The Deschutes National Forest has closed the Tumalo Falls Trailhead, parking lot and bridge below the falls that accesses the lot, for work on the city of Bend's water project.
And on July 3rd they closed the Tumalo Creek Trail due to people crossing the city of Bend's construction zone to get there. "This closure has been put in place for safety reasons," the announcement said. "The only legal route to viewing the falls during construction of the city of Bend Waterline Replacement Project was a 14-mile round-trip hike from Skyliners Trailhead," forest officials said.
What does this mean? Well, there really isn't a way to get to Tumalo Falls this summer.
The closure is being put in place, in addition to the closure on Forest Road 4603, to allow the city of Bend to complete improvements to its surface water supply system.
Several trails also will be affected by the closure, and mountain bikers and hikers are being encouraged to know the closures before riding or hiking in the area.
Trail closures include the Farewell Trail and the North Fork Trail at the Swampy Trail intersection.
There will be an additional closure of the Tumalo Creek Trail at the South Fork Trail intersection, which prevents direct access to the falls and parking lot. Visitors can still reroute to view the falls by following signage on the trail, but should be prepared for the 14-mile round trip.
Forest Road 4603 remains closed to all public access, officials said, because installing the pipeline requires trenching directly into the road bed, allowing no safe travel path on the narrow single-lane road.
The Forest Service will keep the closures in place until further notice.
We will let you know when the roads and trails are open again so you can enjoy Tumalo Falls.
Located in the Deschutes National Forest, Tumalo Creek flows into the Deschutes River just north of Bend. Tumalo Falls is a day use area on Tumalo Falls Road, 12 miles west of Bend. To get there follow Franklin Ave. west from downtown Bend through the park to Galveston Road, which then turns into Skyliner Drive (paved). Immediately after crossing Tumalo Creek, turn left onto Road 4603 (gravel). Drive 2.5 miles to the Tumalo Falls parking area. The road is closed in winter. However, you can ski or snowshoe to Tumalo Falls in the winter if you are adventurous, and the views during the winter with the snow and the ice on the falls is beautiful.
If you decide to ski, you can begin at Skyliner Sno-park and proceed to the end of Skyliners Road, then cross the bridge and get onto Road 4603 (the road you would drive up in the summer months), which parallels Tumalo Creek all the way to the falls. It is about a seven mile round-trip to base of waterfall from Skyliner Sno-park.
If you prefer to snowshoe, many drive up to the gate that is closed during the winter and park there. There is room for about five cars in a small parking area, and there is additional parking up the road at times as well. If you park at the gate it is about a five mile round-trip to the base of the waterfall.
However, if you do decide to go up the Tumalo Falls in the winter, please be careful, and check the weather reports before you go so you don't get stuck up there during a storm
Tumalo Falls Photo Gallery
There is a picnic area, toilet, and an uphill path to a falls overlook. There are also trailheads for numerous hiking and mountain biking trails in the area. There is a $5 per day use fee, or you’ll need a forest park permit, a Northwest Forest Pass or one of the various forest service passes available to park here. Here is a link to a U.S. Forest Service website that describes some of the various passes available so you can choose the best option for you. Recreation Passes of the Northwest.
It is a short walk (about 1/4 mile) on a maintained trail to the overlook area at the top of the falls. The North Fork Trail starts at the Falls and follows Tumalo Creek deeper into the mountains, and many smaller falls can be seen on the trail in the first couple miles of your hike.
Mountain biking is allowed on the trail, and Tumalo Falls and the North Fork Trail can be busy, especially on weekends during the beautiful summer months, but this is a directional, up only trail for mountain bikers. The North Fork Trail intersects a network of trails a few miles up and allows mountain bikers to return to Tumalo falls via alternate routes. A trail map of the area is recommended if you plan on a loop ride.
As you drive up the gravel road from Skyliner Drive you will see other mountain biking trails as well as places to pull over and view Tumalo Creek.
Tumalo Falls provides great hiking fairly close to town. The "dogs on leash" sign applies only to the parking lot, but you should keep dogs on leashes on until you're past the viewpoint for the falls (that short stretch is very popular), even then make sure and keep control of your dogs so they don't bother other hikers or bikers.
Hydration Packs, HydroFlasks & Hiking Tips
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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.
Tumalo Falls Hike
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