This trail is easily one of the best in Oregon. You can choose an 8.2-mile loop or a shorter 5.2-mile loop. Whichever you choose, you'll be treated to great views of powerful waterfalls and massive old-growth forests.
Silver Falls State Park offers a diverse array of services, from primitive campgrounds and cabins, to horse corrals and a conference center. But the crown jewel of the park is the Trail of Ten Falls. This 8.7 mile loop hike is arguably one of the most spectacular and scenic hikes in all of Oregon. During this epic outing, you’ll pass by no fewer than ten waterfalls, ranging in height from 27 to 177 feet. The waterfalls are the primary draw, but beautiful forest, deep opal pools of water, and striking canyon views rank highly as well. Another asset is the flexibility of choosing where to start from and how far to hike. There are two main trailheads and a third with a two hour time limit to choose from, giving you the option of reducing the hike to a more manageable 5.2-mile loop that still passes most of the larger falls.
What Makes It Great
As you could guess from the name of this hike, there are no less than 10 waterfalls to enjoy on this loop. Silver Falls was designated a “Recreational Demonstration Area” in 1934 be Roosevelt, which contributed to its development and construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
For the 8.7 mile loop, start that the South Falls Lodge Trailhead in parking lot A on the Rim Trail. You will intersect with some bike trails side roads, but just continue on the Rim Trail. This trail will take you to the North Falls Viewpoint, which allows you to see into the canyon at the North Falls. Follow the signs for the Upper North Falls and head under the bridge. Upper North Falls cascades over a cliff that was formed by lava flows. Return back to the trail and take the second right, labeled the Canyon Trail. That will take you down to a gorgeous view of North Falls, which you will walk behind to continue down the trail. After a mile, you will get to Twin Falls, which earns it name by the rock that splits the water. The next trail junction is with the Winter Trail, which leads to Winter Falls. It is only a good view in the winter and spring.
Get back to the main trail from the Winter Trail and continue down the Canyon Trail. You will get to Middle North Falls shortly, which starts the highest concentration of waterfalls in the northwest. Just a tenth of a mile later, there is a trail that goes behind the falls, then one last view before you round the corner for Drake Falls, which is best viewed from a wooden viewing platform right next to the trail. On the footbridge over Hullt Creek, look down at Lower South Falls and up to the right at Double Falls. Continue straight past the Maple Ridge Trail and soon you will come to Lower Falls. Cross behind to waterfall and climb some switchbacks to the ever-popular South Falls. An alternate route to the Canyon Trail goes behind these falls. There is a short trail to Frenchie Falls, which barely runs in the winter. Soon the trail will lead you back to the trail junction that will take you back to your car.
For a delicious food and drink, try Seven Brides Brewing in Silverton, which serves lunch, dinner, and outstanding beer.
Who is Going to Love It
The hike is not strenuous, which makes is accessible to hikers of all experience levels. The length would be the only limiting factor, but, as mentioned before, you can make this a 5.2-mile hike or simply make it a there-and-back hike and only go as far as you would like to.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-5 S, take exit 282A toward Canby/ Hubbard and after you continue on OR-551 S, take a slight left on OR-99E S and turn left onto Young Street. Young Street turn slightly left and becomes OR-214 S/Silverton Ave. Make a slight left to stay on OR-214S and turn left on OR-214 S/N Water Street.