Beauty & Drama in Silver Falls State Park
Twenty-five miles of footpaths beckon you through Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar along the Trail of Ten Falls and Canyon Trail. Dense with ferns, mosses and wildflowers, the forest floor of Silver Falls State Park could have been pulled from Middle Earth’s Lothlórien.
Four of the falls at Silver Falls State Park have an amphitheater-like surrounding where you can walk behind the falls and feel the misty, crisp spray.
Sixty miles south of Portland, 130 miles west of Bend, and another world away, this temperate rain forest is nestled in the lower elevation of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.
The Canyon Trail is a nationally recognized trail system that leads hikers along the banks of the north and south forks of Silver Creek. It takes you to 10 majestic waterfalls, ranging from the grand South Falls (177 feet) to the delicate Drake Falls (27 feet).
Trail of Ten Falls: Download a PDF of the free Silver Fall State Park Trail map.
…it’s a sweet place for a quiet respite and perhaps a little kiss of refreshing spray from the tumbling water.
South Falls is considered THE waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. Clocking in at 177 feet, it’s the falls with tallest single drop and the second tallest in height in the State Park. You can access South Falls via a paved trail from South Falls Lodge.
As you may have guessed, Winter Falls flows most prolifically during the winter months. in the summer month, it may run nearly dry. From a height of 134 feet, Winder Falls plunges straight down before splitting into a veil along a steeply slanted protrusion in the basalt wall.
North Falls plunges 136 feet from North Silver Creek, past a basalt overhang and into the bottom of a canyon.
The great drama of North Falls is its thundering sound created by echos from the–wait for it–chamber behind the Falls. You can visit this chamber, which is surprisingly roomy, by descending The Canyon Trail and passing through the grotto.
North Falls is also the only waterfall at Silver Falls State Park that you can see from your car. If you can, by all means, take the short 1/3-mile jaunt to see this falls close-up and personal.
Upper North Falls
Off the beaten path, and therefore the oft most peaceful waterfall at Silver Falls State Park, is Upper North Falls. Dropping a modest 65 feet, Upper North is tucked in off the Highway and overlooked by most travelers on the well-trod loop trails.
One of the smallest falls at Silver Falls State Park, tumbling a mere 31 feet, Twin Falls bends to nature as it splits into two sections around a jutting mass of basalt.It also defies its name by drying into one fall in parched summer months and, when the water flow is particularly heavy, it merges into a single fall.
Middle North Falls
The water from Middle North Falls cascades in a wide sheet nearly 100 feet wide and drops into a large basin. You can walk behind Middle North, on a trail that opens to a cavern created by centuries of erosion.
Measuring a petite 27 feet, Drake Falls is one of the smallest in Silver Falls State Park. An observation platform along the Canyon Trail offers the best views and though most people don’t linger here, it’s a sweet place for a quiet respite and perhaps a little kiss of refreshing spray from the tumbling water.
Lower North Falls
Standing on the Hullt Creek Bridge, you can look over Lower North Falls from a unique perspective. You can certainly view it from the Canyon Trail, of course, where you’ll see a beautifully symmetrical curtain of water drop 30 feet through a random, “pick-up-stick” arrangement of fallen logs.
Although Double Falls trickles down to a drizzle in the late summer months, it is certainly one of the most majestic when its in full form. Double Falls measures in at 178 feet, making it the tallest waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. It earned its name from its two-tiered structure, with the lower drop falling further and more dramatically that the upper segment. You’ll have to leave the Canyon Trail to view Double Falls, best visible from the Hullt Creek Bridge.
Lower South Falls
One of the larger waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park, and one of four waterfalls that you can walk behind, Lower South Falls drops 93 feet in a boxy, rectangular shape. After a straight drop, its curtain splashes over a smattering of rocks jutting out from basalt wall.
Silver Falls State Park Rules
Walking with Your Pet: The park has over 25 miles of trails for hiking (14 miles of horse trails) that are pet friendly. If you have any questions about which trails will accommodate pets, check with park staff or refer to the Silver Falls State Park Trail Guide for more information on pet restrictions.
While in the park, keep your pet on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. Your pet must be able to respond to your commands, and you must be physically capable of restraining your pet. This rule protects you and your pet, other visitors, and park wildlife (Silver Falls is a designated state wildlife refuge).
Be a good neighbor: For sanitary reasons, bag and remove all pet wastes. For your convenience, Mutt Mitt dispensers are located throughout the park. Also, never leave your pet unattended, whether in the campground or picnic areas.
Please stay on marked trails and within designated day-use areas at all times. For your safety, respect any posted trail closure notices.
Special thanks or Oregon Hikers for detailed instructions on the ten waterfalls.