Most Breathtaking Waterfall Hikes in Bend Oregon

Most Breathtaking Waterfall Hikes in Bend Oregon

The areas surrounding Bend, Oregon offer a great opportunity to explore the beauty of Central Oregon’s stunning waterfalls. With a diverse range of trails catering to all skill levels, hikers can immerse themselves in the tranquil sounds and mesmerizing sights of cascading waters.

In this guide, we will dive into what you can expect on a waterfall hike in Bend, including essential gear for safe and enjoyable adventures. We’ll also provide valuable tips for planning your waterfall hiking excursion and ensure that you are well-prepared to navigate the beautiful terrain surrounding these natural wonders.

As we discuss safety considerations when hiking waterfalls, you’ll gain insight into best practices for staying safe during these hikes. Furthermore, we’ll share resources where you can find more information about waterfall hikes in Bend Oregon so that you’re equipped with all the knowledge necessary to embark on an unforgettable journey through nature’s splendor.

Discovering Bend Oregon’s Best Waterfall Hikes

Bend, Oregon is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Bend’s natural beauty and plentiful recreational activities make it an ideal spot for waterfall hikes. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the best waterfall hikes in Bend and all the information you need to plan your next outdoor adventure.

Tumalo Falls

One of the most iconic waterfalls in Bend is Tumalo Falls. This 97-foot tall cascade can be accessed via an easy hike along Tumalo Creek Trail. The trailhead is located at the end of Tumalo Falls Road and offers ample parking as well as picnic areas. The fairly easy hike takes you through lush forests alongside Tumalo Creek before reaching the majestic falls.

Dillon Falls & Benham Falls

The Deschutes River Trail provides access to two more stunning waterfalls: Dillon Falls and Benham Falls. Both are easily accessible from different points on the trail – Dillon Falls being just a short walk from its respective parking area while Benham Falls requires a slightly longer trek but is still considered an easy hike.

Sahalie & Koosah Falls

A bit further away from Bend but definitely worth visiting are Sahalie and Koosah Falls along McKenzie River Trail. These breathtaking cascades can be reached by following an easy loop trail that starts at either Sahalie or Koosah Fall’s parking lot.

Church & Whychus Falls

For those looking for a more challenging hike, Chush and Whychus Falls in the Sisters Wilderness area offer an exhilarating experience. These beautiful waterfalls are accessible via a moderately difficult trail that starts at the end of a gravel road. Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes as the terrain can be uneven.

Other Notable Waterfall Hikes

  • Salt Creek Falls Trailhead: This trail leads you to Salt Creek Falls, one of Oregon’s highest single-drop waterfalls.
  • Lava Island Falls: Located along the Deschutes River, this waterfall is surrounded by lava formations making it unique and picturesque.
  • Paulina & Upper Falls: Situated within Newberry National Volcanic Monument, these two cascades can be accessed through an easy loop trail with stunning views of Paulina Lake.
  • Proxy Falls: A short hike takes you to Lower Proxy Falls which plunges into a deep pool surrounded by moss-covered rocks creating churning waters – perfect for photography enthusiasts.

Gather your outdoor equipment and be prepared to experience the breathtaking cascades of Central Oregon. So, grab your hiking gear and get ready to explore the beauty of Central Oregon’s stunning waterfalls.

Exploring Bend Oregon’s best waterfall hikes is a thrilling experience that will leave you with lasting memories. With so much to see and do, it’s time to dive into what you can expect on a waterfall hike in Bend.

The Key Takeaway: 

Discover the best waterfall hikes in Bend, Oregon for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Tumalo Falls is an iconic 97-foot tall cascade accessible via an easy hike, while Chush and Whychus Falls offer a more challenging experience. Other notable waterfall hikes include Dillon Falls & Benham Falls, Sahalie & Koosah Falls, Salt Creek Falls Trailhead, Lava Island Falls, Paulina & Upper Falls, and Proxy Falls – all perfect spots to explore Central Oregon’s stunning waterfalls.

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What to Expect on a Waterfall Hike in Bend

Bend, Oregon is known for its stunning waterfalls and beautiful landscapes. When embarking on a waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon, be prepared to encounter diverse terrains and wildlife that will make the experience truly remarkable. Here’s what you should know before setting out on your adventure:


The terrain of waterfall hikes in Bend varies depending on the trail you choose. Some trails are fairly easy hikes with well-maintained paths like Tumalo Falls Day Use Area, while others may require proper hiking shoes and more experience due to rocky or steep sections such as the Salt Creek Falls Trailhead. Be sure to research each trail beforehand so that you’re prepared for any challenges.

Wildlife Encounters

  • Deer: It’s common to spot deer grazing along the trails or near the water sources.
  • Birds: Birdwatchers will enjoy spotting various species such as eagles, hawks, woodpeckers, and songbirds throughout their hike.
  • Rodents & Small Mammals: Keep an eye out for squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other small creatures scurrying around the forest floor.
  • Insects: You might come across butterflies fluttering around the wildflowers or dragonflies hovering near the water.

Waterfalls to Explore

Bend offers a variety of beautiful waterfall hikes, each with its own unique features. Some popular ones include:

  1. Tumalo Falls Loop Trail: This easy loop trail takes you to the majestic Tumalo Falls and several smaller waterfalls along Tumalo Creek.
  2. Sahalie and Koosah Falls: Located on the McKenzie River Trail, this fairly easy hike leads you past two stunning waterfalls – Sahalie and Koosah Falls.
  3. Proxy Falls: A short walk through a lush forest brings you to Lower Proxy Falls, where a deep pool collects churning water from above. Don’t forget your camera for this one.
  4. Dillon & Benham Falls: A relatively flat hike along the Deschutes River will take you to Dillon and Benham Falls which offer amazing views of cascading waters over lava rocks.

No matter which waterfall hike in Bend you choose, be prepared for an unforgettable experience surrounded by nature’s beauty. If you’re chasing waterfalls, don’t forget to bring snowshoes for trails that may still have snow. And if you’re looking for more outdoor adventures in Central Oregon, check out Smith Rock State Park or the Deschutes River Trail.

Exploring Bend’s beautiful waterfalls is an experience you won’t soon forget. With the right gear and a little preparation, you can make your waterfall hike even more enjoyable. Next, we’ll discuss essential items to bring on your journey.

The Key Takeaway: 

When going on a waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon, be prepared for diverse terrains and wildlife encounters. The terrain varies depending on the trail you choose, while deer grazing along the trails or near water sources are common sightings. Popular waterfall hikes include Tumalo Falls Loop Trail and Sahalie and Koosah Falls located on McKenzie River Trail.

Essential Gear for Waterfall Hiking

When embarking on a waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon, it’s crucial to have the right gear with you to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. From proper hiking shoes to essential safety items, we’ve got you covered with this list of must-have gear for your next adventure chasing waterfalls.

A. Proper Hiking Shoes

Having the right footwear is critical for a successful hiking experience, so make sure to invest in shoes that offer support, traction, protection from trail hazards and waterproofing. Look for footwear that supplies reliable backing, adhesion, and defense from stones and other barriers along the path. Waterproof or water-resistant options are also recommended as trails can be wet and muddy near waterfalls.

B. Weather-Appropriate Clothing

The weather in Central Oregon can change quickly, so dressing in layers is key when planning your waterfall hikes attire. Make sure to pack lightweight rain gear just in case you encounter any unexpected showers along the way.

  • Moisture-wicking base layer (tops & bottoms)
  • Fleece or insulated mid-layer (jacket or vest)
  • Rain jacket & pants (waterproof/breathable fabric)
  • Hat & gloves (for colder days)

C. Backpack with Essentials

Pack a comfortable backpack filled with essentials like snacks, extra clothing layers, first aid kit, and plenty of water to stay hydrated. Don’t forget a map or trail guide, as well as your fully charged phone for emergencies.

D. Camera & Binoculars

You’ll want to capture the stunning beauty of the waterfalls you encounter on your hike, so be sure to bring along a camera or smartphone with a good-quality lens. Binoculars are ideal for seeing wildlife and getting a closer look at more diminutive cascades that may not be conveniently accessible from the path.

E. Hiking Poles (Optional)

If you’re planning on tackling more challenging trails or have concerns about balance and stability, consider using hiking poles. They can help reduce strain on your knees and provide additional support during steep climbs or descents near waterfall areas.

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In winter months, some trails may require additional gear like snowshoes or microspikes due to icy conditions. Always check local weather forecasts and trail conditions before heading out on any waterfall hikes in Bend Oregon during colder seasons.

Having the right gear for your waterfall hike is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Before heading out for a waterfall trek, be sure to think ahead and get the necessary supplies.

The Key Takeaway: 

For a successful waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon, it is essential to have the right gear including supportive and waterproof shoes, layers of weather-appropriate clothing with rain protection, and a backpack filled with necessary items. This includes proper hiking shoes with support and waterproofing, weather-appropriate clothing like layers and rain gear, a backpack filled with essentials such as snacks and a first aid kit, a camera or smartphone for capturing stunning views of the waterfalls, binoculars for wildlife spotting, and optional hiking poles for additional support during steep climbs or descents. Always check local weather forecasts and trail conditions before heading out on any waterfall hikes in colder seasons.

Tips for Planning Your Waterfall Hike

Planning your waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon, is an exciting process that ensures you have a memorable and enjoyable experience. Here are some helpful tips to consider when planning your adventure:

Selecting the Perfect Trail

Bend offers numerous stunning waterfalls to explore, each with its unique features and difficulty levels. Some popular options include Tumalo Falls, Salt Creek Falls, and Smith Rock State Park. Research these trails beforehand to find one that suits your skill level and interests.

Timing Your Visit Right

The best time for chasing waterfalls in Central Oregon is typically during spring or early summer when snowmelt increases the flow of rivers like the Deschutes River or Tumalo Creek. However, be prepared for changing weather conditions by bringing appropriate clothing layers and checking local forecasts before heading out on your hike.

Packing Essentials For The Trip

  • Proper hiking shoes: Ensure you wear proper hiking shoes with good traction as some trails may involve slippery surfaces near churning water.
  • Adequate hydration: Carry enough water for yourself throughout the hike since dehydration can quickly become an issue.
  • Snacks: Pack high-energy snacks to keep you fueled during your hike, especially if it’s a longer or more challenging trail.
  • Camera: Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the beautiful waterfall scenes and surrounding nature.

Familiarize Yourself with Trail Rules and Regulations

Prioritize safety by familiarizing yourself with any specific rules or regulations for the trails you plan on hiking. For example, some areas within the Deschutes National Forest may require parking permits or have restrictions on pets. Visit their official website for up-to-date information.

Gather Information from Local Resources

Bend has numerous resources available that can help enhance your waterfall hiking experience. Utilize local maps, guidebooks, and websites like for insider tips on lesser-known spots such as Whychus Falls or Lava Island Falls. Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask locals about their favorite hikes – they might just share some hidden gems.

With these tips in mind, planning your perfect waterfall hike in Bend will be an enjoyable process that leads you toward unforgettable outdoor adventures.

Planning ahead for your waterfall hike can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Therefore, it is important to consider safety considerations when hiking waterfalls in Bend Oregon.

The Key Takeaway: 

Planning a waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon involves selecting the perfect trail that suits your skill level and interests. Timing your visit right during spring or early summer is best for chasing waterfalls while packing essentials such as proper hiking shoes, adequate hydration, snacks, and a camera are important to ensure an enjoyable experience.

Safety Considerations When Hiking Waterfalls

When planning a waterfall hike in Bend, it’s important to prioritize safety and be prepared for any challenges that may arise during your adventure. Before setting out, it’s important to consider some key safety factors for your waterfall hike.

A. Proper Footwear

Wearing proper hiking shoes is essential when chasing waterfalls, as the terrain can often be slippery and uneven due to wet rocks and loose gravel. Opt for waterproof boots with good traction to ensure you have a stable footing throughout your hike.

B. Weather Conditions

Always check the weather forecast before heading out on a waterfall hike in Central Oregon, especially during colder months when icy conditions or snow might make trails more challenging or even dangerous. If there’s significant snowfall expected along the trail, consider bringing snowshoes or postponing your trip until conditions improve.

C. Trail Difficulty & Fitness Level

  • Fairly easy hikes: Some of Bend’s most beautiful waterfalls can be accessed via fairly easy hikes like Tumalo Falls Day Use Area Loop Trail (Tumalo Creek Trail) or Salt Creek Falls Trailhead – perfect for beginners.
  • Moderate hikes: For those looking for something slightly more challenging but still manageable, consider exploring Dillon Falls along Deschutes River Trail or Marion Falls near McKenzie River Trail.
  • Demanding hikes: If you’re an experienced hiker seeking stunning waterfalls off the beaten path, try venturing into the Sisters Wilderness area where Chush Falls awaits.

Always choose a hike that matches your fitness level and be aware of the trail’s difficulty before setting off. Notify a trusted individual of your plans and expected time of return prior to embarking on the journey, in case any unforeseen difficulties should arise.

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D. Stay on Designated Trails & Respect Nature

To protect Bend’s natural beauty and ensure the safety of both hikers and wildlife, it is crucial to stay on designated trails at all times. Avoid wandering off-trail or attempting shortcuts, as this can lead to accidents or damage fragile ecosystems. Additionally, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles, such as packing out trash and respecting wildlife from a distance.

E. Be Prepared for Emergencies

While waterfall hikes are generally safe experiences if proper precautions are taken, it’s always wise to be prepared for emergencies by carrying essential items like:

  • A fully charged cell phone (with emergency numbers saved)
  • A map of the area (physical copy or downloaded offline)
  • A first aid kit with basic supplies
  • Extra food and water

Safety must always be the main concern when taking on a waterfall hike. Prior to taking on your journey, it is important to research and plan ahead for the most optimal experience. Now let us move on to where to find more information about waterfall hikes in Bend.

The Key Takeaway: 

When planning a waterfall hike in Bend, prioritize safety by wearing proper footwear, checking weather conditions beforehand, choosing a trail that matches your fitness level, and staying on designated trails. Respect nature by practicing Leave No Trace principles and be prepared for emergencies by carrying essential items like a fully charged cell phone, a map of the area, a first aid kit with basic supplies, and extra food and water.

Where to Find More Information About Waterfall Hikes In Bend

Discovering the best waterfall hikes in Bend, Oregon is an exciting adventure. To assist in organizing your outing and locating the beautiful waterfalls of Central Oregon, we’ve gathered a selection of resources that will provide you with maps, guides for trails, and other necessary info.

Online Resources for Waterfall Hikes

  • AllTrails: This popular website offers detailed information on various hiking trails around Bend. You can search for waterfall hikes specifically and read reviews from fellow hikers who have already explored these beautiful spots.
  • Deschutes National Forest: The official website of Deschutes National Forest provides valuable information about hiking trails within its boundaries. Many of the most scenic waterfall hikes are located within this forest.
  • Travel Oregon: Travel Oregon’s website features articles highlighting some of the best waterfall hikes in Central Oregon along with tips on how to make your experience even more enjoyable.
  • Northwest Waterfall Survey: This comprehensive database includes details about many lesser-known waterfalls throughout the Pacific Northwest region, including those found near Bend.

Guidebooks for Waterfall Hiking Adventures

If you prefer a printed guidebook to plan your waterfall hikes, consider these popular options:

  • Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes by Adam Sawyer
  • Bend, Overall: Selected Day Hikes in Central Oregon’s Magnificent High Desert and Mountains by Scott Cook
  • Moon Pacific Northwest Hiking: The Complete Guide to More Than 900 of the Best Hikes in Washington and Oregon (Moon Outdoors) by Tom Stienstra and Sean Patrick Hill.

In addition to these resources, don’t forget about local outdoor stores like REI or Mountain Supply. These shops often have knowledgeable staff who can provide recommendations for great waterfall hikes based on their personal experiences. Plus, they usually carry maps and trail guides that will help you navigate your way through Bend’s beautiful wilderness.

Blogs Featuring Bend Waterfall Adventures

Last, but not least, check out some blogs written by fellow adventurers who share their experiences chasing waterfalls around Bend. Here are a few examples:

  • Outdoor Project – Chasing Waterfalls: Central Oregon Edition
  • Hike Oregon – Bend Area
  • Bend Trails – Tumalo Falls Hike

It’s time to don your hiking boots and embark on a journey to witness the splendor of Tumalo Falls in Bend, Oregon.

For those seeking more information about waterfall hikes in Bend, Oregon, the internet is a great resource for finding additional resources and helpful tips. For those looking to enjoy nature on their next adventure, read ahead to learn how to make the most of your waterfall hike in Bend.

The Key Takeaway: 

Discovering the best waterfall hikes in Bend, Oregon is an exciting adventure. To assist in organizing your outing and locating the beautiful waterfalls of Central Oregon, we’ve gathered a selection of resources that will provide you with maps, guides for trails, and other necessary info. These include online resources like AllTrails and Deschutes National Forest website; guidebooks such as Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon by Adam Sawyer; local outdoor stores like REI or Mountain Supply; and blogs featuring Bend waterfall adventures.

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Enjoying the Beauty of Nature on a Waterfall Hike in Bend

Embarking on a waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon, is an incredible way to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and create lasting memories. The stunning waterfalls, lush forests, and diverse wildlife make these hikes truly unforgettable experiences.

Awe-Inspiring Waterfalls

Bend offers a variety of beautiful waterfall hikes, each with its charm. Some popular options include:

  • Tumalo Falls: These majestic falls can be reached via the Tumalo Creek Trail, which is a fairly easy hike, or by taking a short walk from the Tumalo Falls Road parking area.
  • Salt Creek Falls: Located near Willamette Pass, this great waterfall can be accessed through Salt Creek Falls Trailhead for an easy loop trail experience.
  • Koosah and Sahalie Falls: These two stunning waterfalls are located along the McKenzie River Trail and offer breathtaking views as you hike through the old-growth forest.
  • Proxy Falls: Venture into Sisters Wilderness to discover Lower Proxy Falls’ deep pool surrounded by moss-covered rocks while Upper Proxy requires a bit more effort but rewards hikers with churning water cascading over basalt cliffs.

Lush Forests & Diverse Wildlife

The trails leading to these beautiful waterfalls often pass through lush forests within Deschutes National Forest or other protected areas like Smith Rock State Park. Keep your eyes peeled for various species of birds, deer, squirrels, and even the occasional elk or black bear. Remember to respect their space and observe from a safe distance.

Additional Outdoor Activities

Beyond waterfall hikes, Bend offers plenty of other outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Consider exploring more of the Deschutes River Trail, visiting Whychus Falls, picnicking at Lava Island Falls’ picnic area, or hiking in the breathtaking Sisters Wilderness.

Photography Opportunities

The stunning landscapes surrounding these waterfall hikes provide ample opportunities for photography enthusiasts to capture incredible shots. Whether you’re an amateur photographer with a smartphone or a professional with high-end equipment, don’t forget to bring your camera along on your hike.

Tips for Capturing Beautiful Waterfall Photos

  1. Use a tripod for stability when shooting long exposures.
  2. Experiment with different shutter speeds to achieve desired motion blur effects.
  3. Consider using polarizing filters to reduce glare and enhance colors in your photos.
  4. Aim for early morning or late afternoon lighting conditions when possible – this will help avoid harsh shadows and overexposure issues commonly found during midday hours.

No matter which waterfall hike you choose in Bend, Oregon, be prepared to encounter awe-inspiring natural beauty that will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired by Mother Nature’s wonders. Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes and bring snowshoes if necessary.

The Key Takeaway: 

Embark on a waterfall hike in Bend, Oregon to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty and create lasting memories. The area offers a variety of stunning waterfalls, lush forests with diverse wildlife, and plenty of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Don’t forget your camera to capture incredible shots.

FAQs about Waterfall Hikes in Bend Oregon

Does Bend Oregon have waterfalls?

Yes, Bend Oregon is home to several stunning waterfalls. Some popular waterfall hikes in the area include Tumalo Falls, Paulina Falls, and Dillon Falls. These natural wonders offer breathtaking views and a chance to explore the beautiful landscapes of Central Oregon.

What waterfall is between Eugene and Bend?

Sahalie Falls is a spectacular waterfall located between Eugene and Bend along Highway 126. It’s part of the McKenzie River Trail system, which offers various hiking opportunities for visitors to enjoy this picturesque cascade surrounded by lush forests.

What is the most visited waterfall in Oregon?

Multnomah Falls is considered the most visited waterfall in Oregon due to its easy accessibility from Portland and impressive height of 620 feet. Located within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, it attracts millions of visitors annually who come to admire its majestic beauty.

What Oregon waterfall has a cave behind it?

Terwilliger Hot Springs (also known as Cougar Hot Springs) features an enchanting hidden gem – Rider Creek Waterfall with a small cave behind it. This unique feature allows adventurous hikers an opportunity to walk or wade through shallow waters while exploring this fascinating geological formation.


From Tumalo Falls to Proxy Falls, there are many options for both easy and challenging hikes. Proper gear, planning, and safety considerations are important for an enjoyable hike.

If you’re looking for a memorable outdoor adventure, consider exploring the waterfall hikes in Bend Oregon. For those seeking an unforgettable adventure, Bend Oregon has a wide variety of waterfall hikes to explore. Check out Sunriver Resort’s Project: Time Off to plan your next vacation and experience all that Central Oregon has to offer!

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