This appears to be the major waterfall of the South Fork of Whychus Creek. In all likelihood, there are more waterfalls upstream of this point, but I suspect none are as large as this 125-foot double-drop, spilling into a gaping canyon surrounded by columnar basalt walls. This is one of the more precarious waterfalls in the Whychus Creek drainage to view. This picture was taken as I sat on a stone ledge, composed of what appeared to be stratified volcanic ash, with my legs dangling off the cliff - the ground some 150 feet below - and my tripod straddled across my lap. Fortunately, the pictures turned out, because it's not something I look forward to, or condone repeating. Definitely one of the more spectacular waterfalls of the Whychus Creek area, but not one I recommend visiting.
- Columnar Canyon Falls is the Proposed name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Upper South Fork Falls
I've proposed naming the falls such after the sharp, well defined columnar basalt formations which line the canyon for several hundred feet in every direction from the 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 Squaw 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. Stay well above the canyon rim, and where possible, out of sight of the creek - the travel is easier. Clear views are very dangerous to achieve, so use your good judgment and common sense and don't do anything stupid as I may have.