Guide: The Trail of Ten Falls – Silver Falls State Park 

10 waterfall hike oregon

About Trails of Ten Falls

The Trail of Ten Falls hike is one of the best waterfall trails in the state of Oregon. It’s highly recommended for good reason. In a single loop trail, you can see some of the best waterfalls that the pacific northwest has to offer. It’s also a relativity easy trail that can be easily divided into smaller routes if you are not looking to do the whole 7.8 miles. This guide will cover 5 alternative routes you can take through Silver Falls State Park.

The entire Trail of Ten Falls loop takes you above, behind, and around 10 stunning waterfalls. The moderate hike includes 800 feet of elevation gain on paved and unpaved trails.

Silver Falls State Park Information & Amenities

10 waterfall hike oregon
South Falls Nature Store

The Trail of 10 falls is the most noted and famous part of the state park. Beyond the hikes, the South Falls Day-use Area has a nature store, spacious lawns, picnic shelters, tables, a playground, as well as an off-leash area for dogs. That said, many parts of the Ten Falls trail are not dog-friendly. Pets are prohibited on all waterfall trails, except for the Rim trail, bike path and Upper North Falls trail.

Eat and Drink

It’s also worth noting that the city of Silverton is a wonderful small town and well worth exploring in its own right. If you want a bite to eat or something to do after hiking you should check it out. You can also grab coffee and snacks at the Silver Falls Park Cafe if you are in a hurry.

10 waterfall hike oregon
Silver Falls Cafe

Where is Silver Falls State Park?

Silver Falls State Park is near Silverton, Oregon about 20 miles (26 minutes driving time) east of Salem. The natural beauty of the waterfalls and its proximity to both Salem and Portland, Oregon have made it a very popular hiking location. That said, it is still possible to get here before the crowds if you go in the morning or out of peak season.

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Parking at Silver Falls State Park

Most of the available parking in Silver Falls State Park is found near the South Falls Day-use area. However, there is also limited parking by North Falls on the opposite side of the trail of ten falls.

10 waterfall hike oregon
South Falls Day Use Area

Parking at Silver Falls is $5 per vehicle for Day-use parking. Pay stations are at many trailheads and all booths. They ask for exact change if you pay by cash but Visa and MasterCard are accepted at the pay station by the entrance to South Falls Day-Use Area. You don’t have to pay for parking if you have a current campground receipt.

Trail of Ten Falls Map

10 waterfall hike oregon
Trail of Ten Falls Map

Trail Traffic: It’s a popular hike so it’s likely a good idea to go as early as you can to avoid crowds.

The 10 Waterfalls at the Trail of Ten Falls:

These falls are in the order you would see them if you do the full loop and start at the South Falls Trailhead.

1. South Falls

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South Falls
Total Height177 feet
Coordinates44.87878, -122.65886

South Falls is perhaps the most photographed and well-known waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. It’s the biggest (177 ft) and closest to the parking in the South Falls day-use area. You can also view it from above, behind, and from the base.

2. Lower South Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Lower South Falls
Total Height93 feet
Coordinates 44.88528, -122.66092

Lower South Falls is the little brother of South Falls. They share a rectangular shape and you can walk behind it the same way you can with South Falls however Lower South Falls drops 93 feet versus South Falls 177 feet.

3. Lower North Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Lower North Falls
Total Height30 feet
Coordinates44.89139, -122.64639

Lower North Falls is another picturesque plunge waterfall but is one of the more modest in size. It’s 30 feet in height and about 100 cubic feet of water flows over Lower North Falls each second. You can also climb down to the pool at it’s base if you want a swim or closer look.

4. Double Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Double Falls
Total Height184 feet
Coordinates44.89197, -122.64499

Double Falls has a height of 184 feet! That makes Double Falls the tallest of the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park. This one drops in two separate steps. The first being ~10 feet then another drop of 174 feet. The falls are located along Hullt Creek which is a small distance upstream from where it converges with North Silver Creek.

Read more  Trail of 10 Falls | Silver Falls State Park Ultimate 2023 Guide

The flow volume is reduced here (3 cubic feet per sec). So, during the hotter summer months it’s lessened.

5. Drake Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Drake Falls
Total Height27 feet
Coordinates44.89, -122.64611

Drake Falls is located on the South Silver Creek on the north section of Silver Falls State Park Trail of Ten Falls. It’s just 2 miles north of Lower South Falls and is the smallest along along the Trail of Ten Falls.

The 27-foot-tall cascade thunders over a wide, gently sloping basalt ledge in the middle of a somewhat deep, constricting passageway in the North Silver Creek canyon. Views of the falls are only available from a small deck placed alongside the route as it passes the falls due to the geology’s limitations.

6. Middle North Falls

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Middle North Falls
Total Height106 feet
Coordinates44.88861, -122.64306

One of the four waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park with a walkway that goes behind the flowing water is Middle North Falls. The trail behind Middle North Falls, in contrast to the other three, is a dead-end that was only built to provide access to additional falls vistas. Additionally, the water here is so close that you could almost reach out and touch the falls.

7. Twin Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Twin Falls
Total Height31 feet
Coordinates44.88518, -122.63702

The twin falls are one of the smaller and lesser-visited falls in Silver Falls State Park. They are somewhat tucked away and isolated. Additionally, they can’t be clearly seen from the trail the falls and only 31 feet so they are often overlooked.

8. North Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
North Falls
Total Height136 feet
Coordinates44.88489, -122.62267

North Falls is the third-tallest waterfall in Silver Falls State Park. Additionally, it is the only waterfall in the park that you can view without getting out of your car. North falls also has a huge section of rock cutout so you can walk behind it. This makes it one of the four falls in the park which have such an amphitheater. The other falls include south falls, Lower South and Middle North Falls.

The undercut chamber’s enormous size allows the roar of the falls to be greatly magnified, making the falls sound much more powerful than they may actually be.

9. Upper North Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Upper North Falls
Total Height65 feet
Coordinates44.88313, -122.61415

Upper North Falls plunges 65 feet in a broad curtain-style plunging fall. With a sizable pool below and several logs dangling from their root balls hanging over the cliff next to (or in) the falls itself.

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Upper North Falls, like all the waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park, was built as the creek eroded away some of the basalt bedrock and made a wide shelf. The creek can spread out to an average width of 30 feet due to the uniformity of the streambed above the falls, but at greater flows it can easily expand to an area that is almost as broad as the falls themselves.

10. Winter Falls

10 waterfall hike oregon
Winter Falls (Summer)
Total Height134 feet
Coordinates 44.88444, -122.64083

Winter Falls, the fourth-tallest waterfall in Silver Falls State Park, is stunning but flow rates vary by season. The falls plunge 134 feet straight down before hitting a basalt outcrop that has a steeply inclined protrusion. This causes the stream to obstruct the remaining distance to the canyon floor. Winter Creek flow volume in best in winter and falls and lowest in the hot summer months.

Popular Routes for Silver Falls State Park

  1. The Full Loop
  2. The Maple Ridge Loop
  3. North Falls & Upper North Falls Route
  4. Winter Falls Route
  5. Rim Trail

1. Ten Falls Trail: The Full Loop

10 waterfall hike oregon
10 waterfall hike oregon
Trail of 10 Falls: The Full Loop

2. Ten Falls Trail: The Maple Ridge Loop

10 waterfall hike oregon

3. Ten Falls Trail: North Falls & Upper North Falls Trail

10 waterfall hike oregon

4. Ten Falls Trail: Winter Falls Loop

10 waterfall hike oregon

Pass seven waterfalls via the Canyon and Winter trails, including two-tiered Double Falls and the spectacular Middle North Falls that features a separate trail behind it. After passing Winter Falls, the Rim Trail leads back to the Stone Circle.

5. Ten Falls Trail: Rim Trail

10 waterfall hike oregon

This is the only section of the Trail of Ten Falls that allows dogs on leashes. It parallels the road and includes views of North Falls. You can also continue to Upper North Falls, which is the only waterfall you can hike to with pets.

10 waterfall hike oregon

When is the best time to go?

The Ten Falls trail hike is open year-round as is Silver Falls State Park. However, there are different benefits to hiking the trail at various points in the year.

Winter [December-February]The icicles that form around the falls can create some beautiful winter scenery.The ice structures are very pretty but can require more caution while hiking.
Rainy season [October-April]The waterfalls are the most full and impressive when there’s more precipitation.This is the rainiest part of the year in Oregon. So, be prepared to get a little wet and/or muddy.
Summer [May-August]In May and June, you can get great weather, small crowds, and falls are still at full volume.If you go too late in the summer the falls are less full and the crowds tend to get bigger.

No matter what season you choose to see the falls, it’s recommended, that you bring boots instead of running shoes.

The ground can be quite muddy due to the spray from the falls even when it hasn’t rained. For that reason, you could also think about hiking poles but they aren’t strictly necessary. The trail also has benches segmented across the trail of ten falls if you need to stop and rest.

If you want other Hikes near Salem, Oregon, or in the Willamette Valley check these out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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About the Author: Tung Chi