Hiking to Chush Falls
Oregon › Chush Falls
Added by Richard Bacon
Easy hikeSweeping mountain viewsOverlooking views of Wychus CreekTrail ends at a cascading waterfall5 miles roundtrip (6 if you're headed to the upper falls)
Just outside of Sisters, Oregon, near Bend, is a beautiful hike to a picturesque waterfall. It is rarely crowded thanks (and no thanks) to the Pole Creek Fire, which ravaged the area several years ago. Because of the fire, the hike and landscape have been drastically altered. What used to be a 2-mile round trip hike to the falls is now close to 5 miles round trip.
To access the start of the trail, follow these directions: From Highway 242, in downtown Sisters, turn south on Forest Service Road 16, signed for Three Creek Lake (do not follow FR 15, signed for Squaw Creek, west of town). After 7 miles, turn right onto FR 1514, and proceed just under 5 miles to FR 1514-600. Immediately before crossing Whychus Creek on a large concrete bridge, and turn left. This road is very rocky, so have a car with good clearance. In a mile, you will come to a pile of rocks blocking the road and this is where you will start the hike. Before the fire, you would continue another mile and a half to the real trailhead.
When starting the hike, you will walk a couple hundred feet until you come to a trail on your right. You may either take that trail, which follows more closely to Wychus Creek, or you can continue straight on the road, which will meet up with the trail near the original trailhead. The road has more fallen trees and is a bit harder to traverse.
While hiking, you will find yourself in an eerie, but beautiful section of burnt forest with sweeping views of several mountains, including the Three Sisters and Broken Top. As you continue on the trail, you will come across the original trailhead, which signifies you are a mile from the Falls. At this point, there are a good amount of fallen trees across the trail. Since the trail is not maintained, it can be a little tricky to stay on the right track, especially if there is snow on the ground. GPS is recommended to be certain you are heading in the right direction. After crossing several creeks, you will come to a windy section with some incline. Once you reach the top, you will come to a clearing with a sign indicating the lookout for Chush Falls. The viewpoint is very limited, but there is a path worn down by hikers that will take you to the base of the falls. This is somewhat steep, so be careful as you descend. Once reaching the base of the falls, you find yourself in a lush meadow with an upclose view of the 67 foot falls.
Once climbing back to the lookout after viewing the falls, you can head back the way you came, or try to continue up Wychus Creek. There are several more falls further along the creek, but there is no designated trail. Explore this area at your own risk and, again, it's best to use GPS to make sure you don't get lost.
You may access this trail throughout the year, but winter can be a challenge. Snowshoes are recommended during winter months, and, as mentioned, the snow can make the trail tough to follow.
- Hiking shoes
- Snowshoes (depending on season)
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Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Snowshoeing
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Great Short Hike
The trail is reasonably well maintained despite the changing landscape as the forest recovers from a pretty devastating fire. The 1st had of the trail is in a heavily burned area, followed by a less heavily affected forest as the trail rises in elevation. The climb down to the lower part of the falls is steep and eroded. Many parts of the trail are or should be closed for vegetation to re-establish. This trail currently has beautiful views of the sisters and broken top along the way through the burnt pines' rising above the horizon. Wychus creek and the falls are stunning in the late spring/early-summer.
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