Sahalie Falls.

Sahalie Falls.

Are you looking for a beautiful hike along a river, with some beautiful waterfalls? Well if you are, grab your CamelBak, other Hydration Pack or Hydro Flask, check out some hiking tips, and get ready for a beautiful hike!

The Waterfalls Loop Trail hike along the McKenzie River to Sahalie and Koosah Falls is about 3 miles long, and is available to hikers and mountain bikers. You access this trail where Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls mark the end of two flows of basaltic andesite lava that dammed Clear Lake and moved into the McKenzie River area over 3,000 years ago. The result of all this geologic activity is two spectacular waterfalls with foaming white water cascades in between.

Waterfalls Loop Trail on the McKenzie River

View photo gallery of Sahalie and Koosah Falls along the McKenzie River Trail from May of 2014.

Waterfalls Loop Trail on the McKenzie River

View photo gallery of the Waterfalls Loop Trail on the McKenzie River in Central Oregon from 2001.

The hiking trail is rated moderate, however the one time we hiked the full loop trail, it was a couple days after hiking from Todd Lake to the Green Lakes Trail in the Three Sisters Wilderness, so compared to that hike we thought it was very easy. Drinking water is available at Ice Cap Campground.

The Waterfalls Loop Trail is part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail which is about 27 miles long and closely follows the McKenzie River, a scenic whitewater river originating in the high Cascade Mountains. The trail crosses over several tributaries of the McKenzie River via log bridges. The lower sections of the trail pass through 600 year old Douglas-fir forests, while upper sections of the trail pass spectacular waterfalls and lava flows.

Please remember bicyclists must dismount when traveling the distance between Koosah and Sahalie Waterfalls on the eastern side of the loop.

LOCATION: 17 miles northeast of McKenzie Bridge.

ACCESS: To access Koosah Falls Day Use Area, from McKenzie Bridge travel east on Hwy 126 approximately 17.3 miles (The area is located south of Santiam Pass along Highway 126). Turn left at the Ice Cap Campground/Koosah Falls sign. To access Sahalie Falls Day Use Area, proceed another 1/2 mile north of the Koosah Falls turnoff on Hwy 126. The parking area is located on the left.

ELEVATION: 3,100 and 3,000 feet

USE: Heavy

PERMITS: No passes required.

FACILITIES: NO water, vault toilet (Sahalie Falls only)

ACTIVITIES: viewpoint, hiking

ACCESSIBLE FACILITIES: (Sahalie Falls only) vault restrooms, trail to viewpoint of waterfall, interpretive kiosk

Please note: The Northwest Forest Pass is required at some trailheads on National Forests in Oregon and Washington. These passes are distinct from the wilderness permits. Go to the Recreation Passes & Permits page for more information on the Northwest Forest Pass, including cost and how to get a pass.

Map of parking area and trailhead.


View Waterfalls Loop Trail in a larger map

Hydration Packs, Hydro Flasks & Hiking Tips

Hydration Packs help Outdoor enthusiasts stay hydrated without having to carry a water bottle. and give the hiker hours of hydration. You can find a wide variety of hydration packs at Amazon.com that will suit the need of almost every hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

If you prefer not to carry a hydration pack, but instead prefer to carry a couple water bottles, I recommend purchasing a Hydro Flask from Amazon.com. Hydro Flasks will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours. Perfect for hiking.

What do I carry? Well both, because I like having lots of water on a hiking outing. And don’t forget to check out this list of hiking tips for some of the other essential items you should always have when out hiking.