Located a few miles south of the place where the Youngs River enters the Columbia River, Youngs River Falls is a great destination to enjoy the scenic beauty that is hidden by dense forest within a short distance from Astoria - the oldest town in Oregon.
The waterfall was discovered by members of the Corps of Discovery during a hunting party in 1806, a few days before the expedition started its long journey back. Sergeant Patrick Gass wrote in his journal: "There is a large river that flows into the southeast part of Hayley's Bay; upon which about 20 miles from its mouth, our hunters discovered falls, which had about 60 feet of a perpendicular pitch". Neither Meriwether Lewis nor William Clark visited the waterfall.
Fourteen years earlier, in 1792, during the Vancouver Expedition William Robert Broughton discovered the bay and river near the mouth of the Columbia River and named them after British Admiral Sir George Young.
In summer the falls area is a popular wading and swimming spot for local residents and travelers offering excellent opportunities to relax and take a refreshing dip in a warm water of the coastal river.
A short 0.25-mile trail starts from the signs and leads downhill to the waterfall base where the Youngs River cascades from the 54-foot high and 45-foot wide cliff wall into the large and deep pool rimmed with large rocks and huge boulders. After a massive flood in 2004, the river brought huge logs that were stocked in front of the waterfall.
A few yards downstream from the waterfall there is an excellent swimming hole. A stretch of the gravel bank, a few bushes that create shadows, calm and warm water during the summer months make this place excellent for a refreshing summer dip. The deepest spot is 5-7 feet.
Caution. Climbing and cliff jumping are fraught with danger at Youngs River Falls. Slippery rocks, a deceptive cliff that slopes outward, and a steep drop - all of those pose a hazard. There were accidents out there every year and some of them were fatal.
The waterfall was featured in a few movies such as Free Willy 2, Benji the Hunted, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3.
Youngs River Falls | General Description
Open: Year-round from dawn until dusk (for day-use)
Managed: Astoria Parks & Recreation Department
Location: Youngs River Falls Area
Activities: Swimming, hiking, photography
Accommodations: No camping or overnight parking at Youngs River Falls
Distance from the parking: 0.2 miles
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: Free
Dogs: Must be on a leash
Popularity: Moderate to high
Elevation: 10 ft (3 m)
Youngs River Falls is located:
- 10 miles south of Astoria
- 84 miles northwest of Portland
- 120 miles northwest of Salem.
From US-101 in Astoria,
- Take US-101 Business (Marine Dr) and go east to Old Youngs Bay Bridge
- Go 1.4 miles on US-101 Business to Youngs River Road
- Turn left onto Youngs River Road and continue 7.4 miles
- Just before the bridge crossing the Youngs River, turn right (Youngs River Falls Sign Point) and go 0.1 miles to the parking area.