The first summer of our waterfall adventures, we went for an impromptu camping trip near McKenzie Bridge without knowing what (if any) waterfalls were in the area. We visited four waterfalls that weekend, three of which are on waterfallsnorthwest.com’s Top 100 list. Pretty good for not planning ahead!
Proxy Falls and Upper Proxy Falls are on a loop trail that led us through a very unique and interesting landscape of lava rocks and forest before giving us a framed view of Proxy Falls. We left the trail to scramble closer to the waterfall and had fun climbing over downed trees to get a close-up side view. Our pictures really don’t do the waterfall justice. It is beautiful, widening as it spills over the rocks. Proxy Falls is #36 on the aforementioned list.
Upper Proxy Falls is not as impressive. It’s difficult to get a good view from the front, but a neat feature is that the stream disappears into the ground just beyond the splash pool. We climbed up the side of the falls, a trek which required using hands as well as feet and covered them both in mud – but we thought it was worth it.
My rating: Must-see / favorite (4 stars)
(Waterfall – 4 stars, Trail – 3 stars, Experience – 4 stars)
Distance from Beaverton: About three hours drive southeast
Nearest town: McKenzie Bridge
Nearest city: The falls are halfway between Eugene and Bend
Length of round-trip hike: 1.5 miles
Best season to visit: Summer or fall (Hwy 242 is closed November-June)
Things to know: There is a $5 fee to hike this trail.
Toilet / Amenities: Toilet and picnic table at trailhead.
How to get there:
- From McKenzie Bridge, take Highway 126 east for about 4 miles.
- Turn right on Highway 242 and follow it for about 6.5 miles to the well-marked trailhead.