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Silver Falls Upper Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

North Falls from above (Steve Hart)
North Falls from the North Falls Viewpoint (Steve Hart)
Winter Falls (Steve Hart)

Contents

Hike Description

Like all loops this hike can be done in either direction. I've chosen the upper path first.

The first 50 feet of the Canyon Trail is a bridge over the North Fork of Silver Creek. A side trail to Upper North Falls departs to the right and circles under the trail bridge and the highway bridge. There's a pretty little spot of creek access, but don't let anything float away; you're just above North Falls! A few steps farther is a fork in the trail where the Canyon Trail continues down to the right and the Rim Trail goes up to the left. For this tale, take the left fork.

The Rim Trail isn't all that exciting in itself, but it forms a key link in many of the loop hikes in the park. The trail veers left and right, never moving too far from the highway. It's a brief walk to the North Falls Viewpoint. From here, you can look deep into the canyon at North Falls. (The view may be better if you make a quick scramble up to the highway turnout.) Continuing on the Rim Trail, there's not a whole lot to note other than a 30 inch tall anthill next to the trail. In less than a mile, you'll reach the Winter Falls Trailhead.

Turn left on the Winter Trail and start down the steep hill. One switchback, a quarter mile and 200 feet lower, you'll come to the base of Winter Falls. Winter Falls gets its name from the fact that it only runs in the winter. In reality, it runs most of the year, although it does slow to a trickle in the late summer. Continue beyond Winter Falls another 3/10 of a mile and you'll come to a modern steel bridge over the North Fork of Silver Creek. Just across the bridge you'll come to a junction with the Canyon Trail. Middle North Falls, Drake Falls, Lower North Falls and Double Falls are all accessible by hiking less than a half mile to the left.

For this hike, turn right and head up the North Fork of Silver Creek. In 3/10 of a mile, you'll come to Twin Falls, a nice, if smaller waterfall that gets its name from a large block of rock in the center of the stream that splits the flow into two forks.

Farther up the trail is North Falls. North Falls is one of the very large falls in the park at 136 feet. Just as amazing is the huge grotto behind the waterfall. Millennia ago, lava flows buried softer soils here and even the trees that grew here. In more recent times, the waterfall has eroded away the softer material, while the hard basalt remained intact, creating the cave like area behind the falls. There are vertical holes extending up from the grotto where the lava cooled around the trees as they burned.

The trail circles behind North Falls and starts up a long series of stairs. At the top of the stairs is the junction with the Rim Trail that you passed earlier. If you're up for a simple stroll check out the Upper North Falls Hike or just walk back to your car.

Maps

Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • State Park Pass required. $5.00 daily at the parking lot dropbox.

Trip Reports

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Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Portland by Paul Gerald
  • Afoot and Afield Portland/Vancouver, by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades by William L Sullivan
  • Silver Falls Park in Oregon by Mark & Diane Pearson (Kindle)

More Links

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.