Thursday, December 22, 2022

Silver Falls Autumn Splendor

As per usual, I've been remiss in keeping this blog even remotely current.  So here's another catch-up post from early November, when the autumn leaf transition was in full swing.  

I came to the realization that although I photograph Silver Falls State Park every fall, by this time of the year I'm usually so far behind that my images never make it to an actual blog post.  This year I resolved to remedy that!  So without further ado.....for your viewing pleasure I present to you a recap of this year's visit:

Vine maple show

Due to the unseasonably warm and dry weather well into October, this year's autumn leaf change was behind schedule.  Normally the trees in Silver Falls State Park reach peak color by mid-October, so I time my visit accordingly.  This year, after being busy in Central Oregon most of October's latter half, I finally got to my favorite state park in early November.  Thinking I'd missed the fall colors, I was delighted to discover the leaf show still going strong.

More colorful leaves

Parking in the huge lot near South Falls viewpoint and the Silver Falls Lodge, one of the first things one notices is the nearby patch of brilliant vine maple bushes.  The colors never disappoint - fiery reds, flaming oranges, and dazzling yellows.  

Yellow explosion

I especially liked the bright yellow leaves.  There were two trees lining the parking lot that got my camera's immediate attention.  Both these trees were so stunning I couldn't decide which image to include in this post - so you get both! (You're welcome)

More yellow color

I could've stayed in the parking lot all day just capturing these colorful vine maple leaves.  But there were waterfalls to photograph, so I tore myself away.

South Falls

I was happy to see the trees still had some leaf color at the South Falls overlook.  Especially the huge orange-leaved tree to the right of the falls.  There's been many years I've arrived to find this particular tree already bare.

Interesting mossy tree

It was a funny fall season here this year.  When I visited, some trees were at their autumnal peak, others were already void of leaves, and a few trees were still sporting green foliage.  Usually the deciduous trees are more in synch with each other.

A different view of South Falls

I hiked the steep trail down into the canyon itself for a different view of South Falls.  Instead of it's very top I now had a good view of the bottom splash pool.  I've always liked this vantage, with tree trunks framing the waterfall's white veil.

Silver Creek

The park here offers several hiking loops to visit all, or some, of the ten waterfalls that this canyon is best known for.  Down the trail beyond South Falls autumn colors were muted, more brown than orange.  However, the mossy tree branches made fun photo subjects.  I followed a path along Silver Creek to the next lovely cascade. 

Lower South Falls

Lower South Falls!  A steep staircase took me to the waterfall's lower drop and a wet, slippery path led behind it's watery curtain.  My favorite angle to photograph this cascade is on the opposite side looking upwards.

Beautiful creekside colors

After Lower South Falls, it was about a mile hike following Silver Creek to the next little waterfall.  The colorful woods lining the creek gave me plenty to photograph along the way.

Lower North Falls

Lower North Falls, although only a tiny drop in elevation in comparison to it's taller sisters, this small but mighty cascade was still in a beautiful setting.  (And, yes I realize whoever named the park's waterfalls was not a very creative person!)

Leaves stuck to tree trunk

From Lower North, I followed the path through more colorful leaf and moss covered forest until I glimpsed my favorite cascade ahead - Middle North Falls.

Middle North Falls - first view

Middle North was another waterfall visitors could walk behind - and traipse behind it I did!

Middle North Falls - side view

I loved how the cascade's flow fanned out along the top of the basalt cliff it dropped over.  Falling water also made beautiful  patterns on the rocks directly below.  And the downriver forest was a green, mossy wonderland.

Walking behind Middle North Falls

After spending many happy minutes photographing my favorite waterfall at Silver Falls State Park, I packed up my tripod.  Although I would've loved to hike the entire ten falls loop, it was a bit farther than my healing foot could handle.  So I took a turn by Winter Falls and climbed back up to the canyon's very top.

Middle North Falls - the classic view

From there a 1.5-mile trail took me back towards the parking area.  I passed through more lovely fir woods, with some seriously huge trees.  I didn't have anything for scale in the photo below, so you'll just have to trust me!

Large trees on the return trail

Silver Fall State Park is beautiful in any season, but autumn is by far my very favorite.  Falling water, tons of colorful leaves, and gorgeous mossy forests, what's not to like?  I hope you've enjoyed my belated fall tour of this special place.

Oh - and Merry Christmas to all!


  1. Late or not awesome photos. Have a great Christmas.

  2. Wow, how gorgeous! Our trees in Virginia don’t all change at the same time. I suspect that different species respond to different changes in the season; i.e. some may be more sensitive to temperatures or length of daylight.

  3. I'm glad you treated us to this beautiful autumn colour.

  4. So glad the clour waited for your return. What a magnificent hike this must have been!

  5. You cannot go wrong by visiting this state park! Lovely images Linda. Merry Christmas to you and Roger!

  6. Magical images. Merry Christmas!


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