I remember coming to this state park a couple of decades ago in the summer, when the falls were a disappointing trickle. Now was definitely the time to check them out again. The place is remote, 23 miles into the southern Coast Range from Coos Bay, but the road is in good shape (From 2014 to 2016, you had to park at a pullout and walk the last 1 ½ miles in to the park because of a landslide; state parks couldn’t afford the repairs, but a local dairy farmer charitably bailed them out). There are three trails here: one to Silver Falls, one to Golden Falls, and the middle one that visits both. Silver Falls (259 feet) and Golden Falls (254 feet) are the second and third tallest waterfalls in the Oregon Coast Range after Munson Creek Falls in Tillamook County.
Hiking up to Silver Falls, you’re on one of the more interesting trails in an Oregon state park. This was a pack trail that was transformed into a wagon road in 1901 by four homesteaders from the upper Glenn Creek valley above Golden Falls. The road was blasted out of the cliffs, crossing Silver Falls at their base on a wooden bridge, and then hugging the cliff to the top of Golden Falls, 250 feet above the creek. An automobile stage operated this route, barely wide enough to accommodate a Model T, between 1912 and 1916, running from Allegany to Scottsburg. Trucks also brought lumber down the cliffs from a sawmill in the Glenn Creek valley. The last homesteader left the upper valley in 1958, and the road was closed.
Silver Falls plunges over a sandstone dome in spectacular fashion. Golden Falls, on Glenn Creek, is a similar height but neither can be approached to their base without a lot of slippery scrambling. The middle trail, however, does switchback close to Silver Falls, and you get an excellent side view. Then it’s up through a narrow defile on the homesteader road along the cliff to the top of Golden Falls. Don’t step too close to the edge as it’s a little crumbly: state parks can’t afford to keep idiots from plummeting to their doom here!
This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
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