Hiking for Waterfalls on Peter Skene Ogden Trail

Oregon McKay Campground

Added by Richard Bacon

Moderate hike (8 miles roundtrip), but you can hike as far as you'd likeMore than a handful of beautiful waterfallsClose proximity to Paulina Falls and Paulina LakeCamping availableViews of Paulina Peak

Before I go into the detail of this specific hike, I'd like to mention there are several ways to explore this trail, all which have different entry points and lead to different areas. I am highlighting a path that passes a handful of waterfalls and, if you choose, you can continue to further destinations, such as Paulina Lake.

With that said, a great starting point for this trail, in my opinion, is the McKay Campground site. 21 miles south of Bend on the 97, turn left on the Paulina Lake Road and follow that for 3.2 miles, turn left onto a dirt road labeled McKay Crossing campground, and after 2.3 miles, you'll reach the campground. While entering the campground, you'll come to a metal bridge and right before it, you'll see a sign signifying a waterfall 500 feet to your left. That is McKay Falls, and it's a quick and easy spot to check out before starting the trail. To start the actual hike, go across the bridge you saw as you entered and you will see a sign for the start of the Peter Skene Ogden trail to your right.

The beginning of the trail takes you through the some burnt woods with Paulina Creek on your right. It isn't until about 30 minutes into the hike where the creek starts having more rapids that the waterfalls start appearing. The trail keeps close to the creek and waterfalls for the majority of the trail, with paths leading up close to several falls, but a couple require some scrambling down, or a quick jaunt to a cliff to view the falls.

There are several areas with rock waterslides that are frequented in summer months, and pools for swimming beneath waterfalls. After 4 miles, you'll come to a waterfall with a wooden bridge a hundred feet behind it. This is where I turned back. At this point, it's only 3 miles further until Paulina Lake, and even closer until you hit Paulina Falls, which is a popular tourist attraction and pretty waterfall.

This trail is best used during spring and summer months when snow is minimal. The trail is also open to mountain bikers and horses, so pay attention to your surroundings as you hike.

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • Swim trunks (If you plan to swim in the summertime)
  • Snacks
  • Water
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Swimming Hole
Waterfall

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

over 1 year ago

Great family hike

We went with four adults, four young kids (4-7 years old), and two dogs (off-leash) and had a fantastic time. The hike incline was very shallow and the kids had no trouble at all. The falls were lovely. The dogs got wet and were happy.

over 1 year ago

More Adventures Nearby

Snowshoe or XC Ski to Tumalo Falls

Oregon / Tumalo Falls

If you are looking to Hike to Tumalo Falls in any season other than winter, click here!In the summer, Tumalo Falls can be a great destination to drive up and hang out due to the fact that you can par.

Austin Jackson
4 Saves

Raft the Wild and Scenic Clackamas River

Oregon / Clackamas River (NF-4620)

The Wild and Scenic Clackamas River above the North Fork Reservoir is a great destination for paddlers and only about an hour drive from downtown Portland. This popular 13.

John Sunich
6 Saves

Snowshoe Tom, Dick, and Harry

Oregon / Skibowl

Your day of adventure will start at the Skibowl West parking lot. Unfortunately, due to snowplowing, the roadside parking to the Mirror Lake trailhead is covered in snow.

Austin Jackson
20 Saves