Are you looking for the best waterfalls near Bend, Oregon?
You’ve come to the right place.
My husband and I are avid hikers and have spent the past three years exploring Bend extensively because he was commissioned to create a video for Visit Bend (you can see the video further below).
In that time, we’ve hiked to every waterfall in Bend and then some! Below is a list of our absolute favorite waterfall hikes in Bend that we recommend personally to our family and friends.
I’m not one for small talk, so let’s get to the good stuff!
Who am I and why should you trust my list of the best hikes in Oregon?
I’m a lifelong Oregonian! I was raised in Portland and spent most of my childhood hiking and camping throughout Oregon thanks to my outdoorsy family.
Shortly after meeting my husband (who moved to Oregon from Georgia) we embarked on a whirlwind tour of Oregon because I wanted to show it off. We visited every corner and popped off at every small town we passed.
We both thoroughly enjoy hiking (and living in Oregon) and took it upon ourselves to find the best waterfall hikes, and general epic Bend hikes, to share with anyone interested in planning a trip to our state.
Best Waterfalls Near Bend, Oregon
Jaw-dropping waterfalls in Bend, Oregon almost seem commonplace but not all of them are as easily accessible as Proxy Falls.
Offering a spectacular treat for very little effort, this scenic waterfall hike in Oregon is one of the best ways to stretch your legs before brunch.
The 1.5-mile loop trail meanders through a healthy forest that loops around two waterfalls. The first waterfall on the hike is Lower Proxy Falls.
When you reach the falls you may notice some folks getting really close to the base, the area is ripe for exploration just make sure you’re wearing proper shoes because it’s very easy to slip.
The massive log in front of the waterfall is a popular spot for folks to take photos but I was too nervous to get on it because it was so slick (ha!) but I saw plenty of other folks having a blast, the adventure is up to you.
The second stop along the trail is Upper Proxy Falls and you would be remiss to skip it!
Both of these waterfalls are incredible and serve as proof that Oregon has some of the best waterfalls in the country.
Do you like hiking, waterfalls and experience nature sans crowds? Well, have I got the best waterfall in Oregon for you.
Marion Falls is a great waterfall hike in Bend for anyone that feels an epic waterfall experience has to be earned through effort. Listen, more power to you!
This epic Bend waterfall hike follows a 4.5-mile trail that is rarely busy because most folks opt to see waterfalls that don’t require much hiking. Thankfully, Oregon can satisfy the needs of both.
The hike leading up to Marion Falls guides you through a healthy and dense coniferous forest that meanders past a scenic river.
You may need to scramble up boulders towards the end of the hike to reach the falls, but let’s get real — it’s this the waterfall adventure you had in mind?
You thrill seeker, you.
Image courtesy of Travel Oregon
Salt Creek Falls (The Second Highest Waterfall in Oregon)
Located within the vast and beautiful Willamette National Forest lies the second-tallest single drop waterfall in Oregon.
The hike leading to this Bend waterfalls is relatively short, so it’s definitely worth the effort.
The first viewpoint is easily accessible directly from the parking lot but the other view requires a short hike. The paved trail will take you into a breathtaking canyon before spitting you out at the base of the waterfall.
The powerful force of this 286-foot waterfall in Bend is a sight to behold.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia
Sahalie & Koosah Falls
Sahalie and Koosah Falls is another great Oregon waterfall hike for families because it’s good for all skill levels. In fact, both waterfalls are visible from parking lot viewing platforms but the best way to experience these Oregon falls is by hiking closer to them.
An easy 2.6-mile loop trail takes hikers past both Koosah and Sahalie Falls while offer breathtaking scenery of moss-laden towering trees and the scenic McKenzie River.
Of the two waterfalls, Sahalie is larger (dropping 100 feet over a lava dam) but 70-foot Koosah is the crowd pleaser. In any case, hike to both and see which you prefer for yourself.
Image courtesy of Rove
Tumalo Falls is arguably the prettiest waterfall in Bend because it looks picture-perfect. An impressive force of nature, this waterfall cascades nearly 100 feet before splashing into a log-jammed pool below.
Encapsulated by a healthy pine forest, this whole scene looks like a scene from a fairy tale. So you probably won’t be surprised to learn that Tumalo Falls gets very crowded.
Since this is one of the easiest waterfall hikes near Bend to access (you can see it from the parking lot), it’s a popular pop-off spot for folks en route to Bend.
Thankfully, there’s a great little viewpoint that requires no effort to get to. But if you’d like to avoid crowds, I suggest trekking to the upper viewpoint to get a unique vantage point from the top of Tumalo Falls.
The 0.5-mile trail is well maintained and easy to follow and offers an opportunity to spot a handful of smaller waterfalls along the way.
Tip: The parking lot fills up very quickly, so come early or carpool with friends. I noticed a lot of bikers during my visit, make sure to watch out for them on the trail — it’s a popular mountain bike trail.
Further Reading: 15 JAW-DROPPING Hikes Near Bend, Oregon
More GREAT Bend Waterfall Hikes (Honorable Mentions)
I consider Dillion Falls a great waterfall in Bend, but am reluctant to list it as a hike because you can drive up directly to the waterfall. However, it’s very beautiful so it’s a great stop if you need a break from driving the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway.
Once you reach the waterfall, simply park your car and take a peak.
Image credit Northwest Waterfall Survey
Whychus Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Bend. But goodness, due to the devastating fires that closed the trailhead for a while, it is so challenging to find!
Plus, it doesn’t help that GPS routes you down the wrong road and you’ll end up losing service in this area of the forest. It can be a frustrating experience if you’re not properly prepared.
The most helpful blog post I’ve found on the right directions can be found here.
You should be able to park directly at the trailhead, which will make the nearly 5-mile hike much more manageable.
The trail takes you through a burned forest, which is a very strange feeling. I’d like to say there’s beauty in it, but honestly, it just made me sad. However, we were on a mission to find the waterfall, so we continued on.
The trail ends at the rim of a canyon overlooking Chush Falls but most hikers choose to traverse down to the base. The trail is steep and slippery, so proper hiking shoes are non-negotiable.
However, when you reach the waterfall, you’ll instantly see why this is one of the more popular waterfall hikes in Bend, it’s breathtaking!
Tips for exploring the best waterfalls in Bend, Oregon
Leave no trace
- If you’re unfamiliar with Leave No Trace, it’s a measure to be a good steward of the land. You can read about the seven principals of Leave No Trace here.
You + Sunscreen = Best Friends (Forever)
- I swear by this sunscreen (and so do 5,000+ other people), I discovered it in France and now buy it in bulk. It works like a charm and doesn’t leave strange residue or smells, you’ll NEVER catch me without it!
Best time to see waterfalls
- Waterfalls vary by season, so based on the time of year you choose to hike to a waterfall in Oregon you will see drastically different results. Hiking conditions are ideal during the pleasant summer months but most waterfalls reduce to a trickle.
- Hiking in winter is dangerous but the weather conditions completely transform the landscape and the force of the waterfall is greatly intensified. There’s no bad time to do an Oregon waterfall hike, just be aware that the seasons affect the waterfall condition.
Wear hiking boots with good traction
- Even though (most) Oregon waterfall trails are well maintained, exposed roots are common. It’s easy to trip on the trail, so set yourself up for success by wearing proper shoes. These are my hiking boots and I’d sleep in them if I could.
Best Waterfalls Near Bend (Post Summary)
- Proxy Falls
- Marion Falls
- Salt Creek Falls
- Sahalie & Koosah Falls
- Tumalo Falls
Where to stay in Bend, Oregon
Bend has a plethora of great hotels to choose from. In recent years the prices have increased but you can still find a deal if you’re willing to visiting Bend during the off season. The following options are my favorite hotels in Bend.
- The Oxford Hotel is hard to beat, mostly because of the complimentary glasses of wine. This hotel is on the higher end in quality and price, but if you’re looking to spoil yourself for the weekend, it’s your best bet.
- Riverhouse on the Deschutes: The Deschutes River runs through this recently renovated property. This hotel offers a slight reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city, while being just a few minutes from downtown. If you’re looking for a relaxing weekend, this is a great option.
- Tetherow Lodge: This lodge is right in the heart of everything! It opened in 2014 and offers premium lodging with great views and an award-winning golf course.
Camping in Bend, Oregon
- Camping is allowed on the outskirts of the city on the national forests. Pitch a tent and invite some friends. Here’s our 10 FAVORITE campsites in Bend.
Best Restaurants Bend
Chances are high that you’ll need to grab something to eat after your epic waterfall hikes in Bend, Oregon.
Thankfully, Bend has an incredible food scene and you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy. Eating is a social event and it’s common to see large groups gathered together late into the evening. Here’s a roundup of my favorite restaurants in Bend:
- McKay Cottage Restaurant is a great spot for breakfast. I wish I could start every day with a meal from this place, and apparently so does half of Bend. This place gets very busy during the brunch hour, but the food is well worth the wait, try their pancakes and you’ll know what I mean. If you choose to brave the line, help yourself to a hot cup of coffee while you wait. There’s a self-serve station by the host.
- Jackson’s Corner became an instant favorite of mine. The warm homemade bread (need I say more?) and the quality ingredients shine through in these delicious meals. We visited the eastside location on a Sunday morning and had to wait an hour, this place gets very busy but there’s a good reason for it.
- Sparrow Bakery for their famous Ocean Rolls – a signature Bend pastry made from scratch every day of the week. Without giving away the goose, allow me to say the recipe starts with traditional croissant dough made on-site, enhanced with cardamom, sugar and vanilla. It is heavenly, I spent the entire day thinking about it.
- Spork (a Mexican fusion restaurant) is the best choice. The food here is so, so delicious and unique, we went back two days in a row. $20 says you will too. The line is out the door during dinner rush and sometimes late into the evening. Come early, come hungry.
- For dinner pick a brewery, any brewery! We like to try a new one each time we visit (there’s so many to choose from!). I can confidently recommend any of the following breweries for great food and even better beer.
- 10 Barrel Brewing (my favorite, seasonal salad is divine), Deschutes Brewery & Public House, Immersion Brewing, Sunriver Brewing, Three Creeks Brewing, Bend Brewing, Crux.