Sunday, February 4, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 8: Shellburg and Stassel Falls

Shellburg and Stassel Falls HIke @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[Those of you who are incredibly observant may notice that hike #7 is missing! Friday morning at 10 a.m., Leif said, “Mom, it’s sunny. We should go hiking.” By 11 a.m., we had arrived at McDowell Creek Falls for the third time this year. Levi was gone (visiting the Portland Art Museum with his Challenge class), so the other three kids and I wogged the loop twice. 3+ miles in about an hour. I felt euphoric.]

Saturday, the kids (minus Levi) and I met up with Holly and Ivy to hike a brand new trail for us about 40 minutes of beautiful country drive from our house. Holly and I have since declared Shellburg and Stassel Falls Hike one of our favorites. [Read more about it here.]

The day was misty but not uncomfortably cold (50s), and everything was saturated green with a wet sheen.

A magical rain forest, friends.

From the trailhead, we hiked a little over a mile up a picturesque and well-maintained gated gravel road with private property on either side. Cattle are kept in this area (we saw some on our way back down, picture below), and we crossed at least three cattle guards. The uphill grade was perfect—steep enough to feel like we were really hiking, but not enough to be strenuous.

Shellburg Stassel 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After the one mile mark, we arrived at Shellburg Creek, which runs under the road and then plumets 40 feet. We were able to stand on rocks at the top of the Lower Shellburg Falls and look down to the bottom, but it was difficult to get a good picture of the falls (see top picture). It’s also difficult to see distance in these pictures.

Shellburg Stassel 2 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 7 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg and Stassel 3 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 8 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

From the lower falls, we left the road and hiked up the creek on a beautifully maintained trail until we came to Shellburg Falls. No pictures do it justice. A trail took the kids to the very base of the 100 foot waterfall, where they proceded to get soaked from the violent spray.

Shellburg Stassel  5 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The trail winds up and behind the falls, under an incredible overhang of rock.

Shellburg Stassel @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

The trail continues up and around. The stairs were so beautiful. Below is the view when we returned. You can see Shellburg Falls in the background.

Shellburg Stassel 4 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 13 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We hiked until we reached Shellburg Falls Campground. We would love to return and stay a few nights!

Shellburg Stassel 6 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After scouting out the campground and using the restrooms, we headed back down the same way we came. The kids spent a little more time playing at Shellburg Falls.

When we arrived back at the road, we headed further up and took a smaller trail heading off the other direction until we came to the top of Stassel Falls. Pictures really don’t do this one justice. We couldn’t get a great view from the top, but the falls pour down into a 200 foot gorge. When we revisit later this summer, we’ll try the treacherous hike down to the bottom of the falls.

Shellburg Stassel 9 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After Stassel Falls, we walked back out the small trail and then down the gravel road to the trailhead. Holly’s step-counter said we had hiked 4.9 miles. I don’t think it was quite that far, but it was a solid 3 hour hike!

Shellburg Stassel 10 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 11 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesShellburg Stassel 12 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

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