Silver Falls State Park lies southeast of Salem with not just one waterfall you can see, but ten. And on top of that, you can take in sweet views of them one after another by following a beautifully maintained trail that loops throughout the forested canyon.
The Trail of Ten Falls loop spans for a decent 7.2 miles with about 800 feet in elevation, but you don’t have to go the full route if you don’t want. Many side trails along the way provide easy shortcuts to loop back around to your car. A lot of people like to take off just before Twin and North Falls, which cuts down the hike to a little more than 5 miles.
This path winds across the canyon to – you guessed it – ten lovely cascades, five of which drop more than 100 feet high. It leads from South Falls to North Falls with several opportunities to walk under and behind the waterfalls. Be careful, as it can often get slippery around these parts from the mist.
The park is open all year and usually stays snow-free until mid-winter. But the prime time to visit is from March to May, when the wildflowers are vibrant and blooming, or in September and October when the canyon becomes aflame with fiery fall foliage colors.
In the park you’ll also find a spacious picnic area to enjoy PB&Js among lush trees, a campground for tent and RV campers, and cozy cabins that provide a perfect home base after you go hiking for the day.
Their cabins are set in two locations: Upper Smith Creek and Lower Smith Creek. The Lower Smith rentals are a little more luxurious, since they have their own private bathroom and shower, while the Upper Smith cabins offer a more rustic stay amid tall century-old forest, with showers available in a building nearby. Each one comes with a coffee maker, and can sleep about 1-2 people. (Get rates & reservations on their website here.)
The Trail of Ten Falls is a family friendly hike, but dogs aren’t allowed for most of it. The only section where leashed pets are permitted is the “Rim Trail”, which parallels the road and continues to upper North Falls. There are a few other trails across the park where you can bring Fido though, like the Bike Path and Perimeter Trail.
Or if you’re looking for even more of an adventure, the park also includes over 25 miles of backcountry trails where you can sometimes spot cougars and bears. Parking goes for about $5, with pay stations available at most of the trailheads. For directions and more info, check out the Oregon state parks website here.
Have you taken this trail at Silver Falls State Park before? Or would you love to check it out sometime?