If there’s one thing Oregonians are fortunate enough to experience, it’s the bountiful nature throughout the state. The mountain trails, forests and rivers running through the region bring a bit of beauty to each town, giving numerous options for locals and tourists that take pleasure in the great outdoors. We’re quite the adventurers ourselves, and through our treks we’ve discovered quite a few locations holding particular aesthetic interest. One of those can be found just an hour and 20 minutes outside of Eugene and Springfield, off of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. Taking a hike along the Waterfalls Loop Trail, an offset of the McKenzie River Trail, will lead to two of the most gorgeous naturally occurring waterfalls in the area – the 100 foot high Sahalie and 70 foot high Koosah Falls.
The views of the falls themselves are as intriguing as the history behind them. Basaltic flows over thousands of years have caused a dam at Clear Lake, forcing water through the Sahalie and Koosah outlets. Stretches of foaming, white water cascades run in between the falls, creating a picaresque scene to take in. Both of the falls get their names from the traditional Chinook Jargon trade language of the Northwest tribes. Sahalie translates into “heaven” and Koosah into “sky” according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Traveling, trading and food gathering all took place at this high Cascades locale, where Chinook, Molalla, Kalapuya and Sahaptain tribes congregated and conversed.
Trails to the waterfalls aren’t too clearly marked, though there are designated information posts and observation points along the way to use as guides. When weather permits, taking a left at the initial viewpoint leads through a half mile of whitewater until the Koosah cliff. An attentive hike along the trail makes for an opportune moment to partake in lighting up, if done properly. Straight sativas and sativa-based hybrids do well in these types of situations. Engaging yet chill, hybrids like Jack Herer and Blue Dream keep the mind attentive without being overly anxious in a visually stimulating setting. But for an even elevated visual experience, strong sativa Green Crack can have great effects. Just be sure to pack lots of water and some eyedrops, since this strain can make a user’s mouth and eyes incredibly dry.
For the stoned hiker looking to walk a bit further, there are better viewpoints higher up than those at Koosah and Sahalie Falls. Keeping right at the junctions after Koosah lead to a gravel road near Carmen Reservoir. A right on this road and another 250 yards goes to the McKenzie River Trail, where another righthand turn heads upstream to the best viewpoints. Those looking for an even longer hike can keep on the McKenzie River Trail going to the Clear Lake loop, or stride downstream for about three and a half miles to the dry waterfall at Tamolitch Pool.
Hiking in general is fun, but hiking while high is even better. Nature’s sounds, scents and sights are all the more enjoyable when Mary Jane is along for the ride, so stop by the Eugene or Springfield Cannabliss spots before hitting the trails.
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