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Snailback Falls

 2.3 (3)

A short, steep hike to an amazing series of highly seasonal cascades and waterfalls.

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Point to Point

2,377' 725 m


1,465' 446 m


968' 295 m


75' 23 m



Avg Grade (7°)


Max Grade (21°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Views · Waterfall

The trail is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and is open year-round. During the winter, there may be enough snow in the canyon to make finding and following the trail difficult.

Need to Know

The informal trailhead for the falls is about 3.5 miles west of the blinking light in Selma, Oregon (on Highway 199) on the Illinois River Road (Forest Road 4103). There is a small turnout on the road's south side at an unsigned junction with Forest Road 011 (Star Flat Road). Park so that you do not block this road. A much larger pull-out can be found a little farther along the road to the west. The hike starts on the north side of Forest Road 4103, past a wooden log restoration fence.


Snailback Falls, when conditions are wet, cascade down a steep rocky ravine in the Illinois Valley just west of Selma, Oregon. It's not much to look at in the depths of summer but during and after winter storms the falls cascade some 400 feet and can be seen from quite a distance.

The route follows an old mining road for 0.9 miles as it climbs about 950 feet to the top of the ridge between Snailback Creek and Baldwin Gulch. The old road ends at the top of the ridge, where an obvious and well-built use trail begins contouring in to the canyon holding Snailback Creek. At 0.3 miles from the top of the ridge, you'll reach the remains of the old forgotten copper mine. Here the obvious use trail swings around the diggings to the left (west) to a deep trench (prospect) in the side of the slope.

From this trench, a narrower and less obvious use trail continues back and down into the canyon for 0.3 miles to the base of the lower falls. Along the way, there is one spot where you can look up and see the upper falls shooting into the canyon some 400 feet above you. The trail ends here at the base but you can - if you're careful - scramble farther up along the creek to see more the various cascades that comprise these falls.

This area was partially burned by a wildfire in 2018 and this has weakened some of the trees and loosened some of the rocks and soil. So be extra careful of your footing if you leave the use trail to explore the falls.

Flora & Fauna

Expect ticks along the trail in late spring through summer and poison oak all year round.


Shared By:

Bruce Hope

Trail Ratings

  2.3 from 3 votes


  2.3 from 3 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Oregon


10 Views Last Month
455 Since Apr 1, 2019



The well-developed use trail between the old road and the mine.
Apr 1, 2019 near Cave Ju…, OR
Where the trail ends at the base of the falls
Apr 1, 2019 near Cave Ju…, OR
The narrow use trail between the mine and the base of the falls.
Apr 1, 2019 near Cave Ju…, OR
The trailhead on the Illlinois River Road
Apr 1, 2019 near Cave Ju…, OR
Base of the falls
Apr 1, 2019 near Cave Ju…, OR
The old Forgotten Copper Mine
Apr 1, 2019 near Cave Ju…, OR



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Apr 9, 2020
Elisha Polomski
very steep and hot.not much shade plenty of poison oak and ticks. 1.6mi
Mar 31, 2019
Bruce Hope