A self-guiding walk through Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park will expose you to breathtaking vistas of creeks and waterfalls, as well as mountain biking on the park’s dedicated trails. The picnic area, surrounded by bigleaf maple trees, is close to restrooms and parking. Beavers, red foxes, black-tailed deer, pileated woodpeckers, and cottontail bunnies may be seen if you’re looking for wildlife.
The Newell Creek Canyon Nature Park, which was established in December 2021, had long been an unofficial route through this natural area below Highway 213. The new trail system is divided into three types of trails. The Canyon Spring Loop, for hikers only, is a small path that may be extremely slick and mucky in the winter months. The main Tumble Falls Trail begins in Cedar Grove and follows a gently sloping route to Newell Creek, where it enters the best part of the park, groves of western red-cedar higher up Newell Creek. Bikers are permitted to ride uphill on gravel routes on their way back to the trailhead.
You may extend the loop by continuing left along a maple-forested slope past the picnic area. When you come to a powerline corridor, go left to walk around a barrier and begin the gravel Tumble Falls Trail. The biker-only Shady Lane path will be on your right as you descend. From the powerline corridor, the trail bends sharply to the right into maple woods with a sword fern understory. You’ll make a sharp left at another junction and descend down a bumpy road. The large decaying trunks here are reminders of a once great forest. Turn left after you’ve passed through the Canyon Spring Loop junction.
The route climbs to cross a powerline corridor and switchbacks before reaching the loop junction at a ridge crest. The route then descends through a cedar grove before climbing over two tall cottonwoods. After crossing a deep gully, the path winds through the undergrowth beneath alders and maples before briefly switching back up three times to finish the circuit on the ridge. To return to the Tumble Falls Trail, go left.
Keep left on the broad gravelly path and cross a huge footbridge before gradually climbing through more varied forest, which includes cedars and Douglas-firs. You’ll come to the lower junction with Shady Lane before reaching the long bridge below Tumble Falls. Here Tumble Creek tumbles down from the heights above, weaving its way through the foliage beneath. A sign warns you about rockfall near the bridge, and after it, you’ll come upon a junction with the biker-only Red Soil Roller Trail.
Leave the Cedar Grove Trail and go right to pass over a pond, perhaps a log pond from early timber operations. The route descends to a bench of 100-foot cedar and alders and crosses a boardwalk. You’ll come across a candelabra cedar just off the path, which you’ll descend to more cedar groves. A second candelabra cedar rises above another seat. The trail goes past a footbridge over salmonberry, lady fern, bracken, sword fern, nettle, and trailing blackberry thickets. You’ll reach a bench at the end of the Cedar Grove Trail where you can look down below to Newell Creek after trekking through a wooded slope. Only 30 yards up the path from here is where it becomes a one-way bike route only.
This is the perfect little getaway in the heart of Oregon!
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