Stuart Falls Trail

moderate 5 reviews
#19 of 23 trails in

Stuart Falls Trail is a 11.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Crater Lake, Oregon that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 11.7 miles Elevation Gain: 1,440 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

wildlife

bugs

rocky

snow

hiking
6 months ago

We hiked back here to find a good three night trail to camp/backpack on since there was mountain lion activity where we had planned to go (not here, but Lightening Springs area). Trail was buggy. Not that interesting other than it crosses PCT. we didn’t make it to falls since we needed water sources for camping before that. Lots of burned out trees to see. Wouldn’t choose this over other hikes in the park unless I really needed a route to do.

running
blowdown
bugs
snow
7 months ago

Completed 6/22/19: The trail across pumice flats was mostly clear of debris with some snow near the PCT junction. After leaving the PCT the Stuart Falls trail itself can be a little hard to follow in the more affected portions of the burn scar. Snow was deep in places making the trail completely invisible, but I was able to find it again by heading in the general direction of the creek. Below the remaining snow was easier travel and the trail was much more evident. The falls was easily audible from a good distance so there's little chance you'd miss it. Overall was a very good run in and out. Many mosquitoes in the damp areas and around the falls, so bug spray is recommended. Here's a short video of my experience: https://youtu.be/dioL0BZxlgI

hiking
Tue May 29 2018

Hikes this today 5/28/18. My FitBit watch said it was over 13 miles round trip, but I did go off trail a few times to navigate over and around the snow. It was pretty strenuous due to the amount of snow still on the ground. This would’ve probably been a beautiful hike, but a large portion of the forest has been burned out due to the fires in 2017. There are a lot of burnt trees covering the trail and my hiking pack, as well as the clothes I wore, both had black streaks on them from rubbing on the trees as I went around them. I managed to make it to the falls using the gps feature on AllTrails and The Hiking Project apps. I did fall a few times because the snow sucked my leg in up to mid thigh. Overall, it was a good workout, but I think you can probably find a lot better waterfall elsewhere. Happy exploring.

hiking
Sun Feb 18 2018

If you like trails sparsely populated by humans, this is a good one. I had some difficulty finding the trailhead and luckily parked at a picnic area (Lodgepole Picnic site) across Hwy 62 and decided to follow the only trailhead I could find, that for Pumice Flats, which was Stuart Falls Trail. The trail starts with easy inclines through an open and sun-dappled stretch of lodgepole pine. There are bears in the area, and it looked to me that they were recent visitors, if I identified the scat right. The trail meanders through the lodgepole into increasing elevation changes, more rocky terrain, with a change to doug fir. One memorable moment was coming up out of a bottom below a forested bluff to find a cliffside view of turkey vultures sunning themselves. They turned slowly around to take a look at me before spreading their wings and falling off the cliff edge. They soared back upward and around and circled over me closely, curious. Looking south toward Goose Nest and Goose Egg peaks, it was strikingly apparent that I did not have any human company and between the vultures, the bear scat and the strong scent of ammonia (read: not bears) further down the trail, it was equally apparent that I was not a creature alone. I hiked this trail in mid August during a very dry year and when I came to the second of two creek crossings and realized the water supply was barely measurable, I did not continue to the falls and complete this trail that day. However, the flora, topography, views, the scarcity of human company, and the opportunity to cross paths with various fauna makes this a very special and personally valuable trail and I look forward to returning. Keep this one wild, folks! It's a treasure. Note: The Fall itself is actually outside of the southern park boundary of Crater Lake NP.

Sun Feb 17 2019