The Ultimate Guide To Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park , a world of waterfalls amid a temperate rainforest!
Silver Falls State Park, the largest of all State Parks in Oregon, is home to ten gorgeous waterfalls and the Trail of Ten Falls, one of the most popular nature trails in the US!
Old-growth forest, mossy trees and caverns, gorgeous waterfalls, and meandering nature trails of Silver Falls State Park offer vistas and experiences that are hard to match! The Trail of Ten Falls, a designated National Recreation Trail and the best way to explore all the waterfalls in the Park, meanders through the rainforest traversing through all ten waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park.
Located in northwest Oregon, about 55 miles north of Portland, Silver Falls State Park sits on the banks of the north and the south fork of the Silver Creek in the foothills of Oregon’s Cascade Range. Given its proximity to Portland, Silver Falls State Park is a popular day-trip destination from Portland. However, you will find ample lodging options near the Park, including the Park’s campground and the nearby town of Salem.
The canyon, the cave-like formations along the walls, and rugged terrain at Silver Falls State Park were shaped by lava, basalt flow, and the flowing Silver Creek. The canyon’s natural resources, including plentiful water and wood, brought several homesteaders to the area. In the year 1933, it was designated as a State Park to protect and preserve Silver Falls State Park’s natural beauty.
The hollow cave-like amphitheaters along the canyon walls offer a unique opportunity to walk and view the waterfalls from behind!
Silver Falls State Park, with its natural beauty and several outdoor recreational opportunities, including several miles of hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, camping, and picnicking, is a popular destination in Oregon! Even if you don’t have time to hike the entire Trail of Ten Falls, which is about 8 miles roundtrip hike, you could still enjoy the wilderness and vistas of the South Falls on a relatively short, less than a mile, easy hiking trail.
Here is my ultimate guide to Silver Falls State Park, featuring essential trip-planning information, things to do in Silver Falls State Park, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Silver Falls State Park!
Planning Your Trip To Silver Falls State Park
Though open year-round, Spring and Fall are the best time to visit Silver Falls State Park!
Best Time To Visit Silver Falls State Park: The mild winters in Oregon make it possible to visit Silver Falls State Park all year-round. However, Spring and Fall are the best seasons to visit the Park, as Spring and Fall both have pleasant temperatures, good water flow, and lush valleys. The Fall foliage paints the valley in vivid colors, creating spectacular scenery. However, Summers are quite hot and dry in Oregon and significantly reduces the water flow, and Winters are very wet and rainy, making it difficult to hike the trails in the Park.
Time Required At Silver Falls State Park: The wilderness and waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park are best experienced via hiking the Trail of Ten Falls hiking trail, an 8 miles loop and takes about 5 – 6 hours. However, there’re a few shorter trails in the Park, which can be hiked in less than a couple of hours.
Getting To Silver Falls State Park: The best way to get to Silver Falls State Park is by flying into Portland and then driving to Silver Falls State Park. Alternatively, you could also take a train or bus to get to Portland, Oregon, and then rent a car and drive the Park.
- Flight: Portland International Airport (PDX), Portland, Oregon, is the closest airport to Silver Falls State Park, located about 60 miles from Silver Falls State Park, and is served by all major airlines.
- Train: The Portland Union Station is the nearest Amtrak station to Silver Falls State Park, located about 55 miles from Silver Falls State Park.
- Bus: Greyhound offers bus services to Portland, with the closest Greyhound bus stop being Portland and Portland Bolt Lloyd Center, both located within 55 miles from Silver Falls State Park.
Parking In Silver Falls State Park: There’re two parking lots in Silver Falls State Park – (1) South Falls Parking Lot – This is the main parking lot near the South Falls and (2) North Falls Parking Lot – Relatively smaller parking lot, located close to the North Falls.
Lodging Near Silver Falls State Park: Given Silver Falls State Park’s proximity to Portland, it’s a popular day-trip destination from Portland, but if you’re planning to stay close to the Park, you will find a few options, including a campground and a few bread and breakfasts.
- Silver Falls State Park Campground
- Oregon Garden Resort
- Silverton Inn & Suites
- Bridgeway Inn & Suites Sublimity
Dining Options Near Silver Falls State Park: While the dining option inside the Park is limited to the cafe in the Park’s lodge serving sandwiches, snacks, and beverages, there’re a few lovely places to dine in the nearby towns of Salem and Stayton. Here’re my top picks for restaurants near Silver Falls State Park – Gingerbread House for American fare, Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant for excellent Mexican food, and A&W Restaurant for fast food.
Things To Do In Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park Attractions Map
Hiking is the best and the only way to explore Silver Falls State Park. The ten waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park can only be accessed via hiking the lush canyons along the south and the north forks of Silver Creek. Every waterfall is distinct and offers a unique experience at Silver Falls State Park!
There’re four waterfalls that have an alcove on the canyon walls and let you walk behind the waterfalls. The views and experience of standing from behind a transparent curtain, created by the flowing waterfall, is quite unique and a sight to behold!
Trail of Ten Falls: The Trail of Ten Falls is a 7 miles loop traversing the lush canyon passing through all ten waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park. The Trail of Ten Falls is a moderately strenuous hike with minimal elevation gain. The Trail of Ten Falls is comprised of four different trails, which can also be hiked independently. There’re four sections on the Trail of Ten Falls – Maple Ridge Trail (1.3 miles), Canyon Trail (2.8 miles), optional Winter Trail (0.5 miles), and Rim Trail (2.9).
- Maple Ridge Trail: The Maple Ridge Trail, the first part of the Trail of Ten Falls, is a popular hike offering views of South Falls and an option to hike to the Lower South Falls. The Maple Ridge Trail starts at the South Parking Lot and continues 1.3 miles, crossing the South Falls and the Lower South Falls, before meeting the Canyon Trail. Several people hike only the Maple Ridge Trail to the South Falls and the Lower South Falls, making it a 2.6 miles loop.
- Canyon Trail: The Canyon Trail traverses along the North fork of the Silver Creek beyond the Maple Ridge Trail to the North Falls in the east end of the Park. The Canyon Trail is 2.8 miles long and passes through six waterfalls, including Lower North Falls, Double Falls, Drake Falls, Middle North Falls, Twin Falls, and North Falls.
- Winter Trail: The short 0.5-mile Winter Trail connects the Canyon Trail from the Middle North Falls to the Rim Trail at the Winter Falls, offers a shorter hiking option on the Trail of Ten Falls. If you choose to use the Winter Trail, you would see seven waterfalls in the Park, except Twin Falls, North Falls, and Upper North Falls.
- Rim Trail: The Rim Trail, starting at the North Parking Lot, traverses along the south rim of the canyon leading to the South Parking Lot. The Rim Trail is 2.9 miles long and passes through three waterfalls, including Upper North Falls, North Falls, and Winter Falls.
Here’re the ten gorgeous waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park.
The most popular and the first waterfall on the Trail of Ten Falls, South Falls is located near the South Parking Lot and is accessible via a short one-mile loop. If you don’t have time or wish to hike the entire Trail of Ten Falls, I recommend visiting the South Falls as it’s the most accessible of all waterfalls in the Park that lets you walk behind the waterfalls.
Lower South Falls
Lower South Falls
Lower South Falls, located about a mile from the South Falls on the Trail of Ten Falls, is a gorgeous 93 feet tall waterfall and has a passage naturally carved into the canyon walls behind the waterfall. The Trail of Ten Falls passes behind the waterfall, letting you stand below the waterfall and enjoy the views from behind the transparent curtain created by the flowing water.
Lower North Falls
Lower North Falls
The Lower North Falls, located about 1.3 miles from Lower South Falls and about 2.3 miles from South Parking Lot, is the furthest of all waterfalls on the Trail of Ten Falls. The Lower North Falls is a small 30 feet waterfall cascading down a slope on the creek bed over fallen logs.
Located just 0.1-mile from the Lower North Falls, the Double Falls is a two-tiered cascading waterfall and is about 178 feet tall. The Double Falls is best viewed from a distance from where you can see both the cascades, but there’s a spur trail that leads to the base of the lower falls.
The Drake Falls, located about 0.2 miles from Double Falls, measuring 27 feet tall, is one of the smaller waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park. The Drake Falls can be viewed from a viewing platform at the edge of a cliff.
Middle North Falls
Middle North Falls
Located around 0.2 miles from Drake Falls, the Middle North Falls is an impressive 106 feet tall waterfall. The Middle North Falls is a wide waterfall with an alcove behind the waterfall, letting you walk behind the waterfalls through a lush and mossy trail.
The Twin Falls measuring 31 feet is one of the smaller waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park, with a rock splitting the water flow into two identical channels. Twin Falls is located about 0.4 miles from Middle North Falls.
The North Falls, like the South Falls, is also a perimeter falls of Silver Falls State Park, located near the North Parking Lot of the Park. The North Falls is located 1.1 miles from the Twin Falls but can also be hiked via a much shorter trail starting from the North Parking Lot. The North Falls is a majestic 136 feet tall and has an alcove, letting you walk behind the waterfalls.
Upper North Falls
Upper North Falls
Located 0.3 miles from North Falls, the Upper North Falls is a beautiful 65 feet waterfall in a peaceful setting. Like the North Falls, the Upper North Falls can also be hiked independently from the North Parking Lot of the Park.
Located on the Rim Trail portion of the Trail of Ten Falls, the 134 feet tall Winter Falls gets its name because its water flow is at its best during the winter months. If you’re hiking the Trail of Ten Falls clockwise, you would need to hike about 1.3 miles to Winter Falls along the Rim Trail on the way back to the South Parking Lot from the Upper North Falls.
While hiking and visiting the waterfalls are the main attractions in the Park, you will find a few other indulging outdoor recreational opportunities at Silver Falls State Park, including a designated swimming area, picnic spaces, kids play areas, historic South Falls Lodge with a cafe offering snacks and beverages, a gift shop, a campground, and seasonal guided horseback rides.
There’re you have it, this is my ultimate guide to Silver Falls State Park!
Other Oregon Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Silver Falls State Park, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to the Silver Falls State Park. You can find other Oregon attractions in my Oregon Travel Guide.
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