Crystal Falls is the smallest waterfall along McDowell Creek, though the individual tiers of Lower McDowell Creek Falls are smaller. Better known for the pool at its base, known as Crystal Pool, the falls don't appear to be given nearly as much attention as the others in the park. As McDowell Creek is squeezed through a constriction, it cascades 14 feet down a short chute and into the pool below. Said pool can serve as a good swimming hole in the summer, however, when I visited the falls, the water was rather murky and not something I'd want to swim in.
- Crystal Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Crystal Pool
McDowell Creek was named for Jack McDowell, an early settler in the area (presumably closer to the mouth of the creek). Different sources say that Crystal Falls is and isn't the official name of this waterfall. It has also been called Crystal Pool Falls. Either way, the falls were named for the pool at its base, and the pool was named for its appearance.
Located east of Lebanon off the South Santiam Highway. Exit I-5 in Albany onto Highway 20, and proceed for approximately 20 miles to McDowell Creek Road, and turn left. Follow McDowell Creek Road - watching for signs for the park - for about 7 miles, to the second of three parking areas within the park. Alternatively, westbounders can proceed as follows to avoid backtracking. Turn off of Highway 20 at Quartzville Road # 11, about 7 miles west of Sweet Home, and proceed 1 mile across the Foster Reservoir, then head left on North River Drive for about 1/3 of a mile, then right onto Sunnyside Drive. Follow Sunnyside, which becomes McDowell Creek Road after 2 Â½ miles, for about 5 Â½ miles to the middle parking area. Find the trail next to the bridge back down the road, and follow it upstream for 500 feet to a rough spur that descends to the base of Crystal Falls.