This is the third, and tallest of a trio of impressive waterfalls accessible via the Kentucky Falls trail. The infant North Fork Smith River throws itself at a rock and is split into a pair of lacy streams which plummet 120 feet down a craggy cliff face. In the winter and early spring, when the river is at it's peak flow, these falls become a violent torrent of explosive spray. The falls are viewed from the riverbed below the viewing deck for Lower Kentucky Falls, which can be seen in tandem with North Fork Falls from certain areas. In order to reach the base of North Fork Falls, you'll have to ford or rock hop Kentucky Creek and possibly the North Fork Smith River.
- North Fork 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. Take the stairs below the viewing deck for Lower Kentucky Falls to the streambed and rock hop upstream until you're content with the view.