Silver Falls is Oregon’s largest state park and one of its oldest. So how come you’ve never heard of this amazing collection of waterfalls in the Cascade foothills east of Salem? Elementary, my dear Watson: Just north of here is the Columbia Gorge, with its spectacular and famed waterfalls. That’s where the tourists go (including me). Silver Falls primarily attracts locals, including conferences, church groups, scout groups, etc. That means weekends with nice weather tend to be crowded. Summer days can be crowded. But on non-summer weekdays the park can be almost empty for you to enjoy.
And if you like waterfalls, you will enjoy it. Here, you’ll find 10 waterfalls in a rocky canyon. They aren’t wussy little trickles; South Falls (pictured above) is 177 feet high. The trail connecting the falls is an outstanding day hike with only a moderate elevation gain. At South Falls and North Falls, you can actually walk behind the waterfalls. Here’s a link to a very nice You Tube video on the Trail of Ten Falls — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4HM7JDUrAA
Silver Falls State Park is an ideal all-day excursion, but you should allow at least one hour to drive through the park and stop at the main viewpoints. I highly recommend you walk behind at least one of the falls. In the park you’ll find a lodge, as well as a campground. The lodge is at www.silverfallslodge.com To get to Silver Falls State Park, take SR 214 east from Salem or south from the attractive small town of Silverton. The day use fee is just $5. You’ll find all services in Oregon’s state capital of Salem.
Put this gem of a park on your Pacific Northwest bucket list. You’ll thank me if you do.