Silver Falls is “must see” when visiting the Willamette Valley, with 10 unique waterfalls to explore!
Dubbed the “Crown Jewel” of the Oregon Parks System, Silver Falls State Park will make you feel swept away into a fantasy world. With more shades of green than you can count, ten pounding waterfalls, dew soaked moss, towering trees, and a winding river that parallels most of the trail, you’ll find endless beauty here, as well as countless recreational activities, and the awe-inspiring feeling of being cocooned inside nature’s grasp.
With multiple loop options, you can choose to spend a full day hiking on the 7.2 mile Trail of Ten Falls (to view all the falls), or opt for a shorter circle perhaps viewing one or two of the waterfalls with just a brief walk from your car.
The famous South Falls appears at the very beginning of the trail, towering 177 feet off the ground. You don’t only get one view of this waterfall either. Instead, the path leads you behind South falls, allowing visitors a glimpse of all angles. Have you ever seen the back of a waterfall? It feels like hiding behind a sparkly silver curtain, blurring the outside world as if only you exist. Just about another mile down the trail, you’ll reach Lower South Falls, another incredible waterfall you can walk behind.
35 Miles from the hotel
Oregon State Park Day Pass Required – $5
Hiking shoes recommended – pack rain gear
Visit weekdays or early in the morning for fewer crowds.
9,000 acre park
The dramatic Lower Falls has a trail that leads behind it allowing you to peer through the water.
Nothing like standing behind the waterfall curtain to get a whole new perspective.
Continue on and reach Middle North Falls (my personal favorite). Not as tall, but wider and even closer to the path, you once again walk behind it and mist cleanses your face, inspiring you to pause and absorb the beauty of Oregon. Wear something waterproof though, as this waterfall spares no one from its gentle kiss, and if you’re traveling with a small pup, trust me when I say they’ll appreciate a lift across this sometimes soaked path. Dogs are permitted everywhere except Canyon Trail to ensure everyone’s safety.
Lower South Falls
Middle North Falls
Middle North Falls is a part of six “middle falls”, they aren’t as tall or as impressive as South and Lower South but are all still worth visiting, each with its own character. They are all clustered on the path at the top of the loop, these “middle falls” on the trail are… Lower North Falls, Double Falls, Drake Falls, Middle North Falls, Twin Falls, and Winter Falls.
The Park offers several opportunities to walk behind waterfalls
Close out this epic hike right! The last waterfalls on the Trail of 10 Falls are North Falls and Upper North Falls, and North Falls will be quite the finale! .
Yet again, you’ll hear and then see spouting waterfall that you can walk behind to hear and feel the power of the falls.
North Falls is another waterfall you can see individually if you don’t have much time, it’s only about a half-mile round trip from the North Fall parking lot.
Views from behind North Falls
Silver Falls State Park has more to offer than hiking and waterfalls. Over 35 miles of backcountry are available for mountain biking and/or horseback riding (and don’t worry if you forgot to pack your horse, guided tours are available).
If the weather is good and Covid-precautions allow, the South Falls Day-use area provides picnic grounds, horseshoe pits, and an off-leash area for dogs. There is also a bathroom available at the beginning of the trail, with social distancing signs and lots of soap for hand washing.
Tour by Horseback
From behind South Falls
While some of the activities at Silver Falls are seasonal (e.g. Horseback rides are put on pause in the winter), the hike itself is accessible year-round. And this is not a park you will only want to visit once.
Frost decorates the leaves in the winter, while spring brings with it heavier rain, resulting in fuller falls. Summer means warmer weather, which enables you to bask in the mist of all 10 waterfalls without catching a chill, and fall means the changing colors of the foliage. Plus, in the fall you gain the added bonus of hearing the dry leaves crunch beneath your feet.
One of the winding walk ways leads hikers over the creek
The trail is surrounded by forest
If you happen to be traveling with someone who prefers to stay on level ground (no ups or downs) this wouldn’t be the trail we recommend. However, that doesn’t mean a trip isn’t still warranted. South Falls can be spotted from the trailhead, so bring a picnic and lunch while listening to the sounds of waterfalls, chirping birds, swaying trees, and rushing rivers. There’s also quite a bit for history buffs to explore, the park was built in 1933, in large part, by Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, designed to provide jobs for workers during the Great Depression.
Since 1933, this state park has captivated travelers from all over the world, and being less than an hour from The Independence, this experience shouldn’t be missed!
Waterfall mist refreshes on a hot day!
Walking behind waterfalls, a “Must do” when visiting us at The Independence!