Click here for current wildfire information in Central Oregon including up-to-date conditions and restrictions.

Steelhead Falls Bend

Photo courtesy of Megan Egli

Step back in time at Steelhead Falls, where a 20-foot cascade tumbles over a rocky stretch in the Deschutes River and sits surrounded by all manner of natural beauty.

All year long, the rugged river gorge marvels with rocky layers that trace millions of years of changing climates and evolving landscapes. But each season shows off a different side of the waterfall and offers plenty of reasons to return.

Start by following a short, one-mile (round-trip) hiking trail that heads through a forest of juniper and sagebrush before ending at a wide-open viewpoint of Steelhead Falls. (Friendly heads-up: The path features a couple rocky stretches and a quick, steep section—but is otherwise flat.)

In spring, wildflowers line the trail and golden eagles soar over the rugged river canyon; this is also when the waterfall, fed by seasonal rain and snowmelt, is at its raging peak. By summer, anglers cast a line for steelhead, rainbow trout, and brook trout in cool, deep pools near the waterfall. Come autumn, cool temperatures invite lingering and encourage hikers to watch for wildlife in the hillsides above. In winter, ice rings the waterfall and offers some of the year’s most dramatic views; just be sure to bring snowshoes or microspikes to stay safe on the trail.

If visiting between spring and fall, keep an eye out for rattlesnakes that live along the trail.

Open Season

Year-round

Dog Friendly and/or Leash Rules

Dogs are permitted but must be leashed at the trailhead at all times.

Best time to visit

April-Nov.

Don’t Miss

A springtime hike showcases the waterfall at its most thundering—with cooler temperatures and early-season wildflower displays providing a welcome treat.

Fees or Pass Needed

None

Restrictions

None

Activities

Hiking

Viewpoint

Parking

Parking is available at the Steelhead Falls Trailhead.

Directions

From Redmond, the 15-mile drive to the Steel Falls Trailhead takes about 25 minutes via northbound Highway 97 and a mix of country backroads.

Other stories

More inspiring stories, adventures, and tips & tricks for planning and experiencing the best Central Oregon has to offer.

  • What to Bring on Your Next Central Oregon Hike
    What to Bring on Your Next Central Oregon Hike

    With Cascade peaks dotting our skyline and clear mountain lakes enticing paddlers — not to mention thick forests, craggy volcanic features, and wide-open deserts all comprising our landscapes — there are several summers’ worth of outdoor experiences to enjoy around Central Oregon. But before you hit the trail this season, make sure you’re prepared. Here’s what to bring — and what to know about making the most of your next Central Oregon hike (whether it’s your first or 101st).

  • The Scenic Waterfalls in Central Oregon
    The Scenic Waterfalls in Central Oregon

    Is there anything more satisfying—anything more awe-inspiring—than gazing upon a thundering waterfall, its raging waters tumbling over ancient rock walls? Does it get any better than seeing a waterfall reach full boil in the midst of an otherwise quiet river as it crashes through a rock-lined canyon?