Vidae Falls

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, USA

About Vidae Falls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2009-08-20
Date last visited: 2016-07-15

Waterfall Latitude: 42.88445
Waterfall Longitude: -122.09992

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Vidae Falls was definitely one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Crater Lake National Park, mostly because it was right by the road.

Indeed, it was one of the few waterfalls in all our waterfalling experiences that we didn’t need to work for (other than the drive to get here; see directions below).

Vidae_Falls_012_07152016 - Vidae Falls as seen in the early morning of our mid-July 2016 visit
Vidae Falls as seen in the early morning of our mid-July 2016 visit

With such minimal physical effort to experience the Vidae Falls, we scrambled around the steep scree slope trying to look for different angles and ways to photograph and view the reportedly 115ft falls.

As we did this, we tried not to mind the mosquitos which were in abundance during our July 2016 visit (but not so much during our August 2009 visit).

Vidae Falls featured a main cascading drop before reaching a rocky slope with less of an incline that eventually made its way down beneath the Rim Drive.

Its flow would continue to the south and southeast of the slopes of Mt Mazama, which was the mountain that blew its top and gave rise to the famed Crater Lake itself.

An Unusual Feature of Vidae Falls

Vidae_Falls_021_08202009 - Focused on the main drop of Vidae Falls in the late afternoon of our first visit in late August 2009
Focused on the main drop of Vidae Falls in the late afternoon of our first visit in late August 2009

One thing that was unusual about Vidae Falls (but maybe not so unusual amongst waterfalls in the boundaries of Crater Lake National like Duwee Falls and Plaikni Falls) was that its flow seemed to have come from Crater Lake itself.

While that’s not so unusual in and of itself, the waterfall’s presence so close to the top of the mountain was definitely rare as typically creeks and streams need enough of a drainage to accumulate enough water to make the stream more permanent.

I suspect that Vidae Creek resulted from the seepage of the lake’s waters through possible channels within the caldera itself before the waters re-emerge back on the surface further downslope.

Certainly in our experience, waterfalls without much of a drainage or watershed don’t tend to last long.

Vidae_Falls_001_08202009 - Context of Vidae Falls and the rim of Mt Mazama with lots of scree slopes towards its bottom
Context of Vidae Falls and the rim of Mt Mazama with lots of scree slopes towards its bottom

However, since our first visit here was in late August 2009 when you’d think the falls would either go dry or not flow well, it still had pretty good flow while all the snow had been long gone.

Therefore, in order to explain this observation, the seepage theory was the only plausible explanation that I could think of.

Moreover, a video simulating the formation of Crater Lake near the visitor center at Rim Village supported our seepage theory.

In that video, they simulated one of the mechanisms (the other being evaporation) by which the lake level balanced itself out against the accumulation from snow and rain.

Crater_Lake_234_07152016 - Vidae Falls was likely fed by the waters seeping out of Crater Lake through unseen channels in the caldera of Mt Mazama itself
Vidae Falls was likely fed by the waters seeping out of Crater Lake through unseen channels in the caldera of Mt Mazama itself

Thus, we suspect this falls would probably flow year-round though it would certainly be dependent on the water level of the lake.

Authorities

Vidae Falls resides in Crater Lake National Park. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit the National Park Service website.

Vidae_Falls_003_07152016 - When we returned to Vidae Falls in July 2016, we showed up pretty early in the morning, where long shadows from tall trees kind of conspired to make the viewing suboptimal. Had we waited another hour, the lighting might have been best
Vidae_Falls_004_07152016 - Early morning look up at the half-shadowed Vidae Falls as seen during our second visit to the Vidae Falls, which took place in mid-July 2016
Vidae_Falls_003_08202009 - This was an angled look at Vidae Falls from the left side of the roadside pullout shot back in August 2009
Vidae_Falls_005_08202009 - Looking up at the main drop of Vidae Falls in the late afternoon of our first visit in late August 2009
Vidae_Falls_014_08202009 - More direct look at Vidae Falls with someone scrambling in front of it for a sense of scale
Vidae_Falls_020_08202009 - Long exposure look at the main drop of Vidae Falls from our first visit in late August 2009
Vidae_Falls_025_08202009 - Focused on the half-shadowed base of the main drop of Vidae Falls as seen during our first visit back in August 2009

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Vidae Falls sat within the boundaries of Crater Lake National Park towards the southern rim.

We managed to get there by basing ourselves in the sprawling city of Medford, then driving along the Crater Lake Hwy (Hwy 62) for about 54 miles to a signed junction.

Turning right at this junction to continue on Hwy 62, we then drove an additional 15.5 miles towards a junction shortly before reaching the turnoff for Mazama Village and the Crater Lake National Park Entrance.

We then kept left at this junction to go into the park, where we then drove an additional 4.5 miles or so to another road junction.

Then, we turned right to go counterclockwise on Rim Drive and we continued for the next 2.8 miles to the roadside pullout for the falls on the left (it’s 6 miles east of Rim Village).

Overall, this drive took us around 2 hours, which included a road work delay (there always seemed to be these things no matter when you make your visit).

While you’re at Vidae Falls, we recommend driving a bit further to the nearest big curve barely a mile east of the falls pullout.

That’s where we stopped for the Phantom Ship, which required a brief 1/4-mile walk to get the view of the intriguing protruding rock attraction surrounded by the sapphire blue Crater Lake.

360 degree sweep from base of falls as well as repositioning to see the falls from a couple of different spots


Bottom up sweep from a spot closer to the falls itself

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Tagged with: crater lake, national park, seepage, klamath, oregon, waterfall, medford



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