Vidae Falls was definitely one of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Crater Lake National Park, mostly because it was right by the road. 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). With such minimal physical effort to experience this waterfall, we scrambled around the steep scree slope trying to look for different angles and ways to photograph and view the reportedly 115ft falls (all while trying not to mind the mosquitos which were in abundance during our July 2016 visit but not so much during our August 2009 visit). It 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 as it would continue its flow to the south and southeast of Mt Mazama.
Like with just about all waterfalls in Crater Lake National Park (there didn’t seem to be that many though the named ones that we were aware of include Duwee Falls and Plaikni Falls), it seemed like the flow of Vidae Creek came from seepage from Crater Lake itself. We suspect this was the case because the waterfall was way too high up on Mt Mazama to even have an appreciable watershed or drainage.
Certainly in our experience, waterfalls without much of a drainage or watershed don’t tend to last long, but since our first visit here was in late August 2009 when the falls still had pretty good flow while all the snow had been long gone, there had to have been an explanation for its decent flow that late in the Summer, and this seepage theory was the only plausible explanation we could think of. A video simulating the formation of Crater Lake near the visitor center at Rim Village supported our seepage theory as that was one of the mechanisms (the other being evaporation) by which the lake level balanced out against the accumulation from snow and rain. Thus, we suspect this falls would probably flow year-round though it would certainly be dependent on the water level of the lake.
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.
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