Sweet Home is just that, a sweet little town which covers less than 6 square miles. But it is 6 square miles of beauty! Tree covered mountainsides are split by canyons of rushing rivers. Douglas-fir, the state tree of Oregon, is the most predominate but cedar, white pine and ponderosa pine make the scenery burst with more shades of green than your giant box of crayons. Ferns, and the ever famous rhododendrons, create a ground cover under the trees. But there is more to Sweet Home than the trees!
Sweet Home Elks Lodge RV Park
If variety is the spice of life, then pulling into an Elks Lodge will certainly give you that. Everyone of them has their own character, and characters will be found too! We have a special treat waiting for us. We are meeting up with our dear friends, Mike and Donna Wagner! The Wagner’s were the driving force behind our membership in the Fraternal Order of Elks.
The bar at Sweet Home Elks is decorated to resemble a cowboy bar. As you push our way through double swinging doors of the Elkhorn Saloon and there is a warning to all cowboys upon entry. “All guns must be checked at the bar, by order of the Sheriff!” Hand painted on the bar, by one of the Elk’s members, is a beautiful elk.
On warm summer days, lunch and drinks are served on the patio with a view clear to the mountains. Even on a cloudy day is view you would pay big bucks for at a high end restaurant.
The Point Restaurant & Foster Lake
The sun is shining and it is the most beautiful day we have had in weeks! The perfect day to have brunch on the patio of The Point Restaurant. There is a beautiful view of Foster Lake and the mountains across the highway, so we chose the eat on the patio.
After consuming a huge breakfast of omelettes, hash browns and the sweetest little grapes, we are ready to hike the falls of McDowell Creek!
McDowell Creek Park
I LOVE Waterfalls!! A few minutes outside of Sweet Home is the town of Lebanon and the exit to McDowell Creek. Watching for signs for the park, we come to the first of three parking areas within the park.
We absolutely loved the hike along the 1.4 mile trail to the 3 falls. It’s a delightfully beautiful path with lots of forest, ferns, bridges and viewing platforms and the trail follows the McDowell Creek.
Even though 1.4 miles sounds like a short hike, expect to spend about 2 hours with all of the things to see and the several flights of stairs to a couple of the falls. One set is wooden with a viewing platform and the another is made of stone. That stone steps are steep with the steps being deep and tall in many places. A great workout on the stone stairs!
Pack a picnic lunch and dine in the cool shade of the forest. Don’t forget to pick up after yourselves!
The trail head starts with a gentle path over a wooden bridge (loves these cute bridges!) across a small creek leading through the forest and ferns to Lower Falls. You can hear the birds chirping and singing as you walk the paths. It is a very happy song they are singing!
The wooden viewing platform and circuitous boardwalk lead to Majestic Falls, a 40-foot high waterfall on McDowell Creek.
The stone steps are totally worth hiking up to reach the 120-foot high waterfall at Royal Terrace Falls on Fall Creek.
Marks Ridge Winery
Marks Ridge Winery is named after the mountain ridge it sets on. Owner/winemaker Jay, said you can’t imagine how many times he’s been asked if he is Mark. Originally planted in the late 70’s, the gnarled vines on the 10 acre vineyard yield luscious fruit to produce small lots of wine.
Located on a ridge top in the Cascade foothills surrounded by picturesque lower ridges, Marks Ridge Winery has a view that goes on forever! It is worth the drive just to take in the view! The good news is thy actually make some pretty good wines too!
Sweet Home Murals
As you drive down Main Street in Sweet Home you will find murals painted on the sides of businesses. The murals are kind of an artistic graffiti depicting the early scenes of Sweet Home such as the first passenger train into town, the Kalapuya Indians, on old-time general store, the Santiam Pass toll road, and the Oregon Jamboree.
The Oregon Jamboree was founded in 1992 as an economic development project for the Sweet Home Community. Jamboree founders, Marge Geil and Leslie Ancke had a passion for community service, and a love for Country Music. Their vision was a three-day Country Music, RV and tent camping, and fundraising event.
Marge and Leslie pursued their dream with conviction, traveling to see Wynonna Judd concerts and asking for her help. They finally met up with Wynonna at one of her shows and were directed to the Judd’s agent to discuss the idea. Unlikely as it seemed at the time, a deal was struck. Wynonna agreed to play at the ’92 and ’93 Jamborees. The vision of The Oregon Jamboree in Sweet Home was born.
It is now the Northwest’s premier country music festival and features artists like Carry Underwood, Toby Keith, John Michael Montgomery, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Old Dominion to name a few.
Sweet Home and the surrounding area is really a sweet place to visit!