No need to wait for spring to see one of Bend’s most brilliant waterfalls. Tumalo Falls in Deschutes National Forest is wondrous in winter, when the main access road is closed to cars. It’s 2.5 miles (one-way) to this 97-foot stunner. The road’s mostly flat.
Walk it, snowshoe it, or fat-tire bike it, then hike the very short few feet up to the viewpoints. For a majority of the route you’re paralleling flowing Tumalo Creek.
Fresh snow sometimes blankets the banks of the creek as the road winds along through the forest, and pine trees jostle in the cool air. After crossing a bridge, it’s a quick and easy ascent to the first viewpoint, and an impressive vantage of the tall and wide tumbler that is Tumalo Falls.
Ascend the trail to the left for another 0.4 mile to reach the viewpoint at the top of the falls where you’ll get a great perspective of the water’s force along with the beautiful surrounding valley. Return the way you came. 2018 is looking pretty waterfall!
BONUS BEER: Post-Tumalo, head to the heart of Bend’s Old Mill District and Crux Fermentation Project (50 SW Division St., Bend). Take a seat on their outdoor patio with two fire pits and enjoy the panorama of the Cascades. Order their sampler of IPAs, lagers, and stouts. Sundowner Hour (aka Happy Hour) happens from 30 minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after. Outdoor patio is very dog-friendly. Cheers!
A WORD ON BEND’S BEERS: Bend is home to a combined total of 24 craft breweries and brewpubs. Explore Bend’s Ale Trail to find your favorites. A few we like: Deschutes Brewery is a historic favorite, with a creative core beer series that goes beyond its mainstream popularity. For something off downtown’s beaten path, visit Boneyard Beer (37 NW Lake Pl.) famous for its gritty roots, emerging success, and of course—balanced, hoppy beers.
To get to the Tumalo Falls parking area, take Skyliners Rd. from Bend and go left on Tumalo Fall Rd., after the Skyliner Sno-Park. Go early in the morning for fewer crowds and good conditions. In poor weather, wind gusts can create some whiteouts. Dog-friendly!