Home  •   Field Guide  •   Forums  •    Unread Posts  •   Maps  •   Find a Hike!
| Page | Discussion | View source | History | Print Friendly and PDF

Maple Ridge Loop Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

TKO put tools to trail here.png
South Falls (Steve Hart)
Lower South Falls (Steve Hart)
The South Fork Silver Creek in winter (bobcat)
The short loop using the Maple Ridge Trail (bobcat) Courtesy: MapBuilder Topo


Hike Description

The loop hike using the Maple Ridge Trail is one of the shorter loops in Silver Falls State Park, offering the chance to view and even walk behind South Falls and Lower South Falls. Silver Falls State Park is well-known for its display of yellowing maples in the fall, so this is the perfect outing to enjoy those colors. The loop can be hiked in either direction: The description below begins with a descent of Maple Ridge and then a hike up the canyon of the South Fork Silver Creek to enjoy the two waterfalls on the loop.

Walk past the restrooms to pass in front of the South Falls Lodge, a 1940s era building in the northwest forest style. There's a small cafeteria here as well as a visitor center with a few exhibits and a courtyard with a theater. Then the path passes the nature store on the left and a historic CCC era kitchen house on the right. A new boardwalk bends through a thicket, and soon you will reach a trail junction. Turn right on the Maple Ridge Trail and start north. The trail turns to dirt and, in half a mile, begins to drop down into the Silver Creek Canyon. You'll be hiking under a forest canopy of tall Douglas-firs, hemlocks, and moss-draped maples. A few switchbacks take you down the nose of the ridge, and you can catch glimpses of the North Fork Silver Creek rushing below. About a mile from the Silver Falls Lodge, you'll come to another trail junction on the crest of the ridge between the North and South Forks of Silver Creek. There's a small bench to rest on here.

Go left on the Canyon Trail, and switchback down to the South Fork of Silver Creek. Then proceed up the South Fork Canyon. Soon, you'll come to Lower South Falls. The creek plunges off of a lava lip in a wide sheet here. Like most waterfalls, Lower South Falls is more dramatic in the winter and spring when water flows are highest. The trail loops behind the waterfall itself in a large cave-like grotto. After crossing behind the waterfall, the trail climbs several switchbacks of stairs (187 steps in all, both stone and anti-slip steel steps) and continues upstream.

After a long half-mile in mossy woods of Douglas-fir, hemlock, cedar, and big-leaf maple with an understory of salmonberry, Oregon grape, sword fern, and salal, the trail arrives at a splendid view of the most popular waterfall in the park, South Falls. South Falls is the second highest waterfall in the park at 177 feet, and it has the highest single drop. Though the Canyon Trail crosses a bridge here and heads up the canyon wall, keep right on an alternate route that crosses behind the waterfall in yet another natural grotto. There's even a bench inside the grotto. South Falls rates as one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon, along with Multnomah Falls and Punch Bowl Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. After passing the falls, the trail climbs the side of the canyon, providing several beautiful looks back at South Falls. There's a short spur trail left to Frenchie Falls, which is a tiny drop that stops completely in the summer. Soon you'll come to the South Falls Viewpoint to get an oblique view of the waterfall. Head in from here to pass the South Falls Lodge and restrooms to reach your car.


Regulations or restrictions, etc

  • $5.00 day-use fee or State Park Pass
  • No dogs on the canyon portion of the Trail of Ten Falls (Dogs permitted on Rim Trail)
  • Campground, picnic areas, restrooms, cafeteria, nature store, interpretive signs

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon by Adam Sawyer
  • Best Hikes With Kids: Oregon by Bonnie Henderson & Zach Urness
  • Best Hikes with Children: Western & Central Oregon by Bonnie Henderson
  • Afoot & Afield: Portland/Vancouver by Douglas Lorain
  • 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades by William L Sullivan
  • Best Trail Runs: Portland, Oregon by Adam W. Chase, Nancy Hobbs, and Yassine Dibboun
  • Oregon State Parks: A Complete Recreation Guide by Jan Bannan
  • Oregon Campgrounds Hiking Guide by Rhonda & George Ostertag
  • Silver Falls Park in Oregon by Mark & Diane Pearson (Kindle)
  • Waterfall Lover's Guide: Pacific Northwest by Gregory A. Plumb
  • Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest by David L. Anderson

More Links


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.