The Complete Guide to Waterfalls Near Bend, Oregon

Tumalo Falls Bend Oregon

There may be no other state in the country that has a better selection of waterfalls to visit than Oregon. Luckily, despite its high desert location, Bend and the surrounding areas are home to a number of beautiful waterfalls. Some you can drive right up to while others require a bit of a trek. But at the end of the day off of these waterfalls near Bend, Oregon are worth the visit.

Map of Waterfalls Near Bend, Oregon

Here is a map of some of our favorite waterfalls near Bend, Oregon. The incredible part about this area is this is only a small sampling of all the waterfalls you can find around Bend.

Tumalo Falls (13 miles from Bend)

Tumalo Falls Bend Oregon

Tumalo Falls is most likely the most visited and photographed waterfall in central Oregon. This 97 foot high waterfall is a beautiful spot to visit year round. In the summer and fall you can drive right up to the viewing area to take in the sights. Trails wind up to the top of the waterfall to add a unique perspective as well.

During the winter the road to the waterfall is closed but this just provides for an incredible snowshoeing or cross country skiing opportunity. From the gate, it is a 4.5 mile round trip to the falls where you can watch as it tumbles over the rocks and encases the entire canyon walls in ice.

Note that parking at the falls required a NW Forest pass or a $5 day use fee.

Upper Deschutes Waterfalls

The upper Deschutes River features a number of waterfalls along the Deschutes River Trail. Each has their own parking areas for easy access. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you could hike or bike the entire trail as a 13-mile out and back to see all three highlighted below.

Note that all of the trailheads along the upper Deschutes River require a NW forest pass or $5 day use fee.

Lava Island Falls (8 miles from Bend)

Some may argue that the Lava Island Falls are more a rapid than a falls but who are we to argue. They are still a nice spot to visit along the Deschutes river trail and a great starting point for doing the waterfall out-and-back hike up to Benham Falls.

You can access Lava Island Falls from the Lava Island Trailhead.

Dillon Falls (10 miles from Bend)

A few miles further upriver you will find Dillon Falls. Dillon Falls is a 15-foot waterfall and the area is classified as class 5 rapids. You will occasionally see experienced kayakers navigating these falls as they make their way downstream to the takeout point at Lava Island Falls.

Access to the falls is best done from the Dillon Falls Trailhead. From there it is a short 1/4 mile hike to the falls.

Benham Falls (13 miles from Bend)

Benham Falls is a low cascading waterfall and the furthest south from Bend. This waterfall is a popular spot for hikers, bikers, and runners along the Deschutes river trail. You can access the trail and falls from multiple locations. The two closest being the Benham West Trailhead if you’re coming from the westside or the Benham Falls East Trailhead if you’re coming from the South or East.

Fall Creek Falls (26 miles from Bend)

Fall Creek Falls, not to be confused with Fall River Falls by Sunriver, is a waterfall along the popular Fall Creek Trail. Starting out at the Green Lakes Trailhead it is a 1.1 mile walk along Fall Creek to reach the waterfall. The final trail down to the lower waterfall viewing area is steep and rocky so be sure to bring good shoes.

Along the trail to the falls you’re likely to run into backpackers making their way up to Broken Top for an overnight trip, trail runners setting out on a 20 mile loop run or backcountry skiers looking to find some of those late season snow caches.

Note that the Green Lakes Trailhead is extremely popular in the summer so parking may be limited at times.

Chush Falls (26 miles from Bend)

Chush Falls is an immense 67 foot tall and 80 foot wide waterfall along the upper Wychush Creek. The main viewing area is from above the falls but there is an obvious and well trafficked side trail that will take you down into the canyon to get the full waterfall experience.

The drive to Chush Falls can be rough but is easily doable in a passenger car with decent clearance. You can find detailed directions here.

This area is home to a number of waterfalls if you feel like exploring further. A six-mile round trip hike will take you to the stunning 200-foot Upper Chush Falls.

Paulina Falls (36 miles from Bend)

Paulina Creek Falls are located in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument southeast of Bend. The entire area makes for a great day trip and the falls are the perfect place to stop first.

Park at the Paulina Falls Day Use area and it is a quick stroll over to the waterfall viewpoint. The falls feature a number of individual streams flowing into the rock amphitheater.

From there you can explore the incredible Lake Paulina area. There are trails around Lake Paulina, through obsidian flows and up to Paulina peak to enjoy some of the best views in Central Oregon.

Proxy Falls (50 miles from Bend)

Proxy Falls Bend Oregon

Proxy Falls is one of the most photogenic waterfalls in Central Oregon. At 225 feet tall is cascades over mossy rocks and creates an almost fairytale like scene.

From the Proxy Falls Trailhead it is a short 1.6 mile loop along flat terrain to view the falls.

Tamolitch Falls (61 miles from Bend)

Tamolitch Falls Bend Oregon

Tamolitch Falls, and its plunge into the blue pool, is one of the most popular attractions in Central Oregon. On warm summer days this area draws huge crowds to view the blue pools famously clear, blue waters. Even on the hottest days though looks can be deceiving as this water is frigidly cold and people have to be rescued every year after jumping in to cool off.

Despite the blue pool grabbing all the fame and fortune don’t overlook the falls. They are the result of a lava flow 6,000 years ago that buried the Mckenzie River. The river now flows underground for this stretch only to emerge just before the falls. This is what creates the stunning blue color in the water.

The falls can be accessed via trail from either the Carmen Smith Reservoir (3.3 mile hike) or the Trailbridge Reservoir (2.1 mile hike).

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About the Author

Derek

Derek

Derek is a PNW native and is lucky to call Bend home. When he's not writing for Wander Bend he can be outside hiking at Smith Rock, cross country skiing at Meissner, or drinking a latte at any of Bend's great coffee shops.

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