Yesterday we hiked the Waterfall Loop at Sahalie and Koosah Falls, near McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. You walk on the McKenzie River Trail for a couple of miles and then turn back to do the loop.
It was a beautiful day weather-wise, but so chilly in the morning that I had to start out in my puffy coat! Marnie’s car told us that it was 39 F while we were on our way to the falls.
We parked at the Sahalie Falls viewpoint parking lot. There is a convenient restroom there. Walking from the parking lot you shortly get to this Sahalie Falls viewpoint.
After Sahalie Falls, the trail follows the McKenzie River down to the Carmen Smith Reservoir.
There are quite a few stairs to go down on the way to Koosah Falls, if you do the loop in a clockwise direction.
It isn’t long until you get to the viewpoints for Koosah Falls.
The sound of the river and the waterfalls is loud but soothing during this hike.
Here the McKenzie River flows into the Carmen Smith Reservoir. The Reservoir is stocked with trout so is a good place for fishing and boating, but it is closed until sometime in 2023 to address sinkhole concerns. You go across the reservoir road bridge to get to the trail on the opposite side.
There is a convenient restroom available near the reservoir and right next to the trail that continues around the loop. We took a restroom and snack break before heading up the trail on the opposite side of the river.
Then we came at Koosah Falls from a different angle:
We followed the river back to Sahalie Falls:
We could see that some kids had gone down to the bottom of the falls. It is generally thought to be unsafe to do that. When they started slipping and pushing each other, we couldn’t watch lest one of them go in the water. Without a miracle it is doubtful one could survive a fall into the McKenzie River here, especially without a life jacket!
We eventually came back around to Sahalie Falls, where there is another viewpoint deck.
Unfortunately some people had carved or written words all over the railings of the upper viewpoint, which we didn’t consider kind, good, or loving no matter what their words say.
The view from the upper viewpoint was great and none of us had ever seen that view of Sahalie Falls before. None of us had hiked the Waterfall Loop before either, so that was new and fun to do. Kangaroo and I had hiked at Sahalie and Koosah Falls a few times, but had never gotten around to doing the Loop. We enjoyed our little hike and were glad to see things we hadn’t seen before! Kangaroo has expressed interest in backpacking the 25-mile-long McKenzie River Trail, and we did see some campsites available along the trail.
After our hike we decided to eat lunch on our way home and went to Takoda’s restaurant in Rainbow, after a stop at the Obsidian Grill to find that they weren’t serving lunch that day. Takoda’s is nice and I think we will stop there again. They had a big Jelly Belly jelly bean machine and since there were cream soda flavored Jelly Bellys I had to get some. They were delicious. I didn’t get a photo of the jelly beans or the little dwarf African froggies in biospheres that the restaurant had for sale. I’m sure those froggies would be a whole blog post in themselves!
We enjoyed our day and have planned a pretty hike in the same area for next week. There are several trailheads in the central Cascades that require permits, and I was able to get one for the trail we chose. Tune in next week to read about that hike!
Just keep walking!