Oregon has a lot of waterfalls, some that you’ll drive by countless times on the way from Point A to Point B and you may never think to stop at, regardless of how easy they are to see. For me, I cannot remember ever going to Sahalie Falls. I’ve driven by it plenty, but never managed to stop my car to take a look. I should have done it years ago. Right off of Highway 126 near Clear Lake, Sahalie Falls sits just a few hundred yards west of the small parking area. The short trail is paved down to a small observation platform where visitors can get a great look at the powerful plunge-type falls. For another look, take a short walk on a dirt trail through the forest to an upper viewing platform perched right on the cliff the river courses over.
It’s here the McKenzie River plunges 100 feet over a thick basalt andesite lava flow that also dammed Clear Lake 3,000 years ago. Two other flows spewed out the earth near here forming nearby Koosah and Tamolitch falls. The two upper falls, Sahalie and Koosah are visible throughout the year whereas Tamolitch only appears in times of high water, otherwise the river flows under the rock, emerging at the aptly named Blue Pool.
Getting there: From Sisters, take U.S Highway 20/State Highway 126 west for 25 miles. At the Santiam Junction, turn left towards Eugene/Springfield to continue onto Highway 20 for 3.3 miles. Turn left to follow Highway 126 towards Eugene and follow for 5.3 miles then turn right at the sign for Sahalie Falls.