This is the first of three magnificent waterfalls encountered along the beautifully constructed Kentucky Falls trail. Kentucky Creek spills down a wide step into a large pile of boulders, then a short distance further downstream, cascades down an additional 30 feet (I'm not considering those cascades part of the upper falls). The appearance of the falls varies greatly depending on the water level. In the spring, this can be a solid sheet of water, and in the late summer, there can be nothing but a pair of thin wispy threads of water. There are also many different angles from which to view the falls. Some of the trailside views are partially obstructed by a tree or a bush to two, but the best views are had from the rocks at the base of the falls (there is a small way-trail from the switchback at the bottom of the falls). Exercise caution along the trail near the falls, as it traverses across cliffs and is somewhat narrow in places.
- Upper Kentucky Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
This is one trail that you really have to want to find, because it's no simple task (I got lost on the maze of roads coming back from the falls). The easiest (a relative term I suppose) way to reach the trailhead is as follows. From the small town of Mapleton, drive east on SR 126 to the Siuslaw River road (signed for Whittaker Creek Rec. Area) and proceed about 1.6 miles and turn right (first road to the right) at the sign for the falls. Follow this road for another 1.5 miles and go left (uphill), following the signs for Kentucky Falls. Proceed about 10 miles, remaining on the main road, to a "T" junction. Turn right and proceed 1.5 miles to another junction and turn right again (one of these two junctions doesn't have a sign for the falls, I don't remember which). The trailhead lies another 2.8 miles down this road. Parts of this route are on gravel roads, but the majority is on pavement. If in doubt, stay on the pavement, and watch for signs for the falls (I highly recommend having a state Atlas with you when driving to the trailhead). Once you reach the trailhead, park and cross the street to the trail, and follow the well graded, relatively level path downstream for 3/4 mile to the falls. Lower Kentucky Falls and North Fork Falls lie another 1.25 miles down the trail.