Adventures in Oregon: Silver Falls State Park
Ever since we moved to Oregon, it seems that as soon as someone finds out we like to hike, they tell us that we have to go to Silver Falls State Park. What’s so special about Silver Falls, you ask? Well, for starters it has ten waterfalls, and if that’s not enough, you can actually walk behind – that’s right, behind (!) – four of them. So, why has it taken us so long to check it out? This little statement, “Pets are prohibited on the Canyon, Maple Ridge and Winter Trails.” The dogs know when we are going hiking and it’s tough to break their little canine hearts… especially because they know how to be vindictive little suckers when they feel we have utterly wronged them. However, we finally built up the mental toughness to say no to their pleading eyes and set out without them – gah, we’re the worst pet parents, aren’t we?
After a picnic lunch at the park, we consulted a map for all of five seconds and decided to do the Trail of Ten Falls (a combo of Canyon Trail, Winter Trail and part of Rim Trail) in a somewhat reverse order, owing to the hoards of people who were setting off in the other direction. We didn’t really pay attention to the mileage and ended up hiking 8.7 miles but it didn’t feel that long (until the next day :)).
We said hello to some meandering deer and set off down Rim Trail and then turned onto Winter Trail.
After descending a ways, we reached our first waterfall: Winter Falls, so named because it is sustained by winter runoff.
We finished out Winter Trail and turned onto Canyon Trail. We soon came upon the next waterfall, Twin Falls.
We continued along the trail until we came to North Falls and I was left speechless.
The waterfall itself is spectacular as it plunges 136 feet but what is truly incredible is the carved out rock behind it. As you walk behind the water, it feels as if you’re in a cathedral. Despite the loud volume of the water thundering down, it seems more appropriate to whisper.
Somehow, Andrew managed to pull me away and we kept going.
Up, up, up the steps and then under the highway to reach Upper North Falls.
This waterfall cascades into a peaceful pool, providing a serene stopping place. After admiring God’s handiwork, we headed back down the trail and unfortunately were stuck behind a group of oblivious kids who were blasting pop country music. We managed to distance ourselves from them and before we knew it, we were at Middle North Falls and I was again astounded by seeing the backside of a waterfall.
I’m sorry I don’t have any better words than it was just so cool. Some fancy description there, Heather.
Back on the trail, we saw three waterfalls practically one after the other: Drake Falls, Double Falls and Lower North Falls.
A mile later, Lower South Falls greeted us and I ecstatically made my way behind the sheet of water cascading down – again, so cool!
We wound our way up a zig zag of steps (185 to be exact) and another mile later, came the grand finale, South Falls. I took far too many photos – but then, would you really expect anything else?
After oohing and ahhing over South Falls, we made our way back to the car and realized just how far we had ended up hiking. We also discussed how we were going to explain to the dogs why there might be the faint scent of canine on our clothes. You see, we passed no less than 10 dogs (and probably more than that) during our hike – apparently, plenty of folks think the rules don’t apply to them (and no, they weren’t service or therapy dogs). We opted to cover the scent by stopping at Burgerville for dinner in hopes that the smell of french fries and bean burgers would be far more interesting than labrador and border collie. They weren’t fooled.
Now that we’ve seen the beauty of Silver Falls State Park, we can return to our regularly scheduled dog-friendly hikes… and I won’t have to say no again to any pleading hound eyes.