Are you planning an RV excursion out and about in the Pacific Northwest this spring or summer? If your travels will take you up the west side of Willamette Pass via Oregon’s Highway 58, Office Covered Bridge and Salt Creek Falls are two small detours off the highway worth making.

Traveling east from Interstate 5, about 40 miles southeast of Eugene, your first stop will be the picturesque Office Covered Bridge. At 180 feet, it is the longest covered bridge remaining in Oregon. It was built in 1944 by the Westfir Lumber Company using triple Howe truss construction to supply the strength required to carry heavy logging trucks. The bridge was built to connect the lumber mill with the office (hence the name of the bridge).

Picturesque Office Covered Bridge

The truss members are gigantic, constructed with multiple tension rods and compound chord members. This bridge is one of only two covered bridges in Oregon that was constructed with triple Howe truss members. Another distinctive attribute is a covered walkway separate from the roadway. It is the only covered bridge west of the Mississippi with such a feature.

The company-owned town of Westfir, including the bridge, was sold in 1977 to an investment company. In the early 1980s, the mill burned and the bridge was closed to traffic. In 1992, the bridge was inherited by Lane County through property tax foreclosure. Extensive structural work in 1993 stabilized the bridge and it was reopened to traffic. Roof replacement followed in 2002. Then in 2003, a small park was established on the north side of the bridge where the mill stood. The old offices are currently occupied by the Westfir Lodge offering cozy guest rooms.

Built to Connect the Lumber Mill with the Office in 1944

The park serves as a trailhead to the North Fork Trail that follows the wild and scenic section of the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. Those navigating by GPS will find the bridge at N43° 45.496 W122° 29.720 There is parking for RVs just to the northwest of the bridge entrance or those willing to brave the 75 year old single lane bridge (20 Ton Limit) can drive through it to the park on the other side.

Once you have explored the bridge and maybe hiked the trail along the river, continue east on Highway 58 for just over 20 miles and you will reach the sign marking the turnoff for Salt Creek Falls. The falls and Salt Creek are named for a series of springs with high salt content used as salt licks by wildlife.

Powerful Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls is a stunning sight and the second highest falls in Oregon. It is the most powerful waterfall in Southern Oregon with an average yearly flow of nearly 50,000 gallons per minute. There are numerous views of the falls along the canyon rim, but the best is about halfway down the trail leading to the base of the falls. For those who can handle the hike down and back, the view is more than worth it. But given the strength and magnitude of this waterfall, you should know that you might be soaked by the time you get there! 

Prime Viewing Area of the Falls

The Willamette National Forest’s Salt Creek Falls Observation Site and Picnic Area offers ample RV parking, restrooms, picnic area, and a trail down to the bottom of the falls. A viewing platform about 150 feet down the trail is wheelchair accessible.

You will find the turn off for the falls at N43° 36.655 W122° 07.015

There is a $5.00 day use fee if you do not have a Northwest Forest Service Pass or an America the Beautiful Pass.

Next time you find yourself climbing Willamette Pass, give yourself and your RV a break at these two sites. Both locations offer a big reward for the small detour required off the highway.

Camping: There are numerous campgrounds and RV parks along Hwy 58, a convenient place to camp between the bridge and falls just off the highway is Blue Pool Campground. You will find the turn off at N43° 42.613 W122° 17.897

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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