Directions: Take Highway 26 to the town of Zigzag and take the turnoff to Lolo Pass Road on the left. Take Lolo Pass for 4 miles and then take a right onto Road 1825 and cross a bridge over the Sandy River. Continue on the road passing a campground and horse camp. The road is paved but is narrow with lots of potholes. Stay left at the road to Lost Creek Campground. The trailhead will be about 2.5 miles from Lolo Pass Road. Some of the intersections are not marked so it can be a kind of confusing drive.
For about the first mile, the trail winds along the river until you reach the seasonal bridge that crosses the Sandy River. Down by the bridge you will see good views of Mt. Hood. The majority of the trail is a sandy mix that’s not too hard on the feet. From the bridge it’s about a half mile until the split, where you have a choice of going clockwise or counterclockwise around the loop. Until the bridge the trail is a gradual slope, but after the bridge it gets a little steeper.
From the split you walk another two miles to the falls. There are plenty of places to sit, enjoy the falls and eat lunch. This is a very popular waterfall so expect to see many people. We did encounter some people (who had been drinking) who climbed all the way to the top (which is very steep and dangerous). They also kicked loose a big rock that fell down where we were sitting- so be aware.
To head back out you cross the bridge and follow the creek, passing giant cliffs that are worth stopping and looking at. This will take you back to the split where you will continue back the same way you came in.
*Update* The seasonal bridge that crosses the Sandy River on this hike was washed out from a flash flood. Please take extra care when crossing the river without a bridge!
Distance: 7.1 miles
Elevation: 1,100 feet
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: All ages if there is a bridge, not best for young kids and older folks if the bridge is out.
Parking Fee: $5 NW Forest Pass
Seasons: Spring through fall
Overall: Great views of Mt. Hood and the waterfall is beautiful.