While not really the cornerstone of McDowell Creek Falls Park, Royal Terrace Falls is the best of the four waterfalls featured within. The falls occur where Fall Creek drops over the valley wall in an eye catching stair-step style fountain like display. A sign nailed to a tree above the left side of the bridge says the falls drop 119 feet, while we measured the total drop to be about 110 feet, so given the margin of error for our measurement tends to be about 10-15 feet, we feel that the 119 foot figure is probably accurate.
Though Royal Terrace Falls is the biggest and best falls in the modest park, it is also the lowest-volume. Fall Creek doesn't quite run dry during the late summer, but the volume of water does shrink considerably, which in turn renders the falls much less impressive during the dry season. Perhaps the biggest detraction to this waterfall is that Linn County didn't allow for a wide enough buffer zone between the park boundary and an adjacent logged out area, and the bare clear cut hillside is plainly in view from the footbridge at the base of the falls.
- Royal Terrace Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
McDowell Creek was named for Jack McDowell, an early settler in the area (presumably closer to the mouth of the creek). Royal Terrace Falls was undoubtedly named for its unique terraced appearance which conjures visions of a fountain in a royal palace.
From the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 20 in Albany, follow Highway 20 east for 20 miles to McDowell Creek Road and turn left. Following McDowell Creek Road, drive another 6.5 miles - watching for signs pointing to McDowell Falls Park - to the main parking lot and park. Take the trail across McDowell Creek, with Lower McDowell Creek Falls immediately downstream, for one-quarter of a mile to the bridge spanning Fall Creek just below the falls. A spur trail climbs up along the right side of the falls to up-close views of the upper tier.