The USGS Marion Forks quadrangle marks a waterfall along Downing Creek shortly before it crosses underneath Highway 22 to merge with the North Santiam River. Calling this two-stepped 13 foot tall sliding cascade a waterfall is a pretty egregious stretch of the definition of waterfall, and based on our criteria it would not qualify for inclusion in this database. However, given the history of documentation in guide books and the fact that it's marked on several maps, we're opting to include the falls if nothing else than for clarification.
The one saving grace is perhaps the presence of a large campsite adjacent to the falls. It's unclear if it is a formally maintained camping area, but the Forest Service has placed an outhouse in the area, and the small falls on Downing Creek do add quite a bit of charm to the spot.
- Lower Downing Creek Falls is the Unofficial name of this waterfall.
From the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 22 in Salem, take Highway 22 east for about 67 miles, or from Santiam Junction (intersection of Highways 22 and 126/20) follow Highway 22 for 12.5 miles north, and carefully watch for the green highway sign marking Downing Creek (the creek passes through a culvert, rather than a bridge). Immediately south of the creek look for an unmarked gravel road on the uphill side of the highway which leads to the campsite below the falls. The falls can be seen from the main camping area.