Rainbow Falls & Separation Lake

  • Easy (to Rainbow Falls viewpoint)
  • 1.8 miles round trip
  • 200 feet elevation gain
  • Open late April to mid-November

  • Moderate (to Separation Creek)
  • 8.2 miles round trip
  • 950 feet elevation loss
  • Use: hikers, horses

  • Difficult (to Separation Lake)
  • 13.4 miles round trip
  • 1250 feet elevation loss

Ice Age glaciers once carved long canyons down from the Three Sisters to the lowlands of the west. Now these canyons have filled with old-growth forests, whitewater rivers, and waterfalls. Sample the scenery with an easy walk to a cliff-edge viewpoint of Rainbow Falls. For a longer hike, take the uncrowded Separation Creek Trail down to the growling whitewater—or to Separation Lake.

Start by driving McKenzie Highway 126 …

This chapter is an excerpt from 100 Hikes/Travel Guide: Central Oregon Cascades.