Proxy Falls is a beautiful easy hike off of McKenzie scenic highway 242 which is only open for a few months out of the year (usually mid-June to early November, but it depends on snowfall). It’s on a historic, winding highway. When you set off to explore Proxy Falls you just can’t be in a hurry. It’s a leisurely trip, not a beeline. Plan to take your time here. It isn’t a busy destination either. Proxy Falls is the very picture of Oregon. It has those two tiers and these wide, diffuse falls. It’s quick to point out the dark, glossy rocks covered in verdant moss surrounding the falls, which contribute to the enchanted forest effect. It could very well be the prime natural attraction of the Three Sisters Wilderness, and its popularity doesn’t goes unnoticed.
The first .5 miles of the trail are a bit rocky because you are walking through a lava flow, but then it levels off and meanders through the forest as you get closer to the falls. Here the vine maples turn a beautiful bright yellow, orange and red, making the hike through the lava a rainbow trail! The walk to the falls (on track of 3532) was actually a loop hike of about two miles. It seemed the Forest Service wants us to hike the loop in a counterclockwise direction because only the trail entrance to our left (facing the trailhead) is not signposted.
Next to the viewpoint of the main falls, an easy-going trail of use (more like a scramble) continued towards the base of the falls. It looked like that trail had been closed for a while as evidenced by fallen trees and lots of overgrowth near the base making access anything but a cakewalk.
Hiking: The trail showcases two distinctly different waterfall views of the upper and lower sections of Proxy Falls. At the bottom getting scramble close to the water and feel its spray. As with all waterfalls, watch for falling rocks and debris. If you hike here in the fall there is minimal water, however this makes you be able to get closer to the bottom of the waterfall.
If you have been down here at the bottom of Lower Proxy Falls, you will see a small trail leading away from the falls to the left. This is definitely the less used trail, but it makes for a convenient escape back to the main trail, so that you don't have to climb back up the steep eroded mess and battle all of the people that are trying to scramble down.
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