There aren’t a lot of places on Earth that haven’t been discovered, but this waterfall here in Oregon proves you should never stop exploring. This secret canyon in Oregon has been dubbed as Valhalla, after the legendary home of the Norse god Odin. The natural wonder is about 60 miles from Portland, and has never been documented — until now.
The story of Valhalla’s discovery begins in 2010, when Mike Malone, a crew leader and a helicopter pilot assisting firefighters battling a wildfire in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness noticed something interesting – a narrow canyon not marked on his map. It wasn’t on any map. The Forest Service had no idea this place existed, and after researching intensely he decided to explore the area himself.
After deciding to explore the area himself, less than a year ago Malone made his way through the dangerous terrain, up several smaller ice falls, and discovered a 100-foot-waterfall tumbling down the cliff face.
The entrance to Valhalla is not an easy hike, and while this place is insanely gorgeous it’s also very dangerous to hike in. Cell phone service is non-existent here, and with the terrain being so difficult to access, if anything were to happen to you any rescue attempts would be very slow and difficult at best.
Malone is excited about his discovery and wants to share it with the world, and hopes the Forest Service will someday build a trail to Valhalla — but not everyone agrees with him. Forest Service Ranger Grady McMahan, is opposed to the idea.
“Constructing a trail would be very, very difficult to do. Very expensive. And I don’t know if it would be very safe either,” he says. “I really wouldn’t want to lead people into an area where they get in over their head.”
Get an unprecedented glimpse inside Valhalla, Oregon’s uncharted gorge. Watch the full Oregon Field Guide special online now.