Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls are breathtaking waterfalls with foaming waters located close to each other along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass and West Cascades National Scenic Byways. Sahalie means 'heaven' while Koosah means 'sky' in Chinook language. The falls were formed about 3,000 years ago when two flows of basaltic andesite lava moved into the McKenzie River. Sahalie Falls showcases white waters falling from 100 ft (30 m) into a natural dam. Koosah falls is a bit smaller—70 ft (21 m) with a deep pool at its base.
The falls are connected with the Waterfalls Loop Trail, part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, that also features views of the wild McKenzie River and ancient forest. A 2.6-mi (4.2 km) loop trail starts at Sahalie Falls. It is easy and suitable for families with children. The path is the most accessible from March to October. In the winter it's often covered with snow and signage might not be visible. Spring sees higher water levels as the snow is melting, while autumn brings beautiful foliage which makes the surrounding nature stunning to look at!
The area is accessible by car, and it takes about 2.5 hours to get there from Portland. Both waterfalls have parking lots nearby. The Koosah Falls parking is usually less crowded, and you can easily walk to the Sahalie Falls from there.
When is the best time to visit Sahalie and Koosah Falls?
To witness the beauty of Sahalie and Koosah falls and the Waterfalls Loop Trail at their peak, it's best to visit between March and October. This is when the trail is open and easily accessible. The water level is high in the spring, and the colorful foliage in the autumn enhances the beauty of these waterfalls and the surrounding nature. Show more
Where are Sahalie and Koosah Falls located within Portland, Oregon?
Sahalie and Koosah Falls are situated in the Cascades mountain range in Oregon, accessible via McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass and West Cascades National Scenic Byways. These are located 2.5 hours to the east of Portland, reachable via car. The falls are part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, a perfect point for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts alike. Show more
What is the difficulty level of the Waterfalls Loop Trail?
The Waterfalls Loop Trail connects Sahalie and Koosah Falls and is great for families with children to hike, as it is easy and straightforward. The trail is a total of 2.6 miles (4.2 km) in length and offers stunning views of the McKenzie River and ancient forest. The trail attractiveness makes it perfect for hikers who love to commune with nature and witness stunning waterfalls. Show more
Are there other points of interest along the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail?
The McKenzie River National Recreation Trail features several other points of interest besides Sahalie and Koosah Falls, including the beautiful Clear Lake, located in the caldera of a former volcano, and Proxy Falls, which are two side-by-side waterfalls that are 226 feet tall. These destinations have unique trails, making the area a day trip or even an overnight stay getaway surrounded by nature's beauty. Show more
Is there any fee to visit the Sahalie and Koosah Falls area?
Admission to the Sahalie and Koosah Falls area is absolutely free of charge. However, visitors will need to pay parking fees at both the Sahalie and Koosah Falls parking lots. For peak season visitors looking to save a little, the Koosah Falls parking area, which is less crowded and closer to Sahalie Falls, is a good choice. Show more