Umbrella Falls, Oregon

Umbrella Falls in October 2013

I sometimes visit too many waterfalls. I had been going through pictures at one point, and noticed there seemed to be a waterfall I hadn’t identified. I remember that the waterfall was in Oregon, and went back to find out it was Umbrella Falls. I’m not sure why I missed it!

Umbrella Falls is actually found on Mount Hood. As you’re driving up to the trailhead (which ends up at the ski area if you go a bit further), you will be treated to some amazing views of the summit. The trailhead is relatively easy to find, and the hike to Umbrella Falls is relatively short at just over a quarter mile one-way. It didn’t take a particularly long time to hike to the falls, and it was a very enjoyable hike the whole way. The waterfall is 59′ tall, and is really very beautiful. On the October day I visited, it was surprisingly warm even at this higher elevation, and while the sun made it slightly difficult to photograph the waterfall, it was perfect otherwise.

There is another waterfall, Sahalie Falls, that can be viewed by continuing along this trail. It’s an additional 2.1 miles one-way. I decided to not hike that distance, and I’m guessing it was because it was later in the day and I may have been worn out. From maps, it also looked like Sahalie Falls could be quickly accessed from one of the other forest roads, but I found that the road I was looking for had been blocked off (if I remember correctly). That may have changed in the two years since I’ve been there?

Directions:

  1. From the intersection of US-26 and OR-35, head east/northeast along OR-35.
  2. You will drive just over 6 miles to the “exit” for Mt. Hood Meadows Road.
  3. Drive north along Mt. Hood Meadows Road for about 1.5 miles. If you look to the right as you drive slowly by, you may notice the trail for Umbrella Falls. I believe there was a sign for the falls, but it wasn’t immediately obvious.
  4. I turned around in the ski parking lot (after taking some pictures of Mt. Hood), and then looped back around down and parked on the side of the road.
  5. I started along the trail to Umbrella Falls. It’s a pretty simple/straightforward trail.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Distance of Hike: 0.25 miles one-way
Height: 59′

Where in the World is Umbrella Falls?

Little Zigzag Falls, Oregon

A few months back in October 2013, I visited Oregon, and it was an amazingly beautiful weekend. The sun was out and the temperatures were extremely enjoyable. Near Portland, there are so many options in the Columbia River gorge, but I decided to look for waterfalls more inland. Off in its own world is White River Falls. Nearer to Portland and Mt. Hood are a number of other waterfalls that take a little bit of driving to visit. I didn’t stop to see many of them, either because of time issues or because they required even more driving down back roads.

One of the easiest to visit off of US-26, the Mt. Hood Highway, is Little Zigzag Falls. This little treasure of a waterfall is found between Mt. Hood Village and Government Camp. There is a three mile drive to the falls, but it is along a completely paved road. The 1/4 mile hike to the falls is very enjoyable, though it was rather chilly because of the shade. There were so many great vantage points, though rocks were preventing the whole waterfall from being photographed at any one of those viewpoints. While I might not go out of the way just to view this waterfall, you can see other waterfalls in the area, along with great views of Mt. Hood. (Right at the beginning of the hike, there are also the very cool remnants of the old US-26, if I remember correctly.)

Directions:

  1. Head east on US-26 from Mt. Hood Village. If you go past Government Camp, you have gone too far.
  2. Turn left onto 39 Road, which is easy to turn onto if you’re headed east. (Headed west, it’s a sharp right turn.)
  3. Head the three miles or so down 39 Road to the dead end. Park and hike to the falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy)
Height: 35′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Little Zigzag Falls in October 2013

Where in the World is Little Zigzag Falls?