At 97-feet tall, Tumalo Falls is one of the Bend area's most touted outdoor attractions. Throughout the summer, tourists and day hikers flock to take in the beautiful waterfall and surrounding scenery. The winter gives the waterfall and entirely new look. Many choose to take the direct route up the seasonally closed Tumalo Falls Road and back. This adventure, however, describes a more scenic and much less crowded loop that best befits intermediate cross country skiers.
Park at the Skyliner Sno Park, just before the bridge that crosses Tumalo Creek. The first section of trail is flat and runs parallel to Skyliner Road. The trail continues after the road ends, lightly gaining elevation as it twists through the forest. As you come closer to the destination, views of river in the valley below, cliffs to the north and the narrowing valley to the east become more common.
Upon arriving at Tumalo Falls, visit the lower viewpoint and then head to the top for a fantastic look from the side and top of the waterfall. Tread carefully along the cliffs. Often the snow is higher than installed guard rails, meaning you have to stay back farther than during the summer.
After taking you fill of the waterfall, cross to the north side of Tumalo Creek and take Tumalo Falls Road back to Skyliner Sno-Park. You will have to walk a few hundred yards farther up the road than there-and-back hikers to return to Skyliner Sno-Park.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.