3 Mile Round Trip hike in Deschutes National Forest leading to a viewpoint overlooking Chush Falls
While visiting the Sisters area my family decided to hit the trail for a hike. Not knowing any area trails, I perused a "where to hike in Sisters" list provided by our resort and found this 3 mile round trip trail. The directions to the trailhead did not state road conditions. Therefore, I want to be perfectly clear that this hike trailhead is located off of a narrow, rocky, wash-board surfaced, dirt road that may not be suitable for all car types. The good news is that if you do hike this remote trail, you'll probably have the trail all to yourself; which is exactly how it was when we hiked it in early August.
Once you arrive to the trailhead, be sure to complete the required Wilderness Self-Issue Permit provided at the trailhead sign. Its free to hike this trail, but this permit is required. The trail is well marked, well groomed, and relatively flat with only a few sections with a slight incline. My kids ages 3, 8, and 11 had no problem hiking the trail unassisted and wearing sneakers.
The trail meanders through Ponderosa Pine and spruce covered forests, and parallels the east side of Whychus Creek. There is only one river crossing, which can be made without getting feet wet via a flat log across the trail. The trail remains mostly shaded by the tall trees, but I would still suggest wearing sunscreen and hats, and bring plenty of water. The trail comes to an overlook of a beautiful cascading waterfall at approximately 1 mile. The trail does continue on for another 1/2 mile to another overlook. I would recommend seeing both overlooks. Note that there is no safe access from the trail down to the base of the steep falls. The falls can only be enjoyed from above.
Overall, this is a nice trail for families who are looking for an off the beaten path uncrowded hike. The trail is nicely groomed, easy enough for kids to hike, and the waterfall payoff at the end is well worth the effort.