I came to Bend for a mini-break/work weekend. After the best Tom Kha soup of my life and a few solid hours of progress on chores, it seemed like time to get out and enjoy the scenery. The weather was clear and cool and perfect for a hike.

Several months ago, thanks to the @OregonExplored Instagram feed, I discovered Chush Falls. Though I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Bend and Sunriver I hadn’t done much exploring around the area outside of town. The shot of the waterfall was feral and gorgeous and I very much wanted to see it. I had planned to swing through Bend at the end of a road trip in January, but since I wasn’t able to make it then, I thought this would be the prefect opportunity to check it out.

The wilderness area where the falls are situated suffered a somewhat serious burn back in 2012 with the Pole Creek fire. Much of the hike from the forest road was still a landscape twisted, black, and barren. The path was soft, wide, and would have lent itself perfectly to a trail run if I hadn’t been feeling under the weather. Everywhere was evidence of the fire.



The hike itself was a bit of a ramble. Mostly flat, with a few short steep sections. The trail was well-marked and though counter-intuitive at times, it’s carefully maintained and easy to follow. There are a few places to ford small streams, but it’s a hop-and-a-skip in almost every case. The trek is redolent of baked mesquite and warm earth. 

Up the last bit of elevation gain you abruptly confront a sign declaring End of Trail. From this vantage, you can see the top of the falls though a screen of trees, but the view is largely obstructed. Off to the right is a vague, but relatively easy scramble down to the creek and a much more direct view of the falls.

Chush Falls


The water pouring over the rocks was absolutely clear. The falls were roaring and just as wild as promised. The spray was so intense getting closer would have left me soaked and without a clear photo, but I’m sure in hot weather it is tremendously refreshing. The effort to reward ratio on this was well in its favor.