Stock landscape and outdoor adventure photos from Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Northwest

Photos of Tumalo Falls and the Waterfalls of the Tumalo Creek Basin

We at Pacific Crest Stock have always considered ourselves fortunate to live in Central Oregon where it is beautiful and where there is immense environmental diversity.  From the badlands east of Bend to the rainforests west of Bend with old growth Ponderosa forests and snow capped volcanoes in between.   Bend, Oregon is on the edge of the high desert which is considered to extend from the Cascade Mountain Range to the Rocky Mountain Range.  Perhaps, the important thing to remember is that we are on the edge of the high desert and not in the middle of it.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have huge trees and many waterfalls near our fair city.  We had lots of hits on our website looking for waterfalls and specifically waterfalls of Central Oregon, so finally we’re going to give a little information and several photos of some of those waterfalls.  We have great photographs of some of these waterfalls and others, well, we know we need to go back to at some point! Arguably, the foremost waterfall in the minds of most Central Oregonians is the majestic Tumalo Falls.   Tumalo Falls is no stranger to visitors and it shouldn’t be as it is quite awe inspiring and very visitor friendly.  Located only 10 miles west of Bend, on Skyliners road which is a westward extension of Galveston Road.
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In the winter, the road to Tumalo Falls is closed for the last 2.5 miles and a snow park is located at the closure.  In Summer, the road is open all the way to the falls where there is parking, a restroom, and some informational kiosks about the 1979 Bridge Creek Fire which raged through the area. Additionally, Bend’s famed water source Bridge Creek, is nearby.

Photo/picture of Central Oregon's Tumalo Falls in autumn

Photo/picture of Central Oregon's Tumalo Falls in autumn

This photo of Tumalo Falls was taken in autumn several years ago during a driving rain at the height of fall color.  In other words, don’t expect the Tumalo Falls area to be this colorful when you visit, because in the hundreds of times I’ve visited it’s only looked this good once!  Below is another photo of Tumalo Falls that I captured in summer requiring a long exposure and a total absence of wind in order to keep the purple lupines in the foreground from fluttering about.

Picture of Tumalo Falls and Purple Lupine in Central Oregon

Picture of Tumalo Falls and Purple Lupine in Central Oregon

I re-visited this site this summer and noticed that most of the purple lupine in this photo have been replaced by native grasses which is too bad for photography purposes.  Tumalo has several possible name derivations, one of which is from the Klamath Indian word “Tumallowa”  meaning icy water.  This is appropriate as Tumalo Creek is largely composed of glacial melt from high off of the Central Oregon Cascade Range.  This waterfall has one 97 foot  drop and two great viewing points.  The lower view point is obvious but the upper viewpoint is a real gem as it gives a real sense of the flow and power of this particular waterfall, making it worth the short 1/4 mile climb to the top of the falls.

Below is an image of Bridge Creek Falls which is located near to Tumalo Falls and is along the aptly named Bridge Creek Trail.

Photo of Bridge Creek falls in Central Oregon.

Photo of Bridge Creek falls in Central Oregon.

The exact location where I shot this image of Bridge creek Falls was quite scary to get to and , frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  I had to carefully balance on a slick, wet log while Bridge Creek raged below.  This waterfall  is located about one mile from the Tumalo Falls trail head.  To get there, start climbing the trail to the top of Tumalo Falls and take a left onto the Bridge Creek Trail and proceed about one mile where Bridge Creek will be raging on the left side of the trail.

The following waterfall, “Double Falls” is located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.  It is one of many attractive waterfalls that are upstream of the the more well known Tumalo Falls.  Double Falls is located about 1.25 miles up stream  along the North Fork Trail which for Mt. Biking purposes is up hill only.  It is a relatively easy hike but beware of mosquitoes in summer.

Photo of Double Falls located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.

Photo of Double Falls located above Tumalo Falls on Tumalo Creek.

If you continue hiking or biking uphill on the North Fork Trail for 3.5 miles, you will pass several other impressive waterfalls.   The next waterfall is about a mile above Double Falls.  You will then cross a bridge about half-mile later, at which point you almost get bombarded with waterfalls.  There are least 5 more waterfalls within a half-mile of the bridge.  Keep hiking because the last waterfall is probably the best.

 The grand finale waterfall on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls.

The grand finale waterfall on the North Fork Trail above Tumalo Falls.

We plan on some more waterfall blog entries in the near future so stay tuned!  If you have an interest in licensing these or any of our other Central Oregon waterfall images, please visit our stock photography website at Pacific Crest Stock.

by Mike Putnam

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