Sahalie Falls

Willamette National Forest / Sisters / McKenzie River, Oregon, USA

About Sahalie Falls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-08-19
Date last visited: 2009-08-19

Waterfall Latitude: 44.34916
Waterfall Longitude: -121.99682

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Sahalie Falls was the uppermost of three notable waterfalls (the other two being Koosah Falls and Tamolitch Falls) on the McKenzie River in the Willamette National Forest.

We saw a sign by the falls claiming it was 120ft tall though we thought that might be a bit generous as it looked to us to be more on the order of 80-100ft in our mind’s eye.

Sahalie_Falls_001_jx_08192009 - Sahalie Falls
Sahalie Falls

According to Gregory Plumb’s book, Sahalie was a Chinook word meaning “high”.

We weren’t sure if that pertained to its height or its flow, but we saw during our August 2009 trip that it was still flowing quite powerfully even though it was well off its peak flow, which we suspect would occur some time in June.

Another sign here stated that this waterfall was more typical of a segmented waterfall as it was claimed to be typically flanked by other thinner-stranded waterfalls.

However, during our visit, it was basically only one giant plume flanked by a real light flowing trickle to its right.

There were several well-developed trails here, but the walk from the parking area to a view of this waterfall was barely a couple of minutes.

Sahalie_Falls_003_08192009 - Full context of Sahalie Falls from the easy-to-access lookout
Full context of Sahalie Falls from the easy-to-access lookout

There was a spur trail that led right up to the top of the falls, which we saw a pair of guys take and end up becoming photo subjects for us (thereby indicating how big this waterfall really was).

Another trail continued beyond the main overlook for about a mile leading to the Koosah Falls, which we didn’t take since there was a separate car park for it.

Authorities

Sahalie Falls resides in the Willamette National Forest near McKenzie Bridge in Linn County, Oregon. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Sahalie_Falls_006_08192009 - Sahalie Falls in a broad view and in half shadow since I showed up in the late afternoon. Note the person standing near its brink for a sense of scale
Sahalie_Falls_007_08192009 - Closer look at Sahalie Falls with people near the top for a sense of scale
Sahalie_Falls_015_08192009 - Different angled view of Sahalie Falls as the lookout area got a little more crowded and I moved over to let other people have their shot at it

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We drove to this waterfall by taking the Hwy 126 east from Eugene.

After about 54 miles, we reached the town of McKenzie Bridge, where we continued driving along Hwy 126.

About 20 miles east and north of the town of McKenzie River (or roughly 70 miles east of Eugene), we saw the signposted falls turnoff on the left side of the highway just a minute drive north of the Koosah Falls turnoff (5 miles south of US20 and about 6 miles north of Belknap Springs).

For context, the city of Eugene was 111 miles (under 2 hours drive) south of Portland or 168 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of Medford.

Direct view of the falls in late Summer

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Tagged with: linn, willamette, national forest, sisters, mckenzie river, belknap springs, oregon, waterfall, mckenzie bridge



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