The third falls along Crater Creek's precipitous descent from the Soda Creek meadows represents a distinct change in character from the previous two descents. While the two falls upstream both plunge over sheer cliffs, this fall veils over a more rounded ledge of bedrock, falling 52 feet over the same same bright red formations which the two upper falls are composed of, but with much less undercutting and fracturing present.
Visitors to this waterfall may notice the heavily scoured streambed above and below the falls. This is the remaining evidence of a substantial flood which occured when a large chunk of an unnamed glacier calved into Moraine Lake on the east face of Broken Top and sent a large wave over the natural dam, causing it to breach. The lake partially drained, lowering its level by 14 feet and sending 50 million gallons of water down the Crater Creek drainage, scouring out everything in its path.
Crater Creek is partially diverted into the Crater Creek ditch about a mile upstream of the falls. Late in the summer months the volume of water actually reaching this waterfall can be greatly reduced due to this diversion, but the falls should rarely run dry.
- Middle Crater Creek Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
The falls on Crater Creek are accessed from the Green Lakes trailhead along the Cascade Lakes Highway west of Bend. Exit Highway 97 in downtown Bend at Franklin Street and turn west (signed for Mount Bachelor and the Cascade Lakes Loop). Franklin becomes Broadway as it parallels the Deschutes River, then crosses the river and becomes Galveston. Turn left on SW Century Drive which becomes the Cascade Lakes Highway. After 26 miles the Green Lakes / Soda Creek trailhead will be found on the right side of the highway. This waterfall can only be seen by hiking off-trail from the Soda Creek trail. Hike in for 3 1/2 miles to the meadows above the canyon, then leave the trail and ford Crater Creek (shin deep at most). Once across, hike downstream through the meadows and open woods along the canyon rim. Upper and Crater Creek Falls will be passed, with the Middle Falls being found about 1/4 mile downstream of the areas where its safe to ford the creek. Do not attempt to follow the creek at stream level, and stay along the rim of the canyon at all when hiking to and viewing the falls. The terrain begins to get quite steep in this area and can be moderately difficult to navigate.