This absolutely gorgeous plume of water is the highlight of the Kentucky Falls trail. Located at the end of the 2 mile hike, Kentucky Creek hurtles 75 feet over a cliff, then bounces into two streams for a final 25 feet to the rocky slopes below. The falls are viewed from a well built viewing deck, located just above the creek's confluence with the North Fork Smith River. Upstream on the Smith, North Fork Falls is visible from just off the trail, and can be seen in tandem with Lower Kentucky Falls from certain angles. On a hot day, the creek bed below the falls would be a good place to bring the kids to splash around and relax (watch for slippery rocks however). Like Upper Kentucky Falls, the lower falls can also range from a thin column of gentle spray in the late summer to a raging thunderous torrent of water in the late winter and early spring (in which case, bring rain gear, you'll definitely get wet).
- Lower 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, but moderately steep trail downstream for 2 miles to it's end, passing Upper Kentucky Falls at 3/4 mile.