The McKenzie River Waterfall Loop Trail
Trail Description: The McKenzie River Waterfall Loop trail takes you through old growth forest around two massive waterfalls – the Koosah and Sahalie Waterfalls. This trail is part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail (also know simply as The McKenzie River Trail or MRT) It follows the McKenzie River as it flows over two spectacular waterfalls and cascades into whitewater.
“Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls in one awesome hiking experience.”
If there is only 1 thing you have time to see when in the area – this is it! If you can’t hike, at least stop and see the Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls viewpoints.
|3 mi / 4.8 km||Spring to Fall||2800 ft||Heavy||Moderate|
Hiking this Section of the McKenzie River Trail
The McKenzie River Waterfall Loop Trail has two main access points:
- Sahalie Falls viewpoint and parking lot – This parking area is not very big and can get really busy on weekends during the summer season.
- Koosah Falls viewpoint and parking lot – This parking lot is also very small, yet is not used as much.
We recommend starting at the lower trailhead – it easier to stay on the trail and not get lost. We encourage you to have a map when accessing from the Waterfalls. A down loadable trail map is available here at McKenzieRiverTrail.com. (Free – no registration required.)
Water: Potable water available at Ice Cap Campground.
Bathrooms: Both Sahalie and Koosah trailheads have toilets in the parking area.
Directions/How to get there: From McKenzie Ranger River Station, take Highway 126 east to the Koosah or Sahalie Falls parking areas. Use the “Get Directions” map link, under the map image on the upper right of this page.
Want a Longer Hike?
Tamolitch Blue Pool is approx. 3 miles down river from Koosah Falls and is another gorgeous viewpoint that is well worth the hike. However, it’s 6 miles round trip form Koosah Falls. There are shuttle options that can help with logistics.
Clear Lake is about a mile north of Sahalie Falls.
A great 9 mile day hike starts at Clear Lake, goes down 1 side of the McKenzie River Waterfall Loop Trail, takes you to the Tamolitch Blue Pool and ends at the main trailhead for Tamolitch Blue Pool near Trailbridge Reservoir. This is a great way to see the top 4 scenic attractions along the McKenzie River Trail. You will need to self shuttle or arrange a shuttle to do this hike.
The main viewpoints are fairly wheelchair and stroller friendly. Be advised – there is an incline to get to viewpoints. Have a strong and capable person assist with the decent and returning climb.
The extended trail is NOT wheelchair or stroller friendly. This is a moderate hike through some rocky lava flows.
- Wear sensible hiking shoes and be ready for a vigorous adventure.
- Hiking poles/sticks can add stability for those who might need them.
- Bring water and snacks – just remember to Leave No Trace – carry out all wrappers and trash with you.
There are trash cans and bathrooms at both Sahalie and Koosah Falls trailhead.
If you have babies or infants you may find a baby backpack will help – Strollers will NOT make it through the trail.
Parents, consider whether or not your young child can do a vigorous 4 mile hike. This is a lot for most small kids – especially if they are not super active outside.
Hiking Shuttles are Available
See the best highlights of the trail with a one way hike that covers Tamolitch Blue Pool along with Sahalie, Koosah Falls and even Clear Lake! McKenzie River Mountain Resort & Shuttle offers a shuttle for hikers and mountain bikers. Options include 5, 6 (add the 2 waterfalls) or 9 mile hike (add Clear Lake). Shuttle rates are $25-30 per person. Shuttles are daily during the season and by appointment. Reservations required (Rates as of 12/2021)
Other Area Waterfalls
The main video features dramatic drone footage of Sahalie and Koosah Falls on the McKenzie River. The video was taken by Carl Roessler early in the year – late winter, just before spring. Sahalie and Koosah waterfalls boast a strong flow rate all year long.