Visitors looking for an easy day-trip hike can’t go wrong with this, 3.3 mile hike winding through the beautiful forest and thick vegetation, northwest of Sweet Home, Oregon. Beginning with a peaceful country drive, visitors will find that connecting with nature in a tranquil setting is easy; especially in a place where four breathtaking waterfalls await hikers on paths connected by a common trail.
The trailhead begins at the parking lot where guests will immediately be able to view Lower McDowell Creek Falls spilling over moss covered rocks and boulders rubbed smooth from years of carrying water down the creek bed. Visitors have the option to enjoy a picnic lunch at the tables provided here and throughout the park; some fishing and wading is available in the pools below the lower falls.
Crossing the bridge, the path continues on to Royal Terrace Falls where you can enjoy the refreshing quality of crystal clear water cascading over a multi-level waterfall. Hikers can enjoy this spectacular sight from the viewpoint or continue up a very short, steep section to the top of the falls for an impressive panorama of the 120-foot drop. (Visitors with small children may choose to avoid this section).
As the path winds through verdant plants and wildflowers, under a canopy of large fir and deciduous trees, the trail will eventually lead across a paved road. Meandering through the abundant vegetation and accompanied by inviting sounds of water flowing over the riverbed, Crystal Pool Falls provides an opportunity to experience the undisturbed hand of nature.
Resuming the hike up natural trails, over bridges and traveling at a leisurely pace up the multi-level wooden staircase, hikers are rewarded with a breathtaking view of Majestic Falls. The imposing waterfall cascades 40 feet into a large clear pool where adventurous visitors can enjoy the refreshing spray or dipping their feet into the frigid waters.
Conveniently, each waterfall has individual parking areas, hikers have the option of following the trail in order from Lower McDowell falls upwards to Majestic or mixing it up and creating their own route. Regardless of the order traveled, visitors agree that McDowell Creek Falls is a hiker’s paradise and a little bit of heaven right here in Oregon.