Neighboring the well-trafficked Silver Falls State Park, the Shellburg Falls Recreation Area provides access to two lesser-known gems: Shellburg Falls and Lower Shellburg Falls. Link both of them on this scenic, 3.7-mile out-and back. Starting from the gravel parking lot on Fern Loop Road, head east on Shellberg Road, a country lane flanked by hemlock, Douglas fir, and farmland (you may encounter the occasional cow herd crossing the road).
After 1.3 miles, cross a bridge over Shellburg Creek, which plummets into a lush ravine, forming Lower Shellburg Falls. Just past the bridge crossing, the route turns left and climbs north through skunk cabbage, mossy rocks, and towering conifers en route to the 100-foot-tall Shellburg Falls. Pouring off an exposed, overhanging basalt cliff, this picturesque cascade sprays into a misty, moss-covered bowl. Follow the trail to the left to skirt behind the falls and catch a revealing behind-the-scenes view of the waterfall.
Less than half a mile up the trail, the route visits Shellburg Falls Campground, a wooded area with restrooms, a hand-pump well, and picnic tables. Hikers can continue exploring the trails around the campground, or turn around and retrace the route to the trailhead.
Info: Shellburg Falls Recreation Area
-Mapped by Josh Beachy