A fence, an elderly caretaker and a Rottweiler are all that stand between you and the Falls.
We've all been to the lovely Deschutes River waterfalls by the old brewery. But did you know that 20 miles upriver there is another park, covering 154 acres and sporting two waterfalls, a 75 foot gorge and a mystical forest dripping with moss? And that you are absolutely not allowed to go anywhere near it?
The second waterfall in the Park is very very loud.
Deschutes Falls County Park (not Tumwater Falls Park), east of Yelm near the Bald Hills, was purchased by Thurston County in 1993. At the turn of the century it was actually a private park, but decades have passed since it was actively used. Exploring it now, you will find picnic tables rotting back into the earth, collapsed latrine-style bathrooms, and illegible rain-bleached signs of yesteryear.
The Stonehenge of picnic tables.
Down past the picnic area roars the Deschutes, pouring over two waterfalls, and dropping finally into a majestic gorge. The river banks reveal old growth logs polished by time, beached upon stunning rock formations. The surrounding trees are draped with a bewildering array of moss and lichen, as if adorned for a primeval celebration. The park speaks to an earlier time, not only of the land, but also of our forebears who picknicked and frolicked here decades ago.
You would be incorrect if you thought this picturesque waterfall was in Olympic National Park.
This natural wonder is off-limits to the public, surrounded by a fence for the last 15 years. Legend holds that too many beer addled teens were cliff-jumping to their demise. And to be fair, it is a very slippery and steep slope by the falls. Thurston County Parks did a cost assessment of reopening the park sometime in the future, but for now the park's fate is unknown.
The Deschutes River thunders down into this 75 foot deep gorge 365 days a year.