Come Visit Them Anytime.
Now that spring is here, local waterfalls are breaking free of the winter’s ice and snow, just like the rest of us. When you’re coming up to the Villages of Mt. Hood for a day trip or an overnight getaway, be sure and stop for a calming, refreshing interlude at one of the many waterfalls in the area. Would your horse like to go hiking too? Many area falls are located along trails open to livestock. Call the Zigzag Ranger Station to check your destination and permits before you load up.
cascades 80 to 100 feet down an irregular basalt cliff, becoming a texture of many little falls in one wide, lovely wall of water. Dense forest keeps its viewing area cool and shaded, which may make a sweater a good idea if you plan on stopping awhile. The beauty and ease of access of these falls makes for a very popular destination, especially on weekends. For a less crowded experience, you may want to experience a weekday trip. A $5 NW Forest Pass is required for this hike.
If you’d rather not go too far off the road, Little Zigzag Falls is handily located 4.1 miles east of Rhododendron just off Hwy 26, at the end of Forest Rd 2639. You’ll find the falls an easy quarter-mile walk in. It’s a great break from driving for you and the kids. The hikers-only trail is sheltered by tall firs, hemlocks and red cedars. The falls rush at a low, wide angle like a slide, and its heavily wooded setting is cool, mossy and green.
Cast Creek Falls,
better known as Apparition Falls, are about 6/10 of a mile up Cast Creek where it intersects with Forest Rd 382. Like any apparition, you have to be looking for them even though they’re right there. You’ll be rewarded with a two-segment waterfall of about 150 feet. Apparition Falls is a latecomer among recognized area waterfalls, having been first spotted in 1983 by Tom Kloster. Kloster then spent 20 years looking for them before spotting them again in 2003. Do note that though Apparition Falls is close to the road, the trip there is challenging and shouldn’t be done alone or by inexperienced hikers.
Devil Canyon Falls, also close to Highway 26 in Devil Canyon, occurs where Devils Creek drops 180 feet into the heavily wooded Zigzag Valley. This particularly dramatic sight is accessed from a large parking area close to the viewpoint. The road past the parking area is narrow, rough, and steep in spots; go on foot or mountain bike for a more rewarding adventure.
Frustration Falls, located about 200 yards above Final Falls in the Salmon River Gorge, is named for its notorious difficulty in viewing. Once you maneuver into the right spot, though, you’ll be rewarded by an awe-inspiring view of the water rushing 55 feet down into a narrow vertical rock space. Frustration Falls are viewed after hiking 4 miles up Salmon River Trail #742. The terrain is challenging and provides a full day of scenery for experienced hikers. Bring a lunch to enjoy by the falls.
For those with expert level skills at kayaking, Frustration Falls has become a favorite “back-country” boating destination. Experienced kayakers last year trekked up to the falls with their boats on their backs to run the narrow white water falls.
Whether you want to start your spring with a gentle stroll on a groomed path, or a challenging hard-won peek at a hidden wonder, there are beautiful Oregon waterfalls in The Villages of Mt Hood that's waiting for your discovery.
The author would like to thank Rick Petersen of www.mthood.info for his help with this story.
Ramona Falls map with photos www.nwhiker.com
Map of Hidden Lake Trail to Little Zigzag Falls: www.mthood.info
Map of West Zigzag Mountain with Devil Canyon Falls www.mthood.info
(Note: The falls’ location is indicated by the hatchmarks between the words “Falls” and “Devil’s Canyon” on the map)
For more info and stories stories with photos of the search for Apparition Falls: www.splintercat.org
Salmon River Gorge map, including Final and Frustration Falls www.splintercat.org
Photo tours of the Salmon River Gorge Waterfalls www.splintercat.org
Photo tour of the kayak ride down Frustration Falls http://crgkayaking.blogspot.com
Mt Hood Information
Your Compass to Exploring Mt Hood
Zigzag Ranger District - Zigzag Ranger Station
70220 E. Highway 26 Zigzag, Oregon 97049
Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:45am - 4:30pm
Closed on National Holidays
Telephone: Voice: (503) 622-3191