Sahalie is a Chinook word that translates to “heaven,” “high,” or “upper,” and all of these meanings resonate. Sahalie Falls is the uppermost of three falls the McKenzie River makes in the first few miles from its headwaters at Clear Lake, and it is the tallest and most thunderous. Here the river roars over the 70-foot drop in a white rush, spraying the perennially green basin with mist and storming quickly on to Koosah Falls just downstream. In a region that is geologically defined by a massive basalt flow, the river’s progress through the landscape is truly impressive.
The facilities at Sahalie Falls prioritize accessibility and education. You’ll find several interpretive panels, vault toilets, and a universally accessible walkway to the viewpoints. Another short trial leads up to the crest of the falls and a view of the turbulent rapids downstream.
The trail from Sahalie to Koosah Falls is less than a mile and well worth walking. Aside from the powerful whitewater, you’ll be walking through a quintessential McKenzie River old-growth corridor densely packed with mosses, ferns, Douglas firs, hemlocks, and cedars. It is a great walk year round, and there are miles to walk or bike in either direction if you are interested in exploring more of this fascinating region.