Backcountry trails, Silver Falls SP. 2/11/2023

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Backcountry trails, Silver Falls SP. 2/11/2023

Post by pdxalex » February 13th, 2023, 8:54 am

Saturday promised to be a beautiful day. I have a new pair of boots that need to be broken in so I need some miles.
An old friend who moved near Silver Falls SP continually extolls the virtues of the backcountry trails which I knew nothing about. The stars were aligned.

My plan was to connect two backcountry trails, access roads, a jeep trail, bike path, and the trails around the canyon into about a 9.5 mile loop. I arrived at the North Trailhead at 0815 and was surprised to find only a couple of parking spaces left, largely because of a Marine recruiting event. I ascended the ridge east of the parking lot on the Perimeter Trail. It starts on the other side of HWY 214, branching off from the short trail to Upper North Falls. The trail is in excellent condition. There was one small log to step over otherwise it was clear of obstacles. This area was heavily logged before it became a park during the Depression so the forest isn't terribly old. The few intersections are well marked. After about 3 miles, I reached the Racket Ridge Trail which I was going to use to descend the ridge. It was an old logging road. The upper stretches are wide. The lower part is narrower and a bit more over grown. Racket Ridge drops down to a paved road, closed for the season, that serves Camp Silver Creek. After a short walk on pavement, I was in "the ranches" area of the park. There are wide meadows here, presumably from pasture and fields of the two farms that used to be there. I followed the road to what the park map calls the "old ranch". From the end of the road you can see two old jeep trails, obviously used by mountain bikers. Both will intersect with the paved bike loop on the east side of HWY 214. The trail heading west makes for the shortest path that ultimately reaches the Rim Trail. From there, it was a few crowded miles down into the canyon and back to the car.

Other than one party of mountain bikers and 2 trail runners, I had most of the hike to myself which is something to savor in that park. I've heard that the trails I visited are very popular with mountain bikers in the summer. On Saturday, it was very peaceful and quiet, at least until someone started target practice somewhere outside of the park. There wasn't much sign of wildlife. I didn't see any animals. I heard a woodpecker and a few other birds. I didn't see any scat until I was on the jeep trail leading out of the ranches. That short stretch had old bear scat and multiple piles from small predators. Once I crossed 214 to the Rim Trail, I was stuck in the typical Silver Falls crowds. It was beautiful day so that part of the park was packed but people were happy and friendly. It made for interesting people watching.
silver falls sp-1.jpg
Perimeter Trail
perimeter trail.jpg
Signage is clear and prominent
Racket Ridge Trail
racket trail.jpg
The Ranches
the ranches.jpg

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retired jerry
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Re: Backcountry trails, Silver Falls SP. 2/11/2023

Post by retired jerry » February 13th, 2023, 9:11 am

Thanks for the report

Cute little bridge. It looks like you could just walk over that stream :)

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