A short drive heading west out of Bend will get you to Tumalo Falls. It also requires driving 2.5 miles on a gravel road which can be rough in spots, but the reward is this gorgeous view of Tumalo Falls a few steps from the parking lot. This spot was pretty crowded on the October Saturday that we visited, but the crowd thinned once you got past the top of the falls.
View of the falls from the base area
A short but steep hike takes you to the top of the falls for another great view. Continue on the North Fork Trail to see more waterfalls. Be aware the mountain bikers are allowed on this trail going uphill only.
View from the top
Keep walking along the trail for another 30-45 minutes and you can see two more gorgeous waterfalls. The rest of the hike is much easier than hiking to the top of the first waterfall.
For the first part of the path you will be walking near the river and you’ll see trains down to the river where you can take a closer look. This seemed to be a popular spot.
You’ll start ascending again and eventually come to a rock outcropping which gives you a fantastic view of Double Falls. There was a log bobbing around endlessly in the lower pool. This is around the 1 mile mark.
We came across one more waterfall..and it was a loud one! You can continue to hike up to get a different viewpoint of the falls. As far as I can tell this waterfall is nameless.
At this point it had been an hour since we had left the top of the first waterfall. That included lots of time for taking sidetrails and snapping photos. This is definitely a hike that I wish I had my SLR camera with me instead of just my iphone! It took us 30 minutes to get back to the parking lot.
FACT SHEET: Tumalo Falls
Address: Tumalo Falls Rd, Bend, OR
Fees: $5/car (May 1- September 30) or NW Forest Pass
Open: May 1 – September 30
May be open later depending on snow. Check USDA site for Current Conditions. Note: We were able to enter on October 19.
View Larger Map
Just a short drive from downtown Bend, Oregon is a spot that is not to be missed – Pilot Butte. It’s a short spiraling drive up to the top of this scenic viewpoint. If you are feeling energetic you can hike to the top. This seemed a popular activity and we saw plenty of people walking, hiking and even running on Pilot Butte.
From Left to Right: Mt Bachelor, South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister
From the top of this cinder cone you have panoramic views of the surrounding mountains – even Mount Hood! In case you were wondering exactly which peaks were the Sisters and where exactly is Mt Bachelor, there is a handy plaque mapping out all the mountains. I had a deep discussion with a 7 year old girl about which mountains were the Sisters.
Handy guide to the surrounding peaks
Pilot Butte is open year round but you are going to want to wait for a nice clear day for the best viewing conditions. It would also be a great place to take in a sunrise or sunset. Aside from the mountains we had a great view of all the fall colors.
Did you know there are 11 breweries in Bend, Oregon? Just hop on the Bend Ale Trail to see them all. While you’re doing it you might as well pick up (or download) your passport. Visiting all eleven for stamps will get you a free silipint (that’s a silicon pint glass, I had to look it up) from the Bend Visitors Center. Just be sure to check the hours as the Visitors Center is closed on Sundays during their Winter hours.
On our trip to Bend last weekend Sheri and I decided we’d collect a few stamps. Our first stop was 10 Barrel Brewery on the west side of Portland. We shared a 10 glass taster tray and I ordered the Mac & Cheese while Sheri got the Steak & Gorgonzola Nachos. Next time we will just order the nachos and split it..it was huge! Sheri only at half and I was helping. My favorite beer was the Red Faucher Red Ale.
We were also lucky enough to be there for 10 Barrel’s Pumpkin Smash festival. For $10 you got a mini snifter and 5 beers. My favorite was the Pumpkin Crush – a sour weiss beer with pumpkin.
We had planned to hit up Boneyard Beer after dinner but since it’s just a tasting room it was already closed. Instead we stopped there around lunch time. Most of their beers were IPAs so I just got 2 tasters. The first was free and additional tasters are $1.
I enjoyed both beers I tasted – Diablo Rojo and Black 13. Sheri took a half growler of Fuego Rojo home.
Since we decided to take 20/22 back to Portland we figured we’d stop at the extra credit brewery – Three Creeks in Sisters. The taster tray cost $9 for 6 beers.
Interestingly they had 2 rye beers in the taster tray. I loved the Stonefly Rye but not the Raptor Rye IPA. We got a taste of a bourbon barrel aged porter that was amazing, but I don’t remember what it was called.
So that’s 3 down and 9 to go!