Adventure: An Off-Season Tumalo Falls Hike in Deschutes National Forest
Let's go chasing waterfalls.
A few weeks ago, I headed to Central Oregon with the family for a little R&R.
I love Bend. Not only does Bend have the highest daily average of clear skies in the state (158/365 days of the year), it's consistently ranked as one of the best beer towns in the U.S., there are tons of things to do if you love the outdoors (hiking, camping, horseback riding, skiing, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, etc., etc.,), and it's absolutely beautiful. If you're planning a trip to Oregon, Bend is only about a 3-hour drive from Portland. It's the perfect spot for an extended weekend getaway— which is exactly what my family did.
We spent the first part of our trip riding bikes around Sunriver, taste testing craft beer flights at couple local breweries on the Bend Ale Trail, and by day three I was eager to hit the hiking trails.
The original plan was to head over to Smith Rock State Park for the entire day, but being as it was 30 degrees and snowing that plan was swiftly vetoed. Luckily, my dad and I think alike and we headed to Tumalo Falls in Deschutes National Forest instead. The weather was beautiful by the time we reached the Skyliner Trailhead— blue skies and light snowflakes, the works. I love hiking with my dad because, of course, it's great spending time with him and also because he has taught me so much about the outdoors. While we walked to the falls, we checked the trees for signs of deer and elk, investigated the work being done on the creek, and wondered what it would have been like to have explored Central Oregon a hundred years ago.
In the off-season, the route to Tumalo Falls is an easy 3-mile walk up a closed service road. Once the Tumalo Falls trailhead opens, the "hike" will only be a short walk up to the viewpoint. That being said, the view and the Tumalo Creek area is well worth further exploring. If these pictures don't convince you to hot tail it over to Central Oregon then I don't know what will. I've hiked to my fair share of waterfalls and Tumalo is easily my new favorite.