Waterfalls Near Bend Oregon – Best Ones to Visit When in Bend!

Hiking is super fun and especially when your destination is a waterfall view, it’s all worth it.

Bend, Oregon is a city you shouldn’t be missing out on exploring if you’re a traveler and an adventurer. There’s so much greenery around and the waterfall hikes in Bend, Oregon give you an ‘out of this world’ kind of vibe.

Bend is the county seat of Oregon and the largest city in that state. Due to its low population density, Bend is the de facto metropolis of Central Oregon despite its modest size.

Oregon is full of beautiful hikes, greenery, and especially the best waterfalls to visit! The routes to these waterfalls are mostly of easy to moderate difficulty level but some are actually pretty much hard too. But the toughest climbs often lead to the most beautiful views. So, the journeys shouldn’t scare you!

Out of so many amazing waterfalls, we’ve picked up a few breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls that are definitely must-see. In fact, there are a lot of places to swim in Bend, Oregon too. And so, if you’re a visitor or a local and you love swimming, Oregon has a lot to offer you.

How Much Rain Does Bend Oregon Get?

Bend receives less than 12 inches of annual precipitation, more than half of which falls between November and February. The majority of light rainfall occurs during summer thunderstorms. On average, 33.8 inches of snowfall annually. Only one winter out of twenty in Bend sees snow depths exceeding 24 inches.

Waterfalls Near Bend Oregon – Best Waterfalls to Visit

Outdoor enthusiasts will find everything they want to see in Bend! There are so many waterfalls in the surrounding areas you can’t help but be amazed!

Our top favorite waterfalls within driving distance of Bend in Central Oregon are listed below. Consider these Central Oregon waterfalls a must-see, whether you are a local, a visitor, or just checking out the area.

  1. Tumalo Falls Hike
  2. Sahalie and Koosah Falls
  3. Peter Skene Ogden Trail
  4. Steelhead Falls Hike
  5. Proxy Falls
  6. Linton Falls
  7. Marion Falls
  8. Benham, Dillon and Lava Island Falls
  9. Whychus and Church Falls
  10. Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls
  11. Three Sisters Wilderness Area Trails
  12. Broken Hand Summit via Broken top Trail

1. Tumalo Falls Hike – The Most Popular Among Tourists

ABOUT – There are moderately challenging parts to this hiking trail that leads to Tumalo falls, and it takes about 3 hours to complete. While you explore, you may encounter other people since hiking and snowshoeing are popular in this area. It is a dog-friendly path and permitted to run off-leash dogs in some areas.

Tumalo Falls Hike – The Most Popular Among Tourists

There are only a few waterfalls that attract more tourists and photographers than Tumalo Falls in central Oregon. A beautiful waterfall, 97 feet high, that can be visited any time of the year. The viewing area can be reached by driving right up to it in the summer and fall. A trail goes all the way up to the waterfall for an added perspective.

There is no road leading to the waterfall during the winter months, but this just creates an incredible opportunity to do cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The trip to the falls is 6.5 miles round trip, where you can see the ice encasing the canyon walls as it cascades over the rocks.

  • DISTANCE – Six and a half miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Loop
  • DIFFICULTY – Easy to Moderate

2. Sahalie and Koosah Falls – Central Location in Oregon

ABOUT – Located near Sisters, Oregon, the 1.4-kilometer Sahalie Falls, and Koosah Falls Trail offer a waterfall and are rated as the moderate level climb. Trail users can enjoy hiking, walking, bird watching, and other outdoor activities year-round. Dogs are allowed on this trail, but they need to be leashed.

Sahalie and Koosah Falls – Central Location in Oregon

Located in Central Oregon, a little farther out than Tumalo Falls, Sahalie Falls is a stunning waterfall with easy access. Tamolitch Blue Pool is also located just a few miles away, off State Highway 126. Even though the trailhead hike is the less popular of the two hikes, many people would visit Tamolitch Blue Pool and Sahalie Falls on the same day.

You can reach both waterfalls near Bend by following a short and easy loop trail. White water roars over a lava-formed dam in Sahalie Falls, cascading 100 feet high.

Although Koosah Falls is slightly smaller at 70 feet, its drop into a deep pool is impressive, nonetheless.

  • DISTANCE – Two and a half miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Loop
  • DIFFICULTY –Easy

3. Peter Skene Ogden Trail – Best for Swimmers

ABOUT – Near La Pine, Oregon, the Peter Skene Ogden Trail is another amazing track that features a waterfall and is moderately trafficked. It is mostly used by hikers, campers, and backpackers. This trail is dog-friendly, but dogs must be kept on a leash.

Peter Skene Ogden Trail – Best for Swimmers

It’s possible to start this trail from a variety of places, but the McKay Campground site is a good place to begin because it starts with McKay Falls, a 500-foot-tall waterfall.

During the first part of the hike, you will find Paulina Creek on your right, and after about 30 minutes, you will see the first rapids, which later turn into waterfalls.

Water slides can also be found on some of the rocks, and there are pools beneath some of the waterfalls where you can swim during the summer months. It’s a great place if you love swimming. Paulina Falls is also an excellent starting point for this hike.

  • DISTANCE – 8 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Out and Back
  • DIFFICULTY –Moderate

4. Steelhead Falls Hike

ABOUT – The hiking trail to Steelhead Falls offers spectacular views of Central Oregon’s rimrock canyons.

Despite the small incline on the return hike, this is a great short hike. After hiking from the trailhead for around a mile, you’ll reach the main falls by hiking through a winding and scenic gorge.

Steelhead Falls Hike

There’s more to the waterfall than a quick glance, however; the trail, which is open throughout the year, offers something new with every season. In spring, wildflowers line the trails and blanket the mountainsides; in summer, the pool becomes a popular spot for swimming.

However, it’s easier to hike in fall when the temperatures are cooler, and winter brings occasional snow and iciness to the canyon, creating a particularly dramatic spectacle.

If you wish, you can bring your swimsuit and enjoy a refreshing dip at the base of the falls. There is no other ‘true’ swimming hole on the Deschutes like this! Fishing here is also popular.

  • DISTANCE – 2 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Out and Back
  • DIFFICULTY –Moderate

5. Proxy Falls

ABOUT – Among Central Oregon’s most photogenic waterfalls is Proxy Falls. This waterfall is 225 feet tall and cascades over moss-covered rocks in a scene reminiscent of a fairy-tale.

Proxy Falls

You’d best tackle this trail from late spring through early fall, as snow can make the trail dangerous in the winter. The best time to approach it is during the summer when Bend’s starting point becomes easier to access.

Proxy Falls Trail starts at the southwest end of the parking lot and heads southwest, through the Three Sisters Wilderness. The trail continues over an old lava flow. For the first half mile or so of the trail, the terrain is rocky but gradually levels off as you enter the forest.

Upon reaching the top, you can see all of the surrounding mountains, buttes, and craters located where the lava river flows. Be aware that the road up, over, and back down the pass is narrow and winding if you’ve never been there before.

You will find towering lava walls surrounding you as you drive through the lava fields before you reach the summit. For this reason, no vehicles over 35′ are permitted along this route.

  • DISTANCE – One and a half miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Loop
  • DIFFICULTY – Easy

6. Linton Falls

ABOUT – This moderately trafficked 6.9-kilometer trail provides lake views and is located near Blue River, Oregon. There is a variety of activities available on the trail, and it is best used between March and November.

Linton Falls

One of the most impressive waterfalls near Bend is Linton Falls. The most impressive part of the drop is, without a doubt, its height. The starting point for the hike is just off the Mackenzie Pass Highway, at the trailhead for Linton Lake.

It is by far the easiest part of your hike to hike the first 1.5 miles of the trail. A series of lava fields extend along the edges of the lake as you move further. The real adventure, however, begins after this, as you scramble through mud and climb steadily uphill. As you approach the lower falls, you’ll find yourself standing on the edge of a ravine.

By climbing directly upstream to the base of the upper falls, you can see the more scenic falls. The beauty and power of Linton Falls can best be appreciated from this vantage point.

  • DISTANCE – 4.3 Miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Out and Back
  • DIFFICULTY – Easy to Moderate

7. Marion Falls

ABOUT – Among the Oregon waterfalls found along Marion Creek, Marion Falls is one of at least four major ones. You may have to be prepared ahead of time if you want to reach waterfalls since there is no indication of waterfalls in the trailhead name, adjacent trails, or signs.

Marion Falls

The summer and early fall is the best time to visit. It is typically during this time of year that the trail is driest, with lush trees and flowers in bloom. Cascade Mountain runoff will feed the waterfalls during the summer, which will be spectacular to watch!

Prepare yourself for rain if you come during the late fall and spring months. In addition to the rain, you’ll get soaked by the mist coming from the falls!

Many hikers will head towards Marion Lake rather than the actual Falls on their journey to Marion Falls and Gatch Falls, causing them to miss the turn-off that leads to the falls. This waterfall is a short distance off-trail, and the views of both falls are quite close up from here.

Marion falls can be reached by hiking through a dense coniferous forest that runs alongside a scenic river!

  • DISTANCE – About 5 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Out and Back
  • DIFFICULTY – Moderate

8. Benham, Dillon, and Lava Island Falls

ABOUT – Bend is home to three major waterfalls along the Deschutes River, each distinct in its own way.

Benham Falls is the largest and most well-known. In this rocky canyon, the river chugs its way over the rocks. Getting there involves a short hike followed by a pine forest where you’ll hear birds singing and at the end, a white-water rushing.

Benham, Dillon and Lava Island Falls

On the Deschutes River Trail, Dillon Falls is the second most popular waterfall. Unlike the cascade of white water that overfalls a cliff-like Benham, the drop here is pretty much gradual. It provides some amazing views of the surrounding gorge, along with a lot more lava features. Furthermore, this place had the most magnificent sunset views!

The third one, despite its lack of fame, Lava Island Falls is extremely difficult to get to as steep, dangerous trails line the edge of the river and there are several private homes lining the edge too. The cascade drops 15 feet over two steps and a second pathway is a little smaller, but it’s perhaps the most scenic if you get to reach it by that far.

  • DISTANCE – About 7 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Out and Back
  • DIFFICULTY – Easy to Moderate

9. Whychus and Church Falls

ABOUT – A beautiful, accessible cascading waterfall just outside of Sisters, Whychus Falls is affectionately known as Church Falls by locals. In contrast to other hikes, where you usually walk through dense forests, this hike leads through an open, hilly field.

Whychus and Church Falls

Even in the summer months, this hike rarely gets crowded but offers views of both waterfalls and sweeping mountain views. In the past, the hike to the falls was just two miles round trip, but the Pole Creek Fire has ravaged the area so badly that it is now five miles round trip, or six if you want to visit the upper falls as well.

From the top, you will be able to see Church Falls, and there is then a worn-out path to the falls’ base. The best view of the drop is from this vantage point, where a lush meadow surrounds the 67-foot drop.

A passenger car with decent clearance can handle the drive to Church Falls, even if the road is rough. Directions can be found here.

  • DISTANCE – 5 to 6 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Loop
  • DIFFICULTY – Easy

10. Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls

ABOUT – The second-tallest single-drop waterfall in Oregon can be found in the vast and beautiful Willamette National Forest. It’s a relatively short hike that takes you to Bend Waterfalls, so the effort is definitely worth it.

Salt Creek Falls and Diamond Creek Falls

The trailhead for Salt Creek Falls is 1.5 hours away from each way. There is nothing like seeing Oregon’s second-highest waterfall at a height of 286 feet. There are dozens of great vantage points to admire the beauty of this tributary of the Willamette River.

After you’ve enjoyed the views from the clifftop viewpoint, you will ascend above a deep gorge before coming to Diamond Creek.

You can take a longer hike, however, into the Diamond Peak Wilderness, if you are interested. Walk through the picnic area and leave the picnic area on the Diamond Creek Falls Trail. A glittering fan of water cascades down a 90-foot drop, then continues over a series of tiers, falling another 500 feet.

  • DISTANCE – 3.7 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Loop
  • DIFFICULTY – Easy

11. Three Sisters Wilderness Area Trails

ABOUT – Located near Bend, Oregon, Three Sisters Wilderness Area Trails is 77.6 kilometers of loop trails that feature waterfalls and are only recommended for very experienced hikers. June through October are the best months to hike, run, and backpack on the trail.

Three Sisters Wilderness Area Trails

On the eastern side of this second-largest wilderness in Oregon, the snow-capped Three Sisters are absolutely stunning!

  • North Sister, 10,085 feet high
  • Middle Sister, 10,047 feet high
  • And South Sister, 10,358 feet high

You can easily compare the effects of glaciation in the Pacific Northwest with the 14 glaciers located just to the south of Broken Top at 9,175 feet. Oregon’s largest sheet of ice, Collier Glacier, lies between North and Middle Sister.

The park has 260 miles of trails, including the Pacific Crest Trail, and it attracts more people than any other Wilderness in the state.

There are several areas that are especially used and abused such as Green Lakes Sunshine Lakes and the climbing trails. On the western slopes of the Cascades and on the eastern slopes of the mountains, trails reach the wilderness through dense forests of Douglas-fir.

  • DISTANCE – 48 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Loop
  • DIFFICULTY – Hard. Recommended for experienced adventurers only.

12. Broken Hand Summit via Broken top Trail

ABOUT – The broken top trail is one of Bend’s best-kept secrets and for good reason. There is a 6-mile trail, and it also gets you to the same area as Todd Ridge Trail, but don’t let the shorter distance fool you. The hike is pretty much challenging due to the 1400 feet elevation.

Broken Hand Summit via Broken top Trail

Located near Bend, Oregon, Broken Hand Summit via Broken Top Trail has a lake and is an out-and-back trail of 10.2 kilometers with moderate traffic. It is best to use the trail between May and September for hiking and nature trips.

The views of Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top Crater will continue to impress you as you continue uphill. However, you should watch your step on this part of the trail because loose rocks and packed dirt are abundant.

In the glacier-carved valley of Broken Top, the Broken Top Trail winds its way through fragile alpine terrain. Soon after leaving the trailhead, you will enter the Three Sisters Wilderness. For use of this trailhead both during the day and during overnight stays, a wilderness permit is required.

  • DISTANCE – 6.2 miles
  • TYPE OF TRAIL – Out and Back
  • DIFFICULTY – Hard. Recommended for experienced hikers only

What to See in Bend Oregon?

Outdoor adventures are a big part of Bend’s reputation. A variety of routes await hikers and mountain bikers in this region of the country. With a long list of things to do and see in Bend, you will want to spend some time exploring the unique sights and attractions that this city has to offer.

Some of our recommendations are as follows

  • Get to know Newberry National Volcanic Monument
  • See the amazing waterfalls
  • Visit the High Desert Museum to see an animal show
  • Don’t miss out on hiking around Bend
  • Catch the sunrises and sunsets from the high viewpoints
  • Visit and explore popular parks in the area

Waterfalls Near Bend Oregon – FAQs

What waterfall in Oregon Can you walk behind?
You can walk behind North Falls as well as Lower South Falls, which cascades over moss-covered rocks. You’ll also see the stunning Double Falls during this waterfall hike in Oregon.
Are waterfalls open in Oregon?
Yes. Most of the waterfalls are open during the suitable seasons in Oregon. There are a limited number of visitors permitted at Oregon’s most popular waterfalls from 9 in the morning to 6 in the evening.
Is South Falls Oregon Open?
Yes. The South Fall, Oregon is open.

 

Waterfalls Near Bend Oregon – Final Words

As you explore Central Oregon waterfalls and overall adventures in the Pacific Northwest, you will continue to fall in love with this beautiful state as you live here longer.

We recommend that you confirm your location’s availability before you arrive if you are a local or a visitor to Oregon and planning to explore the spectacular sites. You can confirm through Oregon’s State Parks Status.

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