|Sabbath Rest with the Fam|
The kids and Curt were off from school and work so we took the dogs and drove to the Shellburg Falls trailhead in the Santiam State Forest. These days of Sabbath Rest are so important for our family now that Curt is in grad school. We need them to keep functioning at such a full-throttle pace. This hike exceeded our entire family's expectations for a whole list of reasons.
1. EASY TRAILHEAD ACCESS. We took I5 south to Salem. Exited onto the Santiam Highway. Drove for 23 miles. Turned left onto Fern Ridge Road. 1.2 miles later and we were at the trailhead parking lot. No gravel roads or car-swallowing pot holes - this route was straightforward and easy to get to.
2. CLOSE. Most of the hikes in our guidebooks involve driving an average of 1.5 hours from Newberg to get to the trailhead. Because we didn't encounter any traffic we were able to get to the trailhead in an hour. The kids actually asked in disbelief, "We're here already? Awesome!"
3. EASY. This hike is easy-peasy. The hardest part about it is the length. At 5.7 miles round trip, it might be a bit too far for really little legs. The route is a balloon - out and back on the gravel road with a loop through the forest. The parts of the trail that gained elevation did it gradually. None of the kids complained about the ascending and we all loved coming back down from the highest point.
4. SCENIC. This hike was so pretty. The first 1.3 miles are on a wide, gravel road through private farmland featuring one rolling meadow after another. It was like something out of a fairy tale - idyllic and peaceful with baby cows and momma cows playing in the meadows.
|Paige, Grant and Dusty|
|Paige, Curt and Alli|
|light and shadows|
|every shade of green|
|Looking over the top of Lower Shellburg Falls|
|Kids and dogs by Lower Shellburg Falls. The water goes under the bridge they're sitting on and tumbles over the edge on the other side.|
|Katie getting kissed by the water at the lower viewpoint of Shellburg Falls.|
|The family behind the falls|
|Standing in the cave behind the waterfall shooting out|
|stairs going up|
|these cute bridges were spread out on the trail|
|Kimber and Dusty - the best of friends - at our picnic spot.|
|At the highest point before we started back down.|
|the unmarked trail junction|
|Stable Falls dropping off the edge...|
|the top of Stassel Falls|
Overall it was a banner day. The kids never complained once. The dogs loved hiking with us and had several opportunities to get a drink in the creek. The weather was gorgeous. The trails well marked. The waterfalls beautiful. We came home feeling like we'd enjoyed the day without being overly exhausted from too much exertion hiking.
If you're looking for a scenic hike that's not too strenuous and that is close to Newberg, I highly recommend Shellburg Falls. Happy hiking!