Youngs River Falls is both tormented and coveted and remains a testament that nature will, in the end, take care of itself. Here, the Youngs River hurtles over a large wall, veiling 54 feet into a pool locked in by large gravel bars. The falls are somewhat unique in that the base is located only about 10 feet above sea level - a modest tsunami could easily wash all the way to the falls. The falls have been featured in several movies, most notably Free Willy 2 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 (don't hold it against the waterfall for choosing bad movies). Partially due to this fame but mostly due to its close proximity to the city of Astoria, the falls are a popular place for the locals to recreate and swim, and as a result the area hasn't exactly been kept in the best of shape. Litter has often strewn the area, making it a place not desirable to linger. However, as said above, nature knows how to take care of itself. When visiting the falls notice the pile of logs up against the cliff to the right of the falls - some stacked 15-20 feet above the water line. This is the most obvious direct evidence of the massive scale of flooding the Youngs River can experience - most recently the December 2004 event that ravaged much of northern Oregon was probably responsible for many of those logs. The banks adjacent to the falls were scoured clean, the gravel bars downstream which formerly were populated with 7 foot tall brush were stripped bare, and there was some rather serious erosion near where the trail from the parking area descends. Fortunately such floods do not occur frequently and the falls are much more commonly enjoyable in a less violent setting.
- Youngs River Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Youngs River was discovered in 1792 by William Robert Broughton of the Vancouver Expedition, and named for Admiral Sir George Young of the Royal Navy, however the falls were not seen at this time. Credit to discovery of the falls lies with Patrick Gass, a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition who was leading a hunting party on March 1, 1806 and made note of the falls in his journal. No mention was made of whether or not Lewis or Clark visited the falls themselves, and the party left Fort Clatsop within 3 weeks of the discovery of the falls.
In Astoria, at the roundabout where US 101 and Highway 202 intersect at the east end of the Youngs Bay Bridge, head south along Highway 202 / Business 101 for a mile and a half, then continue on Business 101 where Highway 202 branches off left (straight). In another mile and a half, turn left onto Youngs River Road (101 bears sharply right before you can turn left, so stay straight at the Y intersection, then turn left at the 4-way stop immediately after). On Youngs River Road, continue another 7 1/2 miles and turn right where a sign points to Youngs River Falls, immediately before crossing a bridge over the Youngs River. The parking area is encountered shortly after, and a view of the falls is afforded almost immediately, with a short trail leading down to the rocky beach at the base of the falls.