Situated 16 miles from Lebanon in Linn County, Oregon, the 110 acre McDowell Creek Falls County Park offers a stunning landscape featuring 5 waterfall falls, woodlands, bridges passing over rivers, and remarkable viewpoints. McDowell Creek gets its name from Jack McDowell who settled in the area.
The park has two larger falls and 3 smaller ones. The Royal Terrace Fall is an almost 120-foot high fall, with two terrace-like tiers resembling a royal palace, hence its name. The second major fall is the 40 foot Majestic Fall, with a wonderful observation deck. Both falls are easily accessible from the park’s staircases and bridges. At the bottom of each fall, lies a small pool that also serves as a fishing spot.
One of the park’s main trails starts at the Royal Terrace Falls and ends at Majestic Falls. This relatively easy looped trail offers unbelievable views of the 2 main sensational falls, as well as the other small falls with 230 feet of elevation. The trail starts at the parking lot, close to the RoyalTerrace Falls, moving through woodlands and over footbridges along the McDowell Creek. Visitors can also climb the stone staircase to reach the fall’s top viewing platform. The trail proceeds to the majestic falls, followed by the Crystal Falls, close to a small swimming hole. Along the way, visitors can follow paths leading to the parking lots and picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills. Restrooms are available near the west parking lot. From here visitors can follow the trail along the creek back to the Royal Terrace Falls.
While the park is open and offers spectacular sights all year round, the flow of the water is very much seasonal, so to view the falls in full glory one should avoid the dry summer months. The park takes a new life in fall as the colors of the surrounding scenery and the flow of the waters are outstanding. Parking is not an issue, as there are three parking lots at different levels, all of which are free of charge.
What stands out about this park, is that notwithstanding its natural wonder, it is still relatively unknown especially when compared to the more popular Silver Falls State Park. Offering splendid scenery, 5 waterfalls, nature surrounded trails, and ample magnificent photographic moments McDowell Creek Falls County Park is definitely worth visiting.