Surprisingly little has been published and is known about Lava Island Falls, considering it is one of the most significant waterfalls along Oregon's Deschutes River. Most documentation I'd seen of the falls prior to visiting made it sound like mere ripples in the river. Upon visit, I was pretty taken aback by how much of an actual drop there was. Where the Deschutes splits around Lava Island, the main channel of the river chutes over a two-stepped cascade totaling about 15 feet in height, while a smaller channel drops over vertical falls of 10 and 5 feet. Other sources cite the falls as dropping 100 feet in a linear mile - which stretches the concept of falling water paper thin. The reason for the lack of publicity, however, stems from the fact that is it absolutely impossible to see either of the actual waterfalls head on. Private homes line the bank of the river where the only clear views of the falls are had, and every location where trails near the river, the river bends away and falls in the opposite direction. So while this is one of the more impressive waterfalls on the mighty Deschutes, there is little reason to visit unless there is an alternate access on the other side of the river.
- Lava Island Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
Located west of Bend off of the Cascade Lakes Highway. From Highway 97 in Bend, follow the signs towards Cascade Lakes Highway and Mt Bachelor (through Bend, the road is called Century Drive). You'll pass several roundabouts before resuming a four-lane highway. About 6 Â¼ miles from Bend turn left on FR 41, signed for the Deschutes River Recreation area. Just under Â½ mile later, turn left again onto FR 842, signed for Lava Island Falls, and follow it to its end in another Â¾ mile. When parking, head towards the Boat Ramp, rather than the day use area, it cuts the necessary walk in half. At the boat ramp, the falls are about 200 feet downstream. Trails parallel the river next to the falls, but there are never any good views. Unless you're really itching to see what little there is to see here, I'd advise just skipping this one.