Americas, Pacific Northwest

Hiking the Tumalo Falls Loop Trail, Oregon

Hiking the Tumalo Falls Loop Trail, Oregon

As one of the tallest waterfalls in the Bend region of Central Oregon, Tumalo Falls is an impressive, “must see” destination in its own right. The spectacular waterfall is just a short walk from the trailhead parking lot, making it highly accessible to the everyday explorer. Yet, what many don’t realize is how much more there is to see if you venture beyond the upper viewpoint — miles of trail surrounded by old-growth forests and lined with a bevy of additional waterfalls. All that said, less than 30 minutes from Bend, the  Tumalo Falls trail makes for the perfect day hike.

Tumalo Falls hike details

  • Distance: 7.0 miles
  • Elevation: 1,460 ft.
  • Length: ~3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • When to go: Summer – Fall

Getting to the Tumalo Falls Trail

Navigating to Tumalo Falls from Bend, Oregon is straightforward. You can use the following waypoints in your GPS:

  • Tumalo Falls Road, Bend, OR 97701
  • 44.032, -121.56635 (44° 01′ 55.19″N 121° 33′ 58.85″W

Note that the 2.5 miles leading up to the trail is a washboard, gravel road. While the road is suitable for most vehicles and some of the better gravel roads we’ve seen, it is still fairly rough.

When you arrive at the trailhead, you’ll find a fee station and small parking lot that accommodates <10 cars. Given the size of the lot, on busy days, you’ll find a line of cars parked on the side of the road (be sure to read all signs before parking). For optimal parking, it helps to arrive very early or very late, especially if you’re headed out on a weekend. We saw a line of cars parked on the shoulder even on a weekday! 

Tumalo Falls Map

The hike

It’s important to note that you’ll never hike a trail called Tumalo Falls. Instead, you’ll follow signs for the North Fork Trail leaving from the parking area. Once on the North Fork Trail, it is a short walk up to a railed viewpoint that grants a stunning view of the namesake waterfall, Tumalo Falls. Many people end their journey here, yet those who do miss out on the unfettered beauty that Tumalo Creek has to offer.

If you continue along the North Fork Trail as we did, you’ll find yourself on a wide dirt trail with a gentle grade surrounded by spruce and pine. On a hot summer day, the forest offers a cool reprieve from the heat, and after a mile, the crowds quickly thins, allowing you to explore Tumalo Creek’s many waterfalls in near solitude. One of our favorite sights on the trail is the aptly named Double Falls.

Double Falls - Tumalo Falls - Bend, Oregon
Double Falls in Bend, Oregon, along Tumalo Creek
Tumalo Falls - Bend, Oregon
View of Tumalo Creek

Tips for exploring the Tumalo Falls Trail

  • Always practice Leave No Trace when hiking.
  • At the trailhead, there are restrooms and a picnic table. 
  • This trail can be done as an out-and-back or a loop depending on how much you’re willing to hike. For a complete loop, take the North Fork Trail to the Swampy Lakes Trail to the Bridge Creek Trail. For out-and-back, take the North Fork Trail to the Swampy Lakes Trail junction and turn back.

Tumalo Falls - Bend, Oregon

Planning a trip?

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.