March 2020 – McDowell Creek Falls

I feel like I should start this post with an apology. By the time this is published, it’s likely that most of us will be completely relegated to our homes, with seemingly no end in sight. And yet here I am, taunting you with an outdoor adventure.

Full disclosure: we went on this hike prior to the full “Stay Home” policy of Oregon, so please keep that in mind as we bring a little nature to you! While the policy does still allow for hiking, it appears that hiking is the reprieve for MANY, and it’s not possible to keep six feet apart from other hikers on many of the trails. Be smart, stay safe.

Video is below!

We got to the lower parking lot around 10:30am on a Sunday. There were only a handful of cars, but it was PACKED by the time we left around 12:30. Moral of the story: the earlier you arrive, the fewer folks you will find on the trail.

If we did this hike again, I’d take the counter-clockwise route. If you park in the lowest lot, when you get to the first fork (stairs on the right, loud waterfall sounds on the left), take the stairs. Get these stone steps done and out of the way. Careful, they can get slick when it’s wet outside.

At the top of the stairs there is an overlook for the falls that you will be greeted with at the end of the hike. Beyond the overlook is a well-maintained trail. There’s a road crossing as you approach the Majestic Falls, but the roads in this area are mostly quiet. Don’t forget to check before crossing, though!

Soon comes the Majestic Falls. And they live up to their name!

A couple notes:

  • There are wooden stairs that take you down to these falls. They can get a little steep, but trust me, it’s better to go down these wooden stairs than the stone stairs. Based on experience.
  • There are nice little lookouts above the falls (pre-stairs) and level with the falls (post-stairs). Enjoy them both!

The loop back is also enjoyable! There’s the road to cross in a different section, and before you know it, you’ve reached the Royal Terrace Falls.

Perfection.

Be sure to pack a picnic. There are tables at the trailhead. OH, and there are bathrooms too. #importantthings

When the quarantine ends, put this county park on your list! I just don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Happy Quarantining and Hiking, Friends.

And please wash your hands.

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