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Shellburg Falls Hike

From Portland Hikers Field Guide

Shellburg Falls (Steve Hart)
Lower Shellburg Falls (Steve Hart)

Contents

Hike Description

The hike to Shellburg Falls is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon, particularly with children or inexperienced hikers.

The trail starts up a gated, closed road. There is private property on either side of the road here, and you won't get a wilderness feel. Instead, you'll be treated to a charming view that could be Oregon in 1930 or 1940. The gravel road passes through a cattle pastures, passes a distant sheep barn and a small tree farm. At one point, you'll likely share the trail with a herd of cattle. In my experience they've been very docile and friendly to hikers. At 8/10 of a mile, there's a small pond on the left, hosting the world's loudest frogs (or so they seemed to me). At 1 mile, you'll enter the Santiam State Forest. This is now public land and off-trail (off-road) bushwacking is permitted, if not easy.

At 1.2 miles, you'll come to a very interesting group of features. The road crosses Shellburg Creek on a short bridge. Immediately below the bridge is Lower Shellburg Falls, a 40 foot, two tiered waterfall. The waterfall is somewhat difficult to see from above and a tree with a recently broken top isn't helping any. The better views are from below, but the only way to do that is a mad scramble down the steep bluff just east of the waterfall. This is doable by experienced bushwackers, but it's not recommended for kids or newcomers to hiking.

For this hike, head up the single track Shellburg Falls Trail. The trail parallels the tumbling creek for about 2/10 of a mile to Shellburg Falls. A short side trail leads to a viewpoint neat the base of the falls and the main trail circles behind the waterfall in a large natural grotto.

Maps

  • Sky Island Graphics: Silver Falls State Park: Trail and Recreation Guide

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • Access via private road: Stay on the road!

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades by William L. Sullivan

More Links

Contributors

Portland Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.