Stasel Falls is, hands down, the best waterfall in the Stout Creek drainage. The falls consist of two tiers - each dropping about 55 feet - separated by a small pool. The standout feature of this waterfall, however, is the basalt formations which frame the falls. The left side of the falls is flanked by an ominous looking pillar of free-standing basalt, which actually rises out of the pool between the two tiers. Standing at the top of the falls, one can peer down into the pool, and see that the pillar is separated from the cliff face by a good 3-5 feet. When Stout Creek is running at its fullest, the stream actually separates around this pillar, and creates a segment to the lowest tier of the falls. This segment was just barely flowing when I visited, but it still exemplified the unique geology of the area. The one downside to this waterfall is that it is both quite difficult and dangerous to see the whole falls unobstructed. The descent into the canyon is not recommended for anyone but the most experienced bushwhackers, and even viewing the falls from the brink is somewhat dangerous. Leave the kids at home for this one.
- Stasel Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
- Known Alternate Names: Stout Creek Falls
Stout Creek was named for Ephraim Stout and his son Lewis, who constructed and operated a sawmill along the creek near its confluence with the North Santiam River in 1852. Its unknown where the name Stasel originates from. The USGS has fueled confusion over this waterfall by labeling it both Stasel Falls and Stout Creek Falls at times. This is an issue because Horseshoe Falls about a mile upstream has also been called Stout Creek Falls, and a third waterfall even further up the creek is the one that is most commonly called Stout Creek Falls, though the USGS doesn't recognize it as a named feature.
Located just outside Santiam State Forest land near Mehama. From I-5 in Salem, take Highway 22 east for about 22 miles to the small town of Mehama. Turn left on Fern Ridge Road, and follow for 1.2 miles to an unmarked gravel road which heads off sharply to the right. Park here so as to not block the gate, and follow the gravel road for 1 Â½ miles to where the road makes a sweeping turn to the left. An old dirt road head off to the right, paralleling the Stout Creek Canyon. Follow this road for another 1/5 of a mile to where flagged paths lead to the top of the falls. Views are fleeting, so don't try to do anything stupid to see more of the falls. I don't recommend trying to view the falls from the bottom, but the safest route is as follows. Backtrack back to the 1 Â½ mile marker on the gravel road, then add another 100 feet to where the slope is moderate enough to scramble down into the canyon. The ground is extremely crumbly here, so be sure you have both hands free. Once you reach the first flat area, head east, following the remnants of an old roadbed. This eventually ends and you'll have to scramble cross country from here for another Â¼ mile to the falls. After the initial descent, it's not terribly difficult, but it is slow going.