Sweet Creek Falls Trail

1932_SweetCr1Well, it really should be called Sweet Creek Falls’s. There must be 10 little falls and many more drop-offs and cascades in this 1 mile (one way) hike. At the end there is a very nice double falls. The trail is one of the easiest I’ve ever been on short of being paved, and since it is a bit off the beaten path, it’s not heavily traveled. We were there on a beautiful Saturday morning and in the 4 hours we spent on the trail, we saw maybe 4 other groups of people. On our earlier visit in 2011 we were there on Labor Day. I’d have to admit it was crowded on that day, but we got there early in the morning and others didn’t show up till a couple hours later.
1958_SweetCr3The day before, the weather was very overcast all day and was supposed to be the same for this day. – in fact showers were predicted. This was going to be exactly what I wanted. Photographing water the way I like to do it requires that no sun actually hit the water. If it does, it creates hot spots in the image and ruins them. The other thing is that I cannot do long exposures in sunlight – too much light. We woke in the morning to bright sunlight. Absolutely no fog to be seen. Only some wispy high clouds. This was pretty disappointing, but we gotta make due. We were out the door by 9 AM and got to Sweet Creek by about 9:30. The stream itself runs through a pretty thickly forested area so, while it was sunny all around, most of the actual creek was still in shadow. There actually was a really nice benefit to the sunlight. Many of the pools of water were reflecting the light coming off the surrounding trees. This created some really unusual green reflections in the water. I loved it! Lots of my images for the day include neon green water that was just as I saw it.
1965_SweetCr4There was only one other car in the parking area when we started out, and that person was just leaving as we were taking off. Right away we found a nice area to start photographing and we pretty much didn’t stop for the next 4 hours. The trail meanders along just above the stream and offers numerous spots to get right down to the water. Wooden walkways and bridges make for easy traverses over more difficult areas. The trees and ferns and wildflowers are lush this time of year and it was a true pleasure walking along the path






4699_SweetCr11As I said, it took us 4 hours to make it up to the main falls overlook. This was a nice area for lunch and afterwards we walked the short distance up to the upper falls overlook. Unfortunately you can’t actually see the upper falls very well from the overlook without jumping over the wooden guardrails. It didn’t look particularly dangerous, but I decided not to do it. I could see another overlook through the brush on the other side of the stream, but didn’t see a way to get to it. That probably meant I would have to jump the creek which I wasn’t in the mood for. We’d gotten enough nice images already. At this point we could either take a short spur trail to the road and walk it back to the trailhead, or retrace our steps back down the trail. It was such a nice walk, we retraced our way back down the trail, again seeing only a handful of people on their way up. We were back in less than 30 minutes.

4719_SweetCr14This was our last hike on the coast for most of the rest of our trip. We are headed inland now and plan to spend several days around the Three Sisters area of central Oregon before meeting up with the Northwest Lazy Daze group at Baker City next week.

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