About Us

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park

The next stop on our Oregon trip was at Silver Falls State Park.  It's a beautiful and peaceful park, about 30 miles east of Salem.  I'm sure it's crowded on the weekends, but in the middle of the week it was very crowd-free.  We opted to do the Trail of Ten Falls. the main and best hiking trail in the park.  There are several variations for the hike, the longest loop being 8 miles.  We opted to do a 5 mile loop, then to drive and do a hike of about 1 mile to see the remaining 2 waterfalls.  If you have 2 cars or can arrange a shuttle, that would be ideal. 
There are several old buildings (cafe, bookstore, etc) built by the CCC right near the biggest waterfall.  They were fun to see, but not why we came. 
South Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park at 177 feet tall.  The trail actually goes under the overhang.  It's maybe 1/4 mile to see Silver Falls. 
Lower South Falls is about 3/4 mile past South Falls.  It's only 93 feet tall, but is also very photogenic. 
 The trail goes behind Lower South Falls too.  Bring a jacket because you will get wet!
After Lower South Falls, there's a nearly a mile and a half before the next waterfall on the hike.  But don't worry, after all you are hiking through a temperate rainforest and there is an abundance of mossy trees, ferns, and vegetation.  It is so different from hiking in Utah where I am used to hiking! 
 A bridge crosses the North Fork of Silver Creek to let you know that you will soon see more waterfalls. 
 Lower North Falls soon comes into view.  It's 30 feet tall. 
Around the corner from Lower North Falls and up a small side trail is Double Falls.  Double Falls is a double drop that falls 178 feet- a foot taller than South Falls, but with a much smaller magnitude.
Soon after Double Falls is Drake Falls.  There's a viewing platform built out over the hillside to provide a better view of Drake Falls.  Drake Falls is a 27 foot drop.
Middle North Falls is very scenic too.  It's about 1/4 mile past Drake Falls.  There used to be a trail behind the waterfall, but it was closed off due to safety reasons.  It is 106 feet tall.
Occasionally the kids would need a break, so we let them out to run around and stretch before loading them back up again to hike on. 
Here's a side shot of Middle North Falls.  The problem with a lot of impressive waterfalls is that they start to seem normal when there are so many that are amazing all close together! 
We did a side trip up to Twin Falls.  It was my least favorite waterfall of the day.  Difficult, if not impossible to photograph, and  really not very spectacular.  31 feet tall. 
 The last waterfall of our 5 mile loop was Winter Falls.  It';s 134 feet tall and near a parking area. 
After Winter Falls, we were out of the canyon and had a mile to a mile and a half walk along the rim back to our car.  The kids needed a break, so we unloaded them for yet another snack, then distracted them with a nearly neverending game of "hide and go seek" down the trail. 
 We then drove to the north side of the park to hike to 2 more falls.  We just missed watching a couple get engaged at Upper North Falls.  It's a pretty spot.  It's a 65 foot drop and a short easy hike from the parking lot. 
 Below the parking lot is North Falls.  It is impressive too.  The trail goes underneath the alcove, but you don't need to worry about getting wet- it's a huge alcove.  North Falls is 136 feet tall. 

Here's a picture of the alcove.  There are holes in the ceiling left by tree stumps that were covered by lava when the basalt was layed down.  After North Falls we were done and tired, but also very relaxed and happy. 
Mt. Hood in the distance on the drive back to the Portland area.

Nearest City:
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Kid Friendly: Somewhat.  We carried our young kids on the loop.
Additional Info: $5/car to access the park.  A trail map is available here.

1 comment:

  1. wow! the waterfalls are beautiful! I love how green everything is in Oregon!