Distance: 8 miles roundtrip (can also make a loop out of it if you want)
Time: 3 1/2-4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Season: June to October
Permit: Northwest Forest Pass
Dog Friendly: Yes. Off-leash fun for most of the trail, but there are steep drop offs in places and the trail is used by mountain bikers….
Pros: Beautiful waterfalls, gentle trail, close to Bend, views of neighboring mountains and a pretty meadow.
Cons: Multi-use trail, parking lot can be full even on a weekday.
I’ve been eye-balling this area for a couple of years now, so I was pretty stoked to finally check it out. We hiked from the parking area up to Happy Valley, which is just under 4 miles one way. The trail winds through the forest at times, but mostly follows along the creek, allowing stupendous views of waterfalls and occasional access for a doggy dip.
The trail is easy going, a nice gradual grade with some flat spots too… ie. much easier than most of the hikes we do. We had a non-hiker friend with us and she loved the hike and didn’t complain…maybe we can convert her?
It was a perfect cool fall day….rain was predicted for mid afternoon, so we turned around at Happy Valley after having a creek-side picnic.
Honestly this was an incredibly easy hike with beautiful scenery. It’s perfect for days when maybe you aren’t at 100% energy, you just want a quick jaunt out of town or you’re introducing a friend or child to the outdoors. And the trail is incredibly straight forward, no junctions, no “off trail” navigation…just beautiful trees and waterfalls.
And to keep our non-hiking friend happy, and to keep us happy too, we wrapped up our afternoon at 10 Barrel for a victory beer before heading home.