10 Stunning Waterfalls In Bend, Oregon

Central Oregon is an absolutely dream for waterfall lovers. I mean, the entire state of Oregon is littered with ever-flowing falls, each one trying to steal your attention from the next!

If you’re looking for a beautiful and scenic escape in Central Oregon specifically, then exploring the various waterfalls in Bend, Oregon is the perfect activity for you!

With dozens of stunning waterfalls located within close proximity to each other, you’ll be able to enjoy a waterfall hike that is both peaceful and doesn’t take you a whole day to get to.

So pack your bags and get ready to explore some of the most amazing waterfalls in the Bend area.

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10 Stunning Waterfalls Near Bend, Oregon

Here are the top waterfalls in Bend that you need to add to your next itinerary.

1. Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls Bend, Oregon - Travels With Elle

A fan favorite, Tumalo Falls is a must-see when visiting Bend. It’s the quintessential option if you’re looking for a short and easy hike with a big payoff. With a drop of over 200 feet, this spectacular waterfall is one of the tallest in Oregon.

In fact, this is easily one of Bend’s most popular waterfalls. One of the reasons for this is its proximity to Bend. Tumalo Falls is located just outside of Bend, Oregon in the Deschutes National Forest. You can reach the trailhead by driving less than 30 minutes from Downtown Bend, leaving lots of time in the rest of your day for other adventures!

To get there, take Highway 20 West for about 15 miles. The falls are right off the road and there is a large parking area.

There is a short, easy trail to get to the viewing platform where you can see the falls. The trail is about 0.25 miles long and is mostly flat with a few stairs.

To extend your adventure, do the 7-mile Tumalo Falls Loop Hike. For outdoor enthusiasts who like to hike, this is so worth it! Once you’ve reached the first falls, continue meandering along the trail where you’ll encounter a series of smaller falls waiting to be discovered.

  • Distance: No hike required OR 6.5 miles
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Required? Yes. Parking at this site requires a recreation pass. You can check here for more information about recreation passes and where they can be purchased.
  • Other Notes: No dogs allowed. Vault toilets available.

Tumalo Falls Loop - Things to Do in Bend, Oregon - Travels With Elle

2. Koosah Waterfall

Koosah Falls - Waterfalls In Bend OR

Koosah Waterfall is located just 1 hour outside of Bend, Oregon. This fall is located along the McKenzie River in the Cascade Mountains and can be an easy destination if you are hiking the famous McKenzie River National Recreation Trail.

Thanks to the lava that poured down the McKenzie River Valley 3000 or so years ago, we today have these steep dropoffs where both Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls tumble over.

With two drop-dead gorgeous waterfalls within easy hiking distance of each other (with the second being Sahalie Falls), it’s no wonder that the Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls are at the top of our list.

Koosah Waterfall is one of the taller waterfalls in the area, standing at around 70 feet (21 m) tall. The water flows down from a large cliff into a deep pool below. There are also several other smaller waterfalls nearby that are worth exploring, such as Sahalie Falls below!

Each waterfall has its own parking lot, making it easy for visitors to see them within a short walk, but if you’re open to hiking, the loop hike is certainly more rewarding.

  • Distance: No hike required (both falls have roadside viewpoints) OR 2.6 miles
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? Parking is free; no pass is required.
  • Other Notes: Viewing platform is wheelchair accessible at Sahalie only. No toilet at Koosah Falls. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.

Pro Tip: Both Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls can be seen on the same hike. You can start from either waterfall trailhead, but parking is usually less congested at the Koosah Falls trailhead.

3. Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls - Waterfalls In Bend OR

Sahalie Falls is another one of the most popular waterfalls in Bend, Oregon. It is located just a 1-hour drive from downtown Bend, making it very easy to get to.

Sahalie Falls is a beautiful waterfall that flows over a natural dam about 100 feet into a large pool of water. The water is always very cold, even in the summertime!

Just like for Koosah Falls, you can see this waterfall without much effort at all. If you’re starting at the Sahalie Falls parking area, walk just 100 yards down to the viewpoint of the falls. The viewpoint is railed and gives you a great view of the waterfall.

However, if you’re up for a short 2.6-mile hike, we recommend hiking! From the viewpoint, head left, following the ‘Waterfall Trail’.

So, if you’re looking for a 2-for-1 type of day, consider both Koosah and Sahalie Falls near Bend, Oregon!

  • Distance: No hike required (both falls have viewpoints about 100 feet from their respective parking lots) OR 2.6 miles
  • Type of Trail: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? Parking is free; no pass is required.
  • Other Notes: Viewing platform is wheelchair accessible. Accessible restrooms with vault toilet at Sahalie Falls only. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.

Read More: 25+ Fun and Exciting Things To Do In Bend, Oregon

4. Chush Falls

Chush Falls - Best Waterfalls In Bend Oregon

Chush Falls on Whychus Creek is a local favorite in Central Oregon. It is located just a short drive from Sisters, Oregon and is well worth the visit. If you’re looking for a beautiful waterfall with an easy hike that’s not super overpopulated with hikers, this is the one!

The Chush Falls Trail enters the Three Sisters Wilderness shortly after leaving the trailhead. Three Sisters and Broken Top are both visible during this hike. The falls are beautiful and the entire hike there is very peaceful.

Pro Tip: If there’s been rain recently, bring some bug repellent!

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Type of Trail: Out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Parking Required? Wilderness Permits are required for both day use and overnight stays from this trailhead. Day use permits are free, self-issued, and available at the trailhead between June 15 and October 15.
  • Other Notes: Dogs are allowed.

5. Benham Falls

Benham Falls - Waterfalls In Bend Oregon

Looking for a waterfall that resembles rapids a bit more? Benham Falls is what you’re looking for.

Benham Falls is located just outside of Bend, Oregon, and is about a 20-minute drive from town. The falls are located in the Deschutes National Forest on the Little Deschutes River.

The Benham Falls trail is a great option for those looking for a short and easy day near Bend, Oregon. The falls are beautiful and the views from the observation deck are definitely worth your while! Benham is the biggest and the most impressive one of these rapid-like falls in the area. To get the best views of it, head to the Benham Falls Overlook.

The falls are accessible via a short, easy hike from the parking area. After about a quarter of a mile, you will reach an observation deck where you can see the Benham Falls cascading down a volcanic rock face.

Fancy a bit longer of an adventure? You can extend your visit by starting at Benham, but continuing to both Dillon Falls and Lava Island Falls. This out-and-back hike clocks in at 6.8 miles.

These waterfalls are all accessed by the Deschutes River Trail, and all of them were formed by the lava channels that were formed by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago.

To get to the falls, take Highway 97 North out of Bend and turn left onto Benham Road. Follow this road for about two miles until you reach the parking area for the falls.

  • Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? Yes. Parking at this site requires a recreation pass. You can check here for more information about recreation passes and where they can be purchased.
  • Other Notes: Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Vault toilets available.

Read More: 17 Best Road Trip Stops from Portland To Bend, Oregon

6. Salt Creek Falls

Salt Creek Falls - Waterfalls In Bend Oregon

Salt Creek Falls is a breathtaking 286 feet tall waterfall near Bend, Oregon. In fact, it’s the state’s second tallest waterfalls! This is one of Oregon’s most powerful falls, with an average yearly flow of 50,000 gallons per minute surging over the rocks.

It is located in the Deschutes National Forest about a 1 hour 20 minute drive southwest of Bend, making it a quick half-day trip from Downtown Bend.

The falls are pretty easy to get to and there is a large parking area that visitors can roll up right into. The primary observation platform at the top of the waterfall is only 50 yards from the parking lot. There are also several picnic tables and a few hiking trails here.

There’s also a steep trail that takes you from the platform to the waterfall’s base so you can really get up close and personal with this gorgeous waterfall.

The park facilities close in winter but it’s great for snowshoeing, and the falls are definitely a sight to see when encrusted by ice.

There are also some other waterfalls in the area (such as Diamond Creek Falls), so if you are looking for additional waterfalls, consider hiking the easy 3.7-mile Diamond Creek Falls Loop Hike to see Diamond Creek Falls as well.

  • Distance: No hiking required OR 1 mile (or 3.7-mile loop hike to see Diamond Creek Falls)
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? Yes. Parking at this site requires a recreation pass. There is also a pay station onsite. You can check here for more information about recreation passes and where they can be purchased.
  • Other Notes: Salt Creek Falls Observation Site is wheelchair accessible right off the parking lot. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Restrooms are available.

7. Steelhead Falls

Steelhead Falls - Waterfalls In Bend Oregon

Steelhead Falls is a little gem located just outside of Bend, Oregon. These falls, while not the tallest, are a set of beautiful wide falls with seafoam green and blue colors.

The falls are about 40 feet tall and flow into the Deschutes River. Again, they aren’t tall, but wide and cascading. There is even a swimming hole at the base of the falls that is super popular in the summer!

The Falls Creek Trailhead is located just across from the parking area for Steelhead Falls. This 2.0-mile out-and-back trail follows Falls Creek for about a mile to Upper Steelhead Falls. There is also a trail that connects Lower and Upper Steelhead Falls. This trail is about a half mile long and is considered to be moderate in difficulty.

All in all, it’s a relatively easy hike in and out with just one steep section. Of note, the trail can be slippery and sandy at times.

To get there, take Highway 97 North out of Bend for about 22 miles. Turn left onto Steelhead Falls Road and follow it for about a mile to the falls.

Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and a picnic for this one!

  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Type of trail: Out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Parking Required? Parking is free; no pass is required.

8. Cline Falls

Cline Falls - Best Waterfalls In Bend Oregon

Just 30 minutes from Bend sits Cline Falls, with its mesmerizing cascades best seen in the springtime. Cline Falls State Park and Scenic Viewpoint on the Deschutes River is located 4 miles west of Redmond at the Mackenzie Highway Bridge.

This beautiful waterfall makes for a great pitstop on your way to or from Steelhead Falls. And the best part is, it’s so easy to get to!

There are a number of different ways to approach the falls, but we recommend the view from the east side of the river. Start at the Cline Falls State Scenic Viewpoint parking lot, where you’ll be able to enjoy an easy 0.6-mile walk that’ll leads to the waterfalls.

When you get there, don’t be surprised when there’s no waterfall in sight. It’s actually a picnic area with bathrooms, tables, and parking. This is also a popular ending point for inner tubing and rafting down the Deschutes.

From here, start walking! It’ll be a fairly easy 1.2-mile out-and-back hike, with not a ton of altitude gain.

  • Distance: 1.2 mile
  • Type of trail: Out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? No. Parking is free.
  • Other Notes: Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas.

9. Watson Falls

Watson Falls - Waterfalls Near Bend OR

Watson Falls is another great waterfall in Oregon. This is one of the farther ones on this list, clocking in at just under a 2-hour drive from Bend, OR. But we had to add it because its height is truly a sight to see! If you’re heading on a road trip from Bend to Crater Lake National Park, this is a great detour stop.

Watson Falls is the tallest waterfall in southwest Oregon with its 293-foot drop. Its impressive continuous drop can be seen from two viewpoints along this 1 mile, family-friendly loop trail. Watson Falls has flow year-round, but we recommend going in spring where you’ll find the water flow raging!

The trailhead provides ample parking with picnic tables tucked inside the forest just off the pavement. If you’re interested in learning more about how the fall was formed, you’ll find various informative signs in the parking area that explain the geology of the falls.

The Watson Falls trailhead provides access to Watson Falls via a 0.4-mile trail. A wooden bridge crosses Watson Creek 0.3 miles from the trailhead, offering an excellent view of the falls.

From Bend, take US-97 south for a total of 75 miles, then take OR-138 west for 39 miles. Turn left onto NF-37 at a sign for Watson Falls and continue for 0.2 miles to the large trailhead on your right.

  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Type of trail: Loop
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? No. Parking is free.
  • Other Notes: Dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas.

10. Proxy Falls

Proxy Falls - Waterfalls Near Bend OR

Proxy Falls is a very unique waterfall located in the Willamette National Forest about a 1.5-hour drive from Bend, Oregon. The falls are accessible via a short hike from the Proxy Falls Trailhead, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Bend on Highway 242.

Proxy Falls’ size is spectacular–especially when you’re standing right underneath it! It’s truly no wonder why it’s one of the most popular waterfalls in the Cascade Range. You won’t be able to get enough of its multiple tiers and unique rock formations.

Keep in mind that there are two falls (Upper Proxy Falls and Lower Proxy Falls), so make sure to stop at both.

The best time to visit Proxy Falls is in the spring or early summer, when the snowmelt from the Cascades fills the waterfall with gushing water. However, even during the dry summer months, the falls often have a good flow of water.

If you’re looking for a breathtaking waterfall to add to your list of places to visit while in Bend, Oregon, be sure to put Proxy Falls near the top!

  • Distance: 1.5 miles
    Type of Trail: Loop
    Difficulty: Easy
  • Parking Required? A valid Recreation Pass is required at Proxy Falls Trailhead (free with the Interagency Annual Pass).
    • Wilderness Permits are also required for both day use and overnight stays from this trailhead. Day use permits are free, self-issued, and available at the trailhead between June 15 and October 15.
  • Other Notes: Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. Vault toilets available.

Map Of Waterfalls In Bend, Oregon

 


Where To Stay In Bend, Oregon

We love staying in Bend whenever we get the chance! Our top recommendations include these super-stylish and affordable hotels:

  • LOGE Bend – Features stylish, rustic rooms; LOGE provides city bikes that are complimentary for use and offers evening entertainment and a shared kitchen.
  • Riverhouse on the Deschutes – A clean, spacious, pet-friendly hotel featuring a restaurant, seasonal outdoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, and a bar. Downtown Bend is 5 minutes’ drive away.
  • Pine Ridge Inn – Located 2 miles from Downtown Bend, Pine Ridge Inn is just 1 mile away from the Old Mill District. They offer very open and spacious suites with king-sized beds and a sofa bed. They are pet-friendly and offer an awesome free breakfast.

Essential Packing List For Adventuring In Bend, OR

  • GoPro | Capture all those awesome action/adventure moments with a top of the line action camera. Your regular camera or iPhone won’t be an option if you’re engaging in action sports like mountain biking, rock climbing, or whitewater rafting. For water sports, you could always get a waterproof case, but GoPro has time and time again proven to be the best for underwater photography.
  • Inflatable Float Tube | If you plan on floating down the river, definitely invest in one of these, they’re comfortable and even come with cup holders!
  • Daypack | I’m a fan of the Osprey Daylite Daypack. It has ample room for all the snacks and water you’ll need, as well as for your camera and the safety essentials for the hike.
  • Hiking Boots | If you plan on hiking, bring well broken-in boots with good ankle support and good traction. My all-time favorites are the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid Boots. They’re one of the lightest boots in its class, very durable, and provide out-of-the-box comfort, which is extremely important if you want to prevent blisters from the start.
  • Hiking Socks | Make sure you have a good pair of cushioned wool hiking socks. For extra toe protection and to prevent blisters from developing from skin-to-skin contact, go with a pair of Injinji toe socks.
  • Adventure Sandals | Tevas and Chacos are my go-to brands for multipurpose summer sandals. If you’re planning on spending some time on the river or at the Cascade Lakes, you should definitely consider getting adventure sandals — they’re comfortable for long-distance walking, safe for submerging in water, and super durable.
  • Waterproof Rain Jacket | A lightweight waterproof rain jacket is critical for any outdoor adventure. Since these weight virtually nothing and are so easily packable, I recommend you carry one with you whenever you head outdoors. Depending on the weather forecast and chance of precipitation, I’ll either go with a rain shell or a puffier windbreaker. Despite the options I have here, one thing is for sure— I’m never without some sort of outer layer. My top recommendations are Marmot Men’s PreCip (for men) and The North Face Women’s Venture 2 Jacket (for women).
  • Puffy Jacket | You’re going to need layers in Bend. The high desert climate brings chilly evenings year-round, even on warm summer days. You have a lot of options here, but I personally have the North Face Thermoball, and it’s kept me warm throughout my many years of outdoor adventuring!
  • Hat, Bandana, or Buff | Sun protection is key for any outdoor destination. Keep the sun off your skin with a fancy sunhat, bandana, or a Buff. All three can be used to shield your neck or forehead from the sun. As a bonus, bandanas and Buffs can be used as headbands to keep hair and sweat off of your face. Soak your bandana or Buff then put it on your head, face, or neck for a quick cool down.
  • Travel Towel | These are light and quick-drying, which is exactly what you need when you’re hopping from a river to a car. This one here is a great option.
  • Insect Repellent Lotion | Mosquitos love hot and wet climates, so I would definitely recommend packing insect repellent with a high DEET percentage if you’re traveling in the summer and plan to be on the water. Sawyer makes some really great bug repellent products, and they’re travel-friendly too!
  • Hand Sanitizer Hand sanitizer gel or wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched. Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
  • Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes | Feeling a bit gross after a hike but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher. The feminine wipes I like are infused with cucumber and aloe. Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. Always good to have a few handy in your travel bag.
  • Headlamp / Flashlight | Being able to find your way through the wilderness or through lava caves in darkness is essential, so you should always carry a light source with you, even if you don’t plan on staying out past sunset. An LED headlamp allows you to hike hands-free and is my preferred source of light. FYI, the flashlight on your smartphone is not an adequate substitute– the light is not bright enough, plus it’ll drain your battery life, which may be critical in an emergency. Always carry extra batteries.
  • Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures, GPSing to all the great breweries and eateries… the last thing you want is to be stranded with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
  • Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated throughout the day with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!

Looking for more Oregon travel tips? You may also enjoy:

25+ Fun and Exciting Things To Do In Bend, Oregon

9 Epic Weekend Road Trips From Portland, Oregon To Take This Year

The Perfect Oregon Road Trip: Portland To Crater Lake National Park And The Stops Inbetween

12 Exciting Things To Do In The Columbia River Gorge For A Perfect Day Trip

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