If you are a waterfall aficionado the Silver Falls Oregon State Park (near Salem) is a waterfall lovers paradise. It is often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of Oregon and rightfully so. On the Ten Falls Trail in 7.2 miles you can expect to see 10 amazing waterfalls. When I set it to do this hike I was thinking there might be a few good ones and the rest would be mediocre, so not true. Each and every waterfall had breathtaking features. We started at the South falls and worked our way around. The trails are laid out in either one big look that will take you over 7 miles, or a smaller loop of about 5 miles. You can’t go more than a mile without seeing a gorgeous waterfall on this hike.
My daughter and I made this trip a girls weekend and we camped at the Silver Falls State Park Campground. If camping’s not your jam, stay at the Silver Falls Lodge. We used our overnight stay to our advantage to hit the trail early to beat the heat and the tourists. We arrived at 7am when the 9,000+ acre park opens. As we approached the South Falls trailhead we passed a small herd of deer munching on grass. This started our hike out on a great foot.
South Falls took our breath away it was so gorgeous it felt like we had stepped into a fairytale. This is one of four falls on the trail that you can walk behind. This is something we had never done before. My daughter said, “It’s like being on a Lord of the Rings quest or something…” Each fall we passed after this felt much the same. This hike has become a new favorite for us.
The hike makes a lot of elevation gains and losses. The overall elevation gain is 800 feet, so not too severe. I saw both old and young hikers manage this trail well. The trails are very well maintained, which makes it quite enjoyable. You will find waterfalls of various variety from horse tail to curtain and heights from 177 feet to a mere 27 feet.
The ten falls you will find on the hike are:
South Falls (177 feet)
Drake Falls (27 feet)
Winter Falls (134 feet)
Lower South Falls (93 feet)
Middle North Falls (106 feet)
Double Falls (178 feet)
Lower North Falls (30 feet)
North Falls (136 feet)
Twin Falls (31 feet)
North Upper Falls (65 feet)
I can not wait to come back and do this hike again. This is a great family hike, an even better proposal hike, and dogs are even allowed on some trails. Check with the ranger station to find out exactly where you can and can’t take your pup.
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