and pictures prove his theory. We want to see these falls too some day. Still, as you said, good to get out and hike.

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