Post Summary: What To Expect at Sahalie and Koosah Falls in Oregon
It’s not a secret – we’re huge fans of Oregon!
Every time we return, there’s a new waterfall for us to explore – 238 to be exact! Berty and I are nowhere close to seeing them all, but we like to try and discover a few new ones during our visits.
On our latest trip to Eugene, we decided to take the long way home and explore some Cascade Mountain waterfalls in Oregon.
On our agenda this time around was Sahalie and Koosah Falls, which are located right off of McKenzie Highway 126. This area is a perfect spot for a break or picnic! Read on to see what it’s like and why it’s worth a stop on your trip to the Mackenzie River.
What To Expect at Sahalie and Koosah Falls Trail
Where is Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls?
Both Sahalie and Koosah Falls are part of the Willamette National Forest, which is centrally located in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. The trip to Sahalie Falls make a perfect day trip from Eugene because the falls are only a 1-hour 20-minute drive away from the city. Talk about close!
To reach the Sahalie Falls trailhead, take Highway 126 either northbound or southbound. Look for the parking lot on the west side of the road – here are the parking lot coordinates: 44.3480549, -122.0037204
There is a 2.6-mile loop trail that connects both Sahalie and Koosah Falls and they are very easy to reach. We were really happy to get out of the car and stretch our legs for a bit – this waterfall stop is perfect for doing just that.
There aren’t many places that allow you a two-for-one waterfall deal, so we were stoked to take the loop trail that connects both Sahalie and Koosah Falls.
This place can be a destination in itself or simply a stop along the way – the McKenzie River area is full of beautiful locations and places to explore.
From the beginning of the Sahalie and Koosah Falls trail, Sahalie Falls will be your first stop. It’s such a short trek to the base that you can hear this one roar from the parking lot!
Not even 100 steps away, Sahalie Falls is a powerful force with the most beautiful blue water. It drops 100 feet into the McKenzie river below. We came on an incredibly foggy/rainy day, but that’s the kind of mood we expect in the Pacific Northwest.
These jackets are seriously legit. Berty practically stood under Sahalie Falls and he came back with a dramatic contrast – everything under the jacket was nice and dry but his pants were soaking wet!
We couldn’t think of a better jacket for surviving the Pacific Northwest weather.
After some time spent near Sahalie Falls, take the trail along the McKenzie River southbound towards Koosah Falls. There are several incredible photogenic spots along the trail, so we definitely encourage request stops. However, if the waterfall is your goal, you can reach it in about 15 minutes!
The path is an easy trail alongside the river, with pockets of river viewpoints along the way. The first view of Koosah Falls is not the actual falls, but the view from the very top.
Berty and I stood and watched the river flow for quite some time. It was the most magnificent blue – just like its sister falls, Sahalie.
Koosah Falls is a 70-foot waterfall and flows down into a deep pool below. I’m no geology expert (Susie? Help us out?) but I’m sure that’s where the blue comes from – the deep water!
We also took a little time here to stop and be thankful for our little corner of the world. The Pacific Northwest has such a unique combination of mountains, rivers, oceans, and forests! We feel very lucky to be so close to so many amazing places.
Read More: The 2018 Pacific Northwest Bucket List
Reaching the end of the loop for the return trip, there’s an overlook which gives you a direct view of Koosah Falls.
Not Ready To Leave The McKenzie River Corridor?
This was a short but sweet trip for us, but there are so many more things to do in this part of the Willamette National Forest! If you are looking to explore more gorgeous Oregon hikes and Oregon photography spots along Highway 126, here are some ideas to get you started!
Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool): Tamolitch Falls (also known as the Blue Pool) isn’t popular for its waterfall per see, but rather the deep, turquoise blue pool the water enters at the bottom! It’s possible to take a dip, but we don’t necessarily recommend it – the water temperatures average a FRIGID 37 degrees all year long!
Terwilliger Hot Springs (Cougar Hot Springs): This is an extremely popular Oregon hot spring to visit, and for good reason too!
Bigelow Hot Springs: Bigelow Hot Springs is an easy to reach Pacific Northwest Hot Springs off the side of the McKenzie River. It has a milder temperature than other Oregon hot springs, so come with warm clothes to change in afterward!
Proxy Falls: Proxy Falls is an easy -1.6-mile out and back trail to one of Oregon’s most famous waterfalls! This majestic falls cascade down a lush moss-covered rocky slope, creating an epic rainforest scene!
McKenzie River Trail: This 26-mile one-way Oregon hike follows the McKenzie River, right through some of the most popular attractions! (Think hot springs, waterfalls, and more!) This is a popular trail to see old-growth Douglas Firs. You can also bike this path for a fun day trip from Eugene!
What are some of your favorite waterfalls in Oregon? Have you ever explored Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls? Let us know in the comments below!
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