McDowell Creek Waterfalls

January 8, 2016 (Updated January 30, 2016)

I often go searching for islands of serenity at this time of year; places in Oregon that are special, scenic and largely quiet, where I can slow down, take a deep breath and – even for a short time – leave all my troubles behind. This week, I visited a lovely little creek that invites hikers anytime on an easy two-mile loop trail that brings you face to face with gorgeous waterfalls.

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Photographers Lijah and Gabby Hanley “chase the light” for their perfect shots. The northwest newlyweds share a passion for Oregon’s outdoors. We joined them for a hike and a shoot in a parkland I’d never been: Linn County’s McDowell Creek Park.

“We are always looking for those off the beaten path photographs,” said young Lijah with a beaming smile. “I’m always trying to get something new.”

Today, the sunshine played peek-a-boo, where Majestic Falls – one of several waterfalls in the park – puts on quite a show. Lijah stepped knee-deep in the creek to frame just the right shot. “It is cold out here,” he admitted. “But you know, you have to be in the water to get the foreground. It’s pretty rare when we find a spot that’s totally unique that we haven’t seen yet. This is certainly that and a whole lot more.”

His wife added: “We have a bond because we both enjoy getting out – anywhere – and shooting together does that for us. Plus, we run a business together and that’s been really rewarding.”

Both agree that 60-acre McDowell Creek County Park offers a certain beauty beyond belief, where stream-side conifers and moss-draped maples complete a setting that is classic Oregon rain forest.

About The
Author

Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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McDowell Creek County Park