Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls, on the McKenzie River National Scenic Trail, is steps from trailhead access off Highway 126.
Sahalie Falls, on the McKenzie River National Scenic Trail, is steps from trailhead access off Highway 126.

Get positive vibes from waterfalls, cozy cabins and outdoor adventure

written by Cathy Carroll

Need a boost for embracing new year’s goals? Want to work smarter, not harder? Bemoaning winter’s diminished light and time spent indoors in front of a computer screen—or just feeling glum?

Try a waterfall. Extensive scientific research points to negative ions emitted as the pounding water at falls break apart air molecules. These particles can instantly affect the human brain—pressing a reset button and imparting calm, focus and invigoration.

A visit to Sahalie Falls is a fantastic way to reap all of these benefits, and it’s so easy to do. You can get within 100 feet of the massive cascade of white water from a viewing platform that’s wheelchair accessible, about a half-minute stroll from the parking lot. Close your eyes and breathe in the positive vibes from the negative ions as the falls plunge 100 feet over a natural lava dam. Breathe in the air, fragrant with the surrounding cedars, maples, pines and firs in this giant, free, essential-oil diffuser.

Feel worries wash away with the McKenzie River, winding through forest. Freshly recharged, go have fun!

Do the easy, family friendly 2.6-mile loop trail connecting Sahalie with its neighbor, Koosah Falls, which drops about 70 feet into a deep, mesmerizing pool. Along the way, pop a trivia question: in which Disney movie did Sahalie appear? (Answer: Homeward Bound.)

You can continue on this, the McKenzie River National Scenic Trail, and wind around Carmen Reservoir where the river flows underground for most of the year. Walking along this dry creek bed in old growth forest, you’ll cross a few bridges and meander deep into the valley. After about two miles, you’ll seize another reward: Tamolich Blue Pool, where the river emerges up from the ground in a placid, sapphire, reflecting mirror of water. The U.S. Forest Service’s eleven clearly marked trailheads offer access from Highway 126.

The river may likely tempt you to drop in a line and find out what fortunate anglers across America know. It’s home to twenty-two native fish and now is the season for reeling in steelhead on the spring-fed waterway. Fly fishers come here year-round for wild, redside rainbows. Outfitters are ready to help you find them, and innkeepers at cozy lodging throughout the area are fluffing pillows, waiting for you to settle in after a day of ion-induced relaxation.

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