Beautiful basalt formations at various heights, small waterfalls running off rocks into a giant pit of water and Douglas-Fir and Cedar trees lining the Tualatin river is the prize at the end of the path for those heading out to Lee Falls.
Lee Falls is a destination many Pacific University students have heard about, but have yet to go to and explore. Only about a 25 minute drive away from campus is a wonderful swimming destination, for summer time weather, and a beautiful hiking spot that can be explored at any time of year.
But the only issue with Lee Falls, and one that I have personally experienced, is that it is one of the more underutilized destinations in Oregon. With the Gorge, downtown Portland and the coast having more of an appeal to a greater number of people simply because they are more well known.
Senior Madi Clifford said she knows many Pacific students who go to Lee Falls, and has heard of the destination several times over the years through conversation and talks with friends.
However, she has not yet been to Lee Falls because the people she enjoys hiking with would rather go to another destination.
“If students want to go hiking, they often want to go somewhere more well known and iconic than just somewhere by Forest Grove,” Clifford said.
On the other hand, senior Rachel Fiegenbaum has been to Lee Falls and recommends other students go there for a picnic or an afternoon outing.
“A lot of people know about it but not a lot of people go, so when you go, it’s kind of secluded and personal,” Fiegenbaum said. “It’s actually really pretty and super easy to get to, just do it.”
Although Lee Falls is easy to get to, parking is slightly difficult. There is no established parking area and locals get angry if people park by the gated entrances or in the “No Parking” areas.
Though limited, there are shoulders on the side of road where people are able to park, but those parking spaces are often accompanied by a small trek to the trail entrance. Once people have reached the gated entrance that reads “No Unauthorized Vehicles and No Parking at any Time,” it is about a 30 minute walk on a gravel pathway to reach the desired swimming hole, waterfall and or rock formations.
I waited until my senior year to go here and picnic for dinner, but I wish I had gone earlier with a big group of friends, especially in nicer weather.
Lee Falls is a beautiful and peaceful place that I recommend students take advantage of as soon as they can.
There are stunning areas all around campus that provide for a great study break and a way for students to step away from their screens to reconnect with nature and themselves.