Tumalo Falls has been on my bucket list for years. I tried once and the road was closed for construction turning the supposedly long hike into a longer one. I was in the area for work recently and wanted to check this one off the list once and for all as I heard the road was open after construction and the long winter we had. I went online to research how long the hike would be and found so many different reports from no hike at all up to 7 miles and everything in between. It was crazy. I was so frustrated with all the misinformation that I didn't set out for my sunset hike because I was worried I didn't know what was true. I didn't want to chance it as a woman hiking alone with darkness looming in just a couple hours.
I was really upset at not getting to do the hike in the evening so I thought, I'll go first thing in the morning to get some good light. I wake up early so I thought that would be perfect.
I set off from my vacation rental on the southwest side of Bend. Supposedly it's going to take me an hour to get to the falls parking lot. It ended up only taking me about a half hour. When I got to the parking lot I was the only one there and you could see the falls from the parking lot. I was so shocked. I didn't have to hike at all to see the falls. They were right there on the other side of the parking lot. Maybe 100 feet from where I parked. Now, to get a closer view or go to the top you would have to hike. If you want to go past Tumalo you can turn the hike into as long as you want and see many waterfalls along the creek. This is highly recommended.
After my experience, I thought, I have to write about this. The information out there is so crazy it's hard to know what to believe. Maybe this can help you too if you want to venture out to Tumalo Falls. It's gorgeous. You might not get it all to yourself unless you are like me and go on a weekday at 6 am, but you will get a good viewright from the parking lot.
A couple warnings before you venture out:
-Know if there are any wildfires in the area. This may close the trail or the road.
-The parking lot is on forest service land and there is a $5 fee. Be prepared with cash or buy your pass online ahead of time. The cell service out there can be spotty if at all.
-The area gets a lot of bikers so be careful when driving and hiking out there.
-There can be snow that blocks the trail to the falls behind Tumalo unless you are going in the summer or fall months.
-The trail past Tumalo has a bridge out and there is a detour around it that can add to the length of your hike.
-Early morning is great for shooting the falls, before the sun comes up over the mountain and shines right on it for most of the day.