Our directions to Devil Canyon Falls said, “The road is usually navigable by automobiles during the summertime.” Mysterious statement, right?
Here’s what it should have said: “Even in July, you’ll most likely encounter puddles the width of the road and several car lengths’ long.” And who knows how deep!
To get to the viewpoint for this impressive waterfall, we turned onto Zigzag Mountain Road from Highway 26. The first 2 miles of the road really weren’t that bad. But then we hit the first puddle. I suggested we turn around. My husband ignored me. (If you’ve been reading my reports for a while, you’ve probably guessed: I’m the cautious one, and my husband is the never-back-down-from-a-challenge type.)
Driving on the edge of the road, we made it past the first puddle. And the second. And then came the third, which was about twice as large as the previous two. Did we keep going? Of course we did. And after the monstrosity of the third puddle, the fourth felt almost tame.
We reached the viewpoint with the right half of our car dripping mud. And on the way back, of course, the left side took its turn in the mud baths. But, I have to say, it was worth it.
Even though the viewpoint is a distant one, the height and volume of the waterfall makes it an impressive sight. And what more dramatic backdrop is there than the forested slopes of Mt. Hood?
For those of you who are more adventurous than I am, there is a way (or two?) to hike to the waterfall for a closer view. See the Oregon Hikers’ links below for more details on that possibility.
My rating: Worth the Effort (2 stars) (Waterfall – 2 stars, Trail – n/a, Experience – 1 star)
Distance from Beaverton: About an hour and a half drive east
Nearest town: Rhododendron
Nearest city: Portland
Length of round-trip hike: N/A
Best season to visit: Definitely summer, unless you have a high-clearance vehicle that can safely navigate puddles of unknown depth. We visited the weekend of July 4, and I would not recommend trying the road any earlier than that.
Toilet / Amenities: None
How to get there:
- From Rhododendron, drive 1.6 miles east on Hwy 26. (From Kiwanis Camp Road (which accesses Little Zigzag Falls), drive 2.4 miles west.)
- Turn north onto Forest Service Road 27-2627 (Zigzag Mountain Road).
- Follow the road 4 miles to the viewpoint at an overlook of the valley.