About Vidae Falls
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).
With such minimal physical effort to experience the Vidae Falls, we were tempted to scramble 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 on our first two visits, 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).
When we came back in late June 2021, I noticed that there were more signs erected to steer people away from scrambling on the slopes perhaps to minimize the chances of someone getting hurt or causing additional erosion.
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
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.
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.
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 resides in Crater Lake National Park near Medford in Klamath County, Oregon. It is administered by the National Park Service. For information or inquiries about the park as well as current conditions, visit their website.
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.
For geographical context, Medford was 13 miles (under 30 minutes drive) northwest of Ashland, 79 miles (90 minutes drive) west of Klamath Falls, 150 miles (under 3 hours drive) north of Redding, California, 168 miles (under 3 hours drive) south of Eugene, and 272 miles (over 4 hours drive) south of Portland.
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