3 MILES – LEBANON, OR
In the year twenty-twenty, I wanted to set a goal for myself to complete twenty different, and hopefully new hikes for the year ahead. I had just read an article on Facebook about hiking in Oregon and felt it was very doable. I love the outdoors and being on the trail. It is so peaceful and rewarding, and I really wanted seek out that happiness all year long.
Living in Eugene is quite a blessing, as the mountains are only an hour and a half away, the coast only an hour away, and hikes scattered north and south on I-5. I was anxious to start hiking right away, so once January arrived, I was on the hunt for a nice winter hike, open year round. I decided McDowell Creek Falls was going to be my first hike, and I had a friend decide she wanted to brave the weather with me. Let’s be honest, Oregon weather is unpredictable!
The day we chose to hike was a rainy one. We found the trailhead easily, and were ready to explore. We discovered this was a loop trail with a gravel path which made it easy for walking (except the part that felt like a thousand stairs to the top of one of the falls). There were three falls on this hike which was an added bonus because I thought there was only one when researching. (I like to be as surprised as I can be when finding new adventures so I don’t do too much digging other than good directions.) I enjoyed the company of my friend, my wet schnauzer Lexi, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the beautiful waterfalls and trees so much I didn’t care it was raining or that we were soaked. Taylor was a joy to hike with and I enjoyed getting to know her more with the time we had together (hike and road travel). Good company is a must for any successful adventure. I couldn’t ask for a better hike #1.
To get there from Eugene, travel north on I-5 to Highway 20 past Lebanon 4 miles, turn left at the McDowell Creek Park exit, and follow signs for 9 miles (paved road). There are a few parking lots, we parked at the first and just found our way on the trail. We did have to cross the paved road at one point to get to the third fall, but felt completely safe in doing so.
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