Thursday, July 10, 2014

Back on the Oregon Coast Via Silver Falls State Park


The lure of the Pacific coast won out, but since we didn’t want to drive 200 miles in one day from Bend to get there, we made a slight detour at Silver Falls State Park, 25 miles east of Salem. Several people recommended that we stop there, but when I checked the campground reservations it was always fully booked. I decided to take another look last weekend and found a site open for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. $26/night for water and electric, along with the $8 reservation fee, which brought it to $30/night.


We had no idea that we would be pulling into the best site in the entire campground, A 72. It was surrounded by forest and backed onto Silver Creek.


The weather was perfect for sitting out and the cats loved their walks on the trails by the creek. Some days you just get lucky. The only downside, we had no phone or internet connection. But without the time-sucking internet I actually finished a book I started weeks ago and began reading another one.


After getting set up we hopped on the bikes to check out the rest of the campground and the four miles of very hilly paved bike trails through the park. Then yesterday it was the 8+ mile Trail of Ten Falls , a National Recreation Trail which takes you to ten waterfalls, four of which you can actually walk behind. Since this is the temperate rain forest everything was green, lush, and dripping water. Simply lovely!




The map of our hike. We went clockwise starting at the South Falls Day Use area.


And now for the falls, beginning with impressive 177’ South Falls.








30’ Lower North Falls.


178’ Double Falls.


The perfect place for lunch.


We didn’t get a picture of Drake Falls since the trees all but blocked it from view. Next up was 106’ Middle North Falls.




Then barely visible 31’ Twin Falls.


136’ North Falls.


It was here that Jim realized his sunglasses were missing. Does this story sound familiar?



The trail continued to Upper North Falls, but I suggested we backtrack a mile or so then cut across at Winter Falls. We asked everyone we passed if they found a pair of sunglasses and finally spoke with a friendly couple who saw them on the trail behind Middle North Falls. They saw a man pick them up, so we were hopeful he might turn them in.

Winter Falls, which gets its water from snow melt, so is just a trickle in the summer.


Because of the lost glasses we logged 8.2 miles of the 8.7 mile hike and only saw nine of the ten falls. It was still a very nice, though costly hike, since Jim just got the glasses at REI in Bend a few weeks ago.

We stopped at the park office, campground registration, and host site to inquire if anyone turned in a pair of sunglasses, but no luck. Jim said it’s only fair since the Maui Jims I’m wearing were found on a trail at Anza Borrego, although we did look for the owner. Give and take!

And we are now on the cool, breezy coast in Lincoln City, but more about that later…..


  1. How are the roads into that park? Paved? Smooth? It's a beautiful place and you did have a terrific site.

    1. Hwy 214, the good paved road that goes through the park, is fine. Lots of short ups and downs and slow curves but I drove in and had no problem. We saw quite a few big RVs there.

  2. We loved Silver Falls, although I think we only saw five, I think. We also went to the Oregon State Gardens near there.

  3. My paternal grandfather worked on trails in the park during the Depression. We would love to camp there--thank you for this post. Sorry to hear about the sunglasses! You're probably in Lincoln City now--my hometown! You'll have beautiful weather--enjoy! And if the candy store is still there by the A&W Root Beer on the west side of 101, be sure to stop & buy salt water taffy. They make it right there & it's the best! I worked there the summer after my senior year in high school & gained 15 pounds!!

    1. We're at the Chinook Winds Casino in the fog. Will look for the candy store. Nothing better than fresh taffy!

  4. Impressive falls! Why doesn't everyone live in Oregon?

  5. Love that hike! Lots of dripping green gorgeousness!

    There was a really funky place in Lincoln City a few years ago...Aunt Mary's Toaster Bistro, it's an antique sex toy/porn shop/vegan bistro...I know, crazy right!? Quite the experience...but it may be closed now...

    1. Darn, I looked it up and it's closed. Too bad, sounded like a neat little place!

  6. The trail looks amazing and wonderfully maintained - I love being behind a waterfall :-). You definitely scored on the campsite. Bummer about the sunglasses, I only lose the ones I spend a lot of money for! Bummer Aunt Mary's is closed, definitely sounded like an eclectic "mix" :-)))))

  7. When I went there, it was booked solid except for one dry camp tent site for $20. I had planned to do the falls hike; but, it rained the entire time there. I had to leave as even my site had a reservation coming in. Phooey!

  8. my armpits are getting moldy just looking at your photos…
    How do you dry out your under ware in such places? :))
    Box Canyon Mark

  9. I guess it is now time for Jim to get a tie thingy to put on his glasses so they stay around his neck:)

    We stayed in Salem for several weeks two years ago but we hadn't started hiking yet. That waterfall hike looks wonderful!! I've always wanted to return to Salem and now I have an extra reason! The site at the park is huge! And what a gorgeous backyard. I think at times it is good to get away from the computer. It's good you got some reading done.

  10. This place is already on my list thanks to Linda's Lens, good to see others agree it's a gem.

  11. Wow! Those are really impressive water falls. If we get back to the Oregon coast, we will definitely have to take that hike.

  12. Purty, purty, purty! Bike rides, rivers and waterfalls!

  13. That is one area I would like to see. Great fall pics.