Steelhead Falls

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Steelhead Falls


  • The trailhead to Steelhead Falls.- Steelhead Falls
  • The well-maintained trail leading down to the river valley is full of sagebrush and juniper trees.- Steelhead Falls
  • Steelhead falls is just a half mile from the parking area.- Steelhead Falls
  • Basin sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is abundant along the trail.- Steelhead Falls
  • The first views of the Deschutes River.- Steelhead Falls
  • Rock formations along the trail.- Steelhead Falls
  • The Deschutes River Valley.- Steelhead Falls
  • The Deschutes River Valley.- Steelhead Falls
  • The Deschutes River Valley.- Steelhead Falls
  • Notice the remains of the old fish ladder at the base of the tree.- Steelhead Falls
  • Railings ease the path down to the viewing and cliff jumping area. - Steelhead Falls
  • The view of 20-foot Steelhead Falls.- Steelhead Falls
  • Steelhead Falls.- Steelhead Falls
  • Steelhead Falls with its western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) guardian. - Steelhead Falls
  • 3...2...1...Jump! This is the cliff jumping location.- Steelhead Falls
  • The river quiets down after the falls.- Steelhead Falls
  • If it's sunny, you just might catch a rainbow in the waterfall spray.- Steelhead Falls
  • - Steelhead Falls
Overview + Weather
Waterfall. Cliff jumping and swimming hole. Well-maintained trail.
Can be hard to find. Crowded in the summer.
Central Oregon, OR
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
140.00 ft (42.67 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,430.00 ft (740.66 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description


Named for the trout that once frequented the river, Steelhead Falls is a well-known swimming hole and cliff jumping spot in central Oregon not far from Smith Rock State Park. Even if you’re not in the mood for a plunge in the icy waters of the Deschutes River, the well-maintained half-mile trial to the falls offers spectacular views of the canyons, bird life, and the 20-foot falls. Just below the waterfall there are plenty of 25- to 30-foot cliffs that are perfect for jumping, but take caution as the climb out of the water is quite steep. If you prefer to forego the cannonball and just dip your toes in the refreshing water, you can access the river further down the trail via a sandy beach area.

On the left side of the falls you’ll find the remains of an old fish ladder that the steelhead once used to make their way around the falls, but fish are now blocked by dams downstream. There are number of fishing spots along the trail. Anglers have had luck with rainbow and brown trout on this stretch of the river.

This is a great year-round hike, but the best time for swimming is June through August when the water temperatures have warmed.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(24 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(68 within a 30 mile radius)

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