Best time to travel to Portland

Sahalie and Koosah Falls

Two of the seven best waterfalls in the Cascades and Eugene area

Sahalie and Koosah Falls in Portland 2019 - Best Time
Photo by

Lessa Clayton

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.

Sahalie Falls in the summer 2019
Sahalie Falls in the summer
Koosah Falls 2019
Koosah Falls
Koosah Falls 2019
Koosah Falls

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 McKenzie 2019
The McKenzie

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.