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Winter water

Drive, hike, or glide to views of Oregon's Salt Creek Falls

Free-falling 286 feet, Salt Creek Falls is Oregon's second-tallest waterfall; only Multnomah Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge, has a longer drop. It's impressive any time of year but dazzling with a lacework of ice and frost in midwinter.

Stop by on your way to skiing at Willamette Pass or Mt. Bachelor, or make it a winter day's destination. From Eugene it's a bit more than an hour's drive to the top of the falls, just off the highway, where there's a 4,000-foot-high Sno-Park. Cautiously follow short paths for views of the falls. If you're a competent cross-country skier, kick and glide another 1.2 miles on a trail to see a second cataract: 100-foot fan-shaped Diamond Creek Falls.

Beginning skiers can start a day's tour with a peek at Salt Creek Falls, then head east on snowed-over Salt Creek Road for a less scenic but easier outing.

INFO: Pull off State 58 at the sign to Salt Creek Falls, about 23 miles southeast of Oakridge. Oregon Sno-Park permit required ($3 per vehicle; purchase at any Oregon DMV office; at Willamette Pass; or at Rascal's Market in Oakridge, 541/782-3704). Middle Fork Ranger District, Willamette National Forest, 541/782-2283).