Sunday, January 22, 2023

Silver Falls SP in Winter

It was another rainy Saturday in January.  Despite the icky weather I was dying to get outside and hike somewhere.  My hubby looked at the hour-by-hour forecast and noticed the rain was supposed to slack off by afternoon, especially to the south of us.  Hmmm......what trails were to the south?  Why, Silver Falls State Park!

I wasn't going to post about this wonderful state park again so soon.  But after Hubby and I made a trip to Silver Falls a couple of weeks ago, I decided what the heck.  So you lucky readers get another set of waterfall photos from this stunning place!

Tall, elegant South Falls

After driving an hour and a half through absolutely pouring rain (what were we thinking?) the faucet miraculously shut off about 5 minutes from the park.  The weather app had been right - thank goodness!


Lots of mossy trees

Of course I've posted many, many times about this unique waterfall-rich Oregon state park.  It boasts the "Trail of Ten Falls," a path that leads visitors through a deep canyon full of gushing cascades.  Hubby wanted to hike the entire trail.  Not sure how my recently-healed foot would handle 7-plus miles, I told him I'd hike part way and see how things went.

This moss-covered branch looks like a gnarly hand

I've visited Silver Falls SP countless times over the 30-plus years I've lived in Oregon.  Because of so many visits, I often get in a photographic rut, taking the same images of the same waterfalls at the same angles every time.  So my challenge today was to try for a few unique perspectives of each waterfall.

Lower South Falls (can you spot my hubby?)

We began our journey at South Falls, the tallest waterfall in the park and the one closest to the visitor center.  After walking behind this behemoth cascade, Hubby and I headed down the trail to the next waterfall, Lower South Falls.  Since Hubby is a much faster walker, I let him get ahead so I could capture an image of him approaching the path behind Lower South. 

Photo op at Lower South Falls

The great majority of park visitors make the trip to Lower South Falls and turn around.  So we had much less people traffic as we continued down the trail to the next batch of cascades.

Approach to Middle North Falls

Past Lower North Falls, with it's tiny drop, we made the short detour to Double Falls.  But trees and canyon walls obstructed the view so we hiked back out and continued on.  Not far from Drake Falls, another tiny cascade, I glimpsed Middle North Falls spilling over it's basalt cliff up ahead.

Much more water here than in November!

Middle North is hands-down my favorite waterfall in the park.  It's wide flow makes fan-shaped rivulets as it plunges to the creek below.  And it's another cascade that hikers can walk behind.

Since there's a trailhead fairly close by, the number of people increased here.  It was hard to get a photo without someone in it.  But people in photos gives some scale to these tall waterfalls.  From all the winter rains, there was much more flow going over this falls than when I'd visited in early November.

Tunnel of moss

We decided to skip the side trail to Winter Falls, which I sometimes take when desiring a shorter loop.  By now, my foot still feeling good, I gave Hubby the go-ahead to continue to North Falls.  This portion of the trail is super-scenic, and is my favorite part.  I'd hiked here last spring, but winter was just as (if not more) stunning.  Thick moss covered all the trees and it positively glowed green.

Photograph of the photographer

After about a mile and one more tiny cascade, Twin Falls, we came upon a glimpse of North Falls up ahead, roaring down the canyon walls.  As Hubby positioned himself for a photo op, I took a photo of the photographer.

The huge cavern behind North Falls

North Falls has an incredibly large cavern behind it.  It gets my vote as the most fun waterfall to walk behind in the park.

Hiking out of the canyon to the Rim Trail

After paying our respects to North Falls, there was one more waterfall we could reach, Upper North Falls.  But it was a half mile out of the way, and by then we were ready to head back.  So Hubby and I climbed the steep trail out of Silver Creek's canyon to connect with the Rim Trail, which would take us back to the lodge and parking area.

Giant trees along the Rim Trail

After trekking through a canyon full of beautiful waterfalls, the return Rim Trail was kind of boring.  It wound through thick forests full of huge fir and cedar trees.  My eagle-eyed hubby even spotted a woodpecker!  About a half mile from the parking lot we started to feel sprinkles, and by the time we reached our car, the rain had returned.  Our timing couldn't have been better!

So glad I was able to carve out some time between rain showers for a hike through this gorgeous state park.  It does my body, not to mention my mental health, good to get outside, even on dreary winter days.


  1. I remember that place from your past posts! Beautiful!

  2. ...Silver Falls is an appropriate name!

  3. Smart idea to visit waterfall country after so much rain. The moss-covered trees make an added attraction.

  4. Beautiful waterfalls and lovely photos. Take care, have a wonderful week!

  5. You can never go wrong with a trip to Silver Falls! Great shots as always!

  6. Totally magical. I would never tire of this walk. So wonderful the weather Gods were on your side.

  7. What an awesome place! Good to hear that your foot behaved!


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