I’m not big on doing any of my travels on weekends because I know the places I want to go to will be over run by families, and while I have nothing against families, I just prefer to not have a million people in my pictures, be stuck behind slower than average hikers, worrying about 32 other dogs coming by my dog, or the incessant noise I came out here to get away from. I know it sounds like I’m complaining but I’m really not. I love people, I just love to get away from them too.
I am moving in 2 weeks and so a lot of my adventures in the upcoming days will be mostly local so I don’t spend too much money when not a lot of people are buying art right now. I’m used to how the cash flow in the art world works, although, it can be disappointing at times. I don’t want to sit inside on nice days, either, and the neighborhood 2 mile loop gets repetitive. I don’t like to see the same thing twice, life is too short for that non-sense. I recently came across some local waterfalls I hadn’t even heard of (and I’ve done a lot of research for this state) so I decide to do the 53 minute drive to these falls. I’m headed to McDowell Creek Falls Park.
McDowell Creek Falls trail is a mile and a half loop, it’s moderately trafficked and located right outside of Lebanon and Sweet Home, Oregon. It’s accessible year-round, and dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. This park is hidden deep into the Cascade foothills, and takes you to two impressive waterfalls as well as a couple of smaller cascades and a popular summer swimming hole. Hiking through the lush woodland you are almost always within earshot of the sound of water. The substrate here is different from the lava flows farther north at Shellburg Falls and Silver Falls because these are layers of volcanic breccia, sandstone, and intrusive diabase typical of the Old Cascades. McDowell Creek is named for James McDowell, an early settler in these parts.
The Royal Terrace Falls is 120 feet high, at 40 foot high is Majestic Falls., and then you come to small Crystal Falls in their mossy amphitheater at a ‘meager’ 15 feet high, and the Crystal Pool at their base is a rather murky summer swimming hole (It’s more “crystal” at the other seasons).
Along the trails I encountered mud pits several inches thick, downed trees right on the path that you have to maneuver around like a gymnist, giant slugs, and a lot of beautiful foliage surrounding you on these narrow paths. Getting around in the park can be difficult as the steps aren’t uniform and are different heights and jut out harshly in random intervals, so be warned before going that while it’s a short hike it can be daunting if you’re not in good shape. They’re not especially difficult but I just like to warn the casual reader to not expect a beautifully crafted staircase made of marble.
The park of falls and cascades are only 30 minutes from the exit on I5 so I recommend if you’re in the area and have a few hours to kill then go and take the hike. I took my time taking pictures and climbing in rivers and it only took me an hour to explore the whole area.
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