"Beautiful Scenery & Great Water Falls" Top 5 Page for this destination Silver Falls State Park by glabah

Silver Falls State Park Travel Guide: 64 reviews and 176 photos

One of Oregon's Most Popular Parks

Silver Falls State Park contains about 10 medium size water falls, and quite a number of minor falls. There are hiking trails, a paved bike trail, a swimming hole, a number of picnic areas, camping facilities, and more.

The photo above is of Middle North Falls, as it appeared in July of 2007. Far more water was coming over the falls in the February of 2009 photo.

The park was set aside when logging had entered the area. The canyons were steep, and would be difficult to access for commercial timber operations. Furthermore, there was a feeling that a series of canyons with so many water falls in such a small place should be set aside. June D. Drake was a Silverton resident and photographer whose 1920s and 1930 campaign, using his own photos, led to the eventual establishment of Silver Falls State Park in 1931. Drake Falls is named after Mr. Drake. A collection of his photos, some of which were used as part of the campaign to create this popular state park, is now at the University of Oregon Library Special Collections.

The day use fee to use the park is $3 per car per day, but this can only be paid in certain parking lots and gates to the park. Winter Falls (which is beside the main road through the park) has no facility for paying the fee, but it is a popular place for people to stop anyway. See my general Silver Falls Logistics tip. Fees for camping depend on what type of camping facility you are using.

The creek that flows through the park is simply known as "Silver Creek" (which has both a North Fork and a South Fork). It was known that the falls existed, and they were simply referred to as "Silver Creek Falls" at the time. The various falls on Silver Creek itself were given named based on their location, since there are some seven or more falls on Silver Creek. Thus, the names "Lower North Falls", "Lower South Falls", "South Falls", etc. since all of these falls are on Silver Creek.

Since the smaller falls at various other places in the canyon were not on Silver Creek, they were given somewhat more specific names. For example, "Winter Falls" nearly vanishes during the summer, and "Double Falls" features a two-tiered drop unique in the park.

Thus, the rather odd situation: many of the minor falls in the park have specific names, while the major falls in the park have generic geographic location based names.

Many other minor falls carry no name either. For example, several fairly attractive streams of water that come crashing down along the North Fork canyon have no name at all.

a VERY Popular Place

It should be understood that Silver Falls draws people from all over the Willamette Valley due to its location. Because it is in the foothills, it is cooler here in the summer than in the valley itself. Thus, many people come here to enjoy the cooler temperatures. On Saturdays in the summer, be prepared for a LOT of people to be around. This is particularly the case with the picnic areas near the main entrance to the park.

Yet, it should also be understood that summer really isn't that great a time to visit the falls if you want to see water falling over the rocks. That isn't the peak water time.

Winter weekdays are really your best bet in terms of viewing the falls and being able to get away from the crowds.

Shown in the photo is one of several picnic areas at South Falls, which is the main parking and visitors center area of the park.

Due to the steep nature of the canyon, it would be impossible to build a road into any of these falls and still preserve their natural beauty. Thus, the development of hiking trails to get to the falls. Again, you will want to read my general Silver Falls Logistics tip, as I put more information there. There is a so-called "Trail of Ten Falls", but that is actually four separate named trails.

Trails CAN be Dangerous!!

If you are not an experienced hiker, this is a good place to get started, BUT use some sense and be careful. At the very least, take some drinking water with you EXPECIALLY in the summer months, and be careful of the trails that go under the waterfalls, as they are always wet and can be quite sippery.

The photo shows South Falls in July of 2007. You will notice a white dot behind the falls. This is someone's shirt on the trail behind the falls. The trail is narrow and wet from all the water on the rocks and spray from the falls, and there are rocks in the trail. The trail is very close to the edge of a very steep drop into the rocky waters below. There are far more dangerous trails all over the northwest, but if you don't know what to expect you may need to be warned to Watch Your Footing, particularly in the winter when there may be ice on the trail as well as water.

Oregon State Parks Web Site:
see http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_211.php for more information, as that is the official state parks web site for this Oregon state park.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful Place, and wide variety of activities available
  • Cons:Lots of People = Lots of Use = More Damage to Wilderness
  • In a nutshell:The park is very popular good reason but summer crowds are severe in recent days.
  • Last visit to Silver Falls State Park: Feb 2009
  • Intro Updated Feb 17, 2009
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Reviews (20)

Comments (6)

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Thanks Glenn for this extensive page about Silver Falls :-) Now I understand it even better and must come and see and walk the trails! Such a splendid scenery!

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2010 at 3:45 AM

    It's nice destination for who likes waterfalls and unspoilt nature, as I do :) Great page with usefultips and good photos. Thanks for informing me. All the best. Bora

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    A great page! Thank goodness this area was preserved, it is so beautiful! Have never seen that many different waterfalls in one area, simply stunning scenery!

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2009 at 3:58 PM

    Great detailed page. Wish I had read it before going to the park but I never planned on going there. In fact, I'd never heard of it before getting out that way!

  • DoreenDe's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    I loved camping here. Can't wait to go back one day.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 9, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    Wow, what a nice WATERFALLS page!!! That's just such a nice park - beautiful! But as you said, slippery in some areas...Norman :)

glabah

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