Friday, July 22, 2011

Silver Falls State Park Trail of 10 Falls

The "Trail of 10 Falls" at Silver Falls State Park in Silverton, OR is by far the best hike I have ever done. I absolutely loved every minute we spent hiking through this beautiful area! Oscar's younger brother, Phillip, drove up to see us and come on the hike with us too. After two days of pouring rain we finally had some nice weather, and since we were there on April 5th, the falls were at their peak flow and looking gorgeous! There are a few uphill climbs to get closer views of 3 of the falls, but otherwise the hike is easy and very pleasant.

It's a loop hike, which is always a huge plus for me. I love being able to see new things and never having to repeat any part of a hike that I've already done. This hike delights the whole way through with 10 stunning waterfalls and beautiful foliage. It even takes you behind some of the waterfalls!

We started the hike from North Falls and went counter clockwise, but by the time we reached the second falls I was wishing I'd chosen the other direction. We hiked the same direction that the river flows, which meant that we couldn't see the falls until we were right next to them. I had to keep looking backwards after we passed the falls if I wanted to check them out from different angles. Had we started walking in the opposite direction of the river, we could have seen the falls from a distance as we walked and only had the views get better as we came closer. If I do this hike again (and I'm sure I will!), I'll make sure to start from South Falls and walk clockwise.

North Falls and South Falls are generally considered the two best waterfalls, which is convenient for those who aren't up for a hike since both can be accessed by vehicle. Here's a lovely view of North Falls, which was considerably more beautiful than when we'd seen it before. We'd visited the park briefly on our way back from Sacramento in October of 2010. It's pretty clear from this pic that the waterfall has one large drop and one small drop. In October, we could barely tell that there even was a small drop. It dries up almost completely.

It's about 1.5 miles before you encounter the next major falls, but especially in spring, there are several small falls to watch for as you walk.

Oscar and Phillip couldn't get enough of this gecko.

And finally we arrived at our second major falls - Twin Falls. The flow was so intense that you don't immediately notice two distinct falls. It's a bit more obvious in the pics the parks posts on their website.

Oscar and Phillip talked about how their dad would love to see a small falls like the one above and figure out how to recreate it in landscaping.

After another half mile we arrived at Middle North Falls. Gorgeous!!!

We could see that there was a pathway to walk behind the falls, but it was blocked off. I'm not surprised since it didn't look very safe. The waterfall was absolutely roaring! I could feel the ground shaking just from standing off to the side. Even if the trail had been open, I wouldn't have dared walk behind it unless I really wanted to be crushed from erosion.

About a quarter mile later we saw Drake Falls,

and the beauty kept coming as we continued along and found Double Falls. Lovely!

Lower North Falls was a bit further ahead and was filled with huge tree trunks. I wonder how long they'd been there.

We saw this pretty cascade as we kept hiking toward Lower South Falls. It was the most impressive of the unnamed waterfalls we saw.

Lower South Falls had a pathway that led us behind the falls. I made Oscar kiss me there so I could say I'd kissed someone behind a waterfall.

The beauty of these falls never ceased to amaze me!

And finally we made it to South Falls - the highlight of the park and the only falls we'd visited before on our trip in late October. Click here and compare the pics between South Falls in Spring and South Falls in Autumn.

The trail also leads behind the falls. It's beautiful to observe it from so many different angles.

It's just shimmering in this side pic!

On our way back to our starting point at North Falls, we hiked down a steep hill to see Winter Falls. It's pretty, but it paled in comparison to all of the falls we'd already seen.

Upper North Falls was the final waterfall we saw before we headed out. It's actually the only falls that's not part of the main loop trail, but it's well worth the extra .6 miles to see.

This was such a beautiful hike! In spite of the 9 miles I'd walked, I didn't want it to end. I'm so glad we took this trip out to Silverton, and I would love to go back again. If you're ever near Portland in the Spring or Summer, don't miss out on seeing these falls!

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