This is one of the “must-see” attractions in the Bend area. Tumalo Falls is iconic of this area, and it’s simply beautiful. Access is quick and easy, although you could turn it into a longer hike if you wish.
This picture is the whole reason for driving out to Tumalo Falls. It’s a postcard-perfect waterfall, 89 feet tall (or 97, according to some accounts), with a graceful, bridal-veil plunge. Below the cascade, Tumalo Creek cuts a graceful serpentine path.
It takes just a minute or two to walk from the parking area to this viewpoint. Keep in mind, you’ll need a forest pass ($5) to park here, or you can choose to display your Interagency (National Parks) Annual Pass, if you have one.
The trail gains some elevation as it climbs to the brink of the falls. Take your pick — there are great views of Tumalo Falls along the entire way.
A well-developed viewpoint lets you safely look down at the top of the waterfall.
Beyond Tumalo Falls, you can follow a trail along the creek. Immediately above the falls, you’ll find some fast-moving rapids and tiny waterfalls, like these. They’re fun to photograph, if you remembered to bring along a tripod.
Keep hiking, and you’ll come across several other sizeable waterfalls. None are quite as incredible as Tumalo Falls, but they’re still worth the effort.
You could also hike to a couple of waterfalls along Bridge Creek Trail. It splits off from the main trail, a short distance from the parking lot.
I walked up the banks of the Tumalo River for a short while, though I didn’t get far enough to see any of the other big waterfalls. This was the last stop of the day for me, and thanks to the clouds and drizzle, it was getting dark earlier than I had hoped. I reluctantly turned around, and hiked back to the car.
The Bottom Line
When in Bend, Oregon, you absolutely must find the time for a short visit to Tumalo Falls. It’s one of the most beautiful, and iconic, spots in the area. If you have more time and you feel like hiking, continue on upstream, for more waterfalls.
Tumalo Falls is about 13 miles west of downtown Bend, Oregon. In the city, locate Tumalo Avenue (which becomes Galveston Avenue), and follow it to the west. It will turn into Skyliners Road. The road eventually narrows and turns into Tumalo Falls Road. Keep going until you run into the parking area.
Check out this time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive out to the Lava Cast Forest, then on to Tumalo Falls near Bend: