Location: About 25 miles East of Salem on OR 214
Trails: 20 miles plus (some multi-use)
Terrain: Dirt and gravel paths
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Highlights: Forest, Camping, Waterfalls
Silver Falls State Park is a great hike that is both family-friendly and challenging for serious hikers. The park has over 20 miles of trails, including those for hiking, biking, pets, and horsebackriding. There is also a large campground for overnight use. A detailed map is available, courtesy of Oregon State Parks. We went to Silver Falls in the fall, on a fairly cold day. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful hike that took a couple of hours. We stuck to the most popular trail, “Trail of Ten Falls”, a 9 mile loop that passes, you guessed it, ten waterfalls throughout the trip. The majority of the waterfalls are in the first half of the hike, with much of the return leading you through the woods.
The trails here are fairly well maintained and often paved, and with fences at the more treacherous parts. We enjoyed the full loop but it can also be nice to just walk to the first couple of falls before heading back – the biggest one is closest to the parking lot, and the path allows you to walk behind the falls.
Because you are somewhat down in the canyon, it can get pretty shadowy and chilly in the Winter. During the Summer however, it is amazing and will likely be very crowded. There are picnic-ing areas near the parking lot for day use, and safe areas for wading in the river.
While you’re in the area, be sure to check The Oregon Garden for more beautiful scenery!