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Stasel Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Lower Shellburg Falls (Steve Hart)
The top of Stasel Falls (Steve Hart)
  • Start point: Shellburg Falls TrailheadRoad.JPG
  • End point: Stasel Falls
  • Trail Log: Trail Log
  • Hike Type: Out and back
  • Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 370 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Seasons: Year round
  • Family Friendly: Yes
  • Backpackable: No
  • Crowded: Yes


Contents

Hike Description

Stasel Falls is quite possibly the most impressive falls in the area, but it's also the hardest to reach. This is an easy hike to the top of the waterfall, but the trip to the bottom is a lot more treacherous.

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 above the bridge, the Shellburg Falls Trail heads up to the left paralleling the stream to Shellburg Falls. 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, continue east on the road. In a short distance, you'll come to a large "1 1/2 mile" marker spray painted on a tree. These mile markers are used by log trucks and they are called out on CB radios, allowing empty trucks to clear the roads for outgoing loads. Just before the marker is another mad scramble down the slope. It's reported that this is the access to the lower viewpoint of Stasel Falls. According to the reports, hikers can work their way down the steep slope to an abandoned road. Turning left on the road leads up the valley to near the base of the falls. Again this is a route only for experienced bushwackers.

A much simpler path, accessible to everyone, leads to the top of the Stasel Falls. Just passed (east) the 1 1/2 mile marker is an abandoned dirt road turning off to the right. Follow this road about 1/10 of a mile, stopping just before you enter a recent clearcut. There's a footpath branching off to the side here that leads to the top of Stasel Falls. The view here includes a freestanding rock pillar, the creek above the falls and a decent view into the canyon below.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • None

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

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

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Contributors

Oregon 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.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.