Cascadia State Park is a peaceful campground and picnic area that includes river access, a bit of history, and, of course, a waterfall.
We began our adventure by hiking the short River Trail down to the rocky beach of the South Santiam River. There were a handful of families on the shore and swimming in the river. The River Trail passes by an old water pump, a remnant from when a health resort took advantage of Soda Creek’s mineral water in the early 1900’s.
The other bit of park history is supposedly found near the confluence of the creek and river. The Santiam Wagon Road ran through this area in the 1800’s, and according to the park website and Wikipedia, some wagon ruts are still visible. We did not see the wagon ruts for ourselves, so please let me know if you can verify this detail.
The trail to Lower Soda Falls is beautiful, with plenty of forest scenery to admire. The hike is not difficult, but it is moderately steep in places. The waterfall itself is tall and narrow, dropping in three tiers to the creekbed below. We visited Labor Day weekend and were easily able to scramble down to the base of the falls.
Oregonwaterfalls.net lists Dobbin Creek Falls at the entrance to Cascadia State Park. Unfortunately I did not realize this before we visited, and so we have not seen it for ourselves. Dobbin Creek Falls is not listed on waterfallsnorthwest.com and appears to be quite short, so I’m guessing it might not meet the 10′ minimum to qualify as an “official” waterfall. I’m including it on my list for now, since it’s so close to the road, and I will update this post with more information after we are able to visit the area again.
My rating: Highly Recommended (3 stars) (Waterfall – 2 stars, Trail – 3 stars, Experience – 3 stars)
Distance from Beaverton: About two hours and fifteen minutes southeast
Nearest town: Sweet Home
Nearest city: Eugene (but almost as close to Salem)
Length of round-trip hike: 1.5 miles (not counting the River Trail)
Best season to visit: The waterfall definitely loses volume in late summer (which is when we visited), so I suggest visiting any other time of year.
Things to know: Alternate names for Lower Soda Falls include Lower Soda Creek Falls, Soda Creek Falls, and Cascadia Falls.
Consider combining this trip with: Rainbow Falls or High Deck Falls
Toilet / Amenities: Toilets, picnic tables, and campground
How to get there:
- From I-5 in Albany, take Highway 20 east for 40 miles to the small town of Cascadia.
- Turn left into Cascadia State Park and park in the day use area.