Local Classic Tumalo Falls is never a disappointment! The 89 foot Waterfall always looks good in whatever the weather. I’ve trudged in snow shoes and gazed upon a frozen canyon, water paused in time, and sipped sweet micro brews in her mist in Summer. In Autumn the golden glow of Aspen’s line the creek and in late July I’ve climbed upstream to find large snow packs.
Tumalo Creek is fed by glacial snow melt and springs. Although the history is officially unclear, some speculate that the creek was named after the word Tumallowa which means icy water. The headwaters begin as a series of springs, tumbling over six waterfalls and winding through Shevlin Park before joining The Deschutes River. Tumalo Creek provides cold water that is an essential ingredient in a healthy ecosystem.The creek is the only tributary to the Deschutes for 60 miles. Tumalo Creek is also the primary drinking water source for Bend, Oregon. Currently the Bend and Tumalo Irrigation Districts divert a percentage of the flow to Bridge Creek where it is then transported via pipeline. The Bridge Creek Pipeline Replacement Project is a 24 million dollar project that will replace the aging pipeline and will for now close vehicular access to the falls.
The road to the falls will close this Monday (2/9/15) and will remain closed until work on the water pipe line is finished. The falls can still be accessed by foot or bicycle from Skyliner Sno Park or the surrounding trail system.
Beyond Tumalo Falls is a 10 mile loop leading past 6 more waterfalls into Happy Valley. I have only explored a small way up this trail and hope to get around it completely this Summer.
From Bend travel West on Skyliners Rd about 10 miles, Skyliner Sno-Park will be on the Left. There are several parking spaces and one vault toilet. The Falls are about 3 miles from this location.