It’s almost the end of January and I have been feeling rather stir crazy lately. In desperate need of some fresh mountain air, we packed up the kids and headed 20 minutes south of Bend to Benham Falls. I’ve always been curious about this spot, so I was excited to finally check it out! For many reasons, summer would have been the preferred season for this outing, but we decided to go for it and see what was in store for us! Plus, I found zero information about this trail for during the winter, so I decided to go ahead and share our findings with you all. Spoiler alert- it’s the ideal spot for anyone looking to enjoy a short winter adventure without the crowds.
Details: We hiked from the Benham Falls East Trailhead to the Benham Falls West Trailhead. It’s a 1.5 mile out and back trail with very little elevation change. If you start at the East Trailhead, the trail starts with a crossing over the bridge.
Weighing out the pros and cons to this trail during the winter…
No crowds. We had the trail all to ourselves and it was blissfully peaceful.
The snow adds a very aesthetic touch to the scenery.
Dogs are required to be on leash May – September which means our pup was free to roam in January.
The drive is not for everyone. The road leading to the trail is about 4 miles long (to the east trailhead parking lot ) and covered in snow. The snow was thick and icy. Even the drive back to the highway was a an icy headache.
There was a lot of slick ice on the trail. I would say the trail was 40% crunchy snow, 40% thick ice sheets, and 20% dirt. We managed just fine by being thoughtful with our path and avoided any incidents on the ice.
There are vault toilets that are OPEN.
We had cell service for almost the entire hike.
No trash facilities that I could find. So it was a pack out situation, including the doggy poop bags!
The map and pay station were wrapped in plastic and inaccessible.
There were picnic tables scattered throughout this beautiful clearing with old growth ponderosa pines.