Shelter Falls is the final waterfall along the South Fork of Whychus Creek, and the last of the nine waterfalls in the area that I visited. While compared to many of the others in the area, the falls aren't nearly as impressive, but this one is just as pretty as all the others, if not more so than some. The South Fork drops over a small ledge in a thickly wooded area before veiling 40 feet over an undercut basalt formation. When visiting the falls, shortly before encountering the waterfall, the remains - or leftovers waiting to be rebuilt perhaps - of a lean-to shelter were encountered, which prompted my naming of the falls. While this definitely isn't a spot that is heavily traveled, it is close enough to the main trail that seeing evidence of other people's trekking shouldn't be unexpected.
- Shelter Falls is the Proposed name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Lower South Fork Falls
I've suggested this name for the falls because of the presence of a notable lean-to shelter which has been built in the area. This waterfall is listed in the appendix of Greg Plumb's "Waterfall Lovers Guide" as Lower South Fork Falls.
The waterfalls of Whychus Creek are located just inside the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, located south of the town of Sisters. From Highway 242 in downtown Sisters, turn south on Forest Service Road 16, signed for Three Creek Lake (do not follow FR 15, signed for Whychus Creek, west of town). After 7 miles, turn right onto FR 1514, and proceed just under 5 miles to FR 1514-600, immediately before crossing Whychus Creek on a large concrete bridge, and turn left. Road 1514-600 is very rough, but passable for passenger cars with decent clearance. Follow this rough road for another 2 miles to a T-junction and bear left, reaching the trailhead in another Â½ mile. Because the falls are located in a dangerous area, I'm not posting specific directions. You'll need good navigational skills, a map and a compass or GPS to find the falls. The easiest access is from the south side of the creek, between Park Creek and the South Fork - this will require at least one ford of Whychus Creek. Shelter Falls is actually quite easy to reach once you've crossed Whychus Creek. I recommend crossing below Chush Falls, just up the trail from the two notable switchbacks (this requires scrambling down into the canyon, however). Once across, the falls are within maybe 500 feet.