North Fork Silver Creek (New!) Loop - Jan 25

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North Fork Silver Creek (New!) Loop - Jan 25

Post by Splintercat » February 1st, 2024, 2:42 pm

I took a rare midweek day off last week to get some trail time and opted to visit the new North Rim trail at Silver Falls State Park. The new trail was built by TKO and Oregon State Parks in 2021-22 and allows for several new loop options from the North Falls TH, North Falls Group Camp or Winter Falls TH. It also offers a dramatic new view of North Falls from high on the canyon rim.

The new trail doesn't show on park maps yet (nor is it showing on CalTopo), so I've sketched it in here:
My loop was a reverse lollypop with two stems -- down the North Fork on the Canyon Trail to Lower North Falls, with a side trip to Winter Falls, then back via the new loop, following the Twin Falls and North Rim Trails. Some photos follow, starting with the under-appreciated Lower North Falls (and it's seemingly permanent log!):
Next up, the massive Bigleaf Maple just downstream from North Falls. More TKO work is evident here, with some recently installed gabions that have stabilized the slopes by this old tree where a gazillion kids had scrambled down to climb on it, taking the streambank with them. Hopefully, this will help the old map survive for a few more decades:
Here's a surprise! Beavers taking up residence in Silver Creek, just a few hundred yards above Twin Falls. The trail was flooded here, too, though not the beavers' doing -- just high water.
Arguably the most gorgeous of the many waterfalls in this part is Middle North -- rip-roaring this time of year, but graceful and lacy in spring when the canyon is impossibly green. But there's a twist in this view of the falls...
...this is a new view! Made possible by a large Douglas fir that came down this winter and clearly a perfect line of sight where a wall of deciduous understory once blocked the view:
Heading back view the Twin Falls and new North Rim trails, you'll come across four large footbridge along the North Rim Trail -- which was built wide and accessible to the new North Falls overlook.
Along the new trail there is also a wonderful nature play loop trail aimed at young hikers, with themed stops along the way where kids can learn about wildlife while pretending to be a bear hibernating in a hollow log... nice! :)
Just beyond the nature play loop, the new trail arrives at a lovely overlook of North Falls -- and while it's high above the canyon, it's close enough that you are surrounded by the thundering sound of the falls:
Beyond the new viewpoint, the trail narrows to a regular, bare earth trail for the final 1/8 mile to the North Falls TH.

I've hiked here for decades and the trails have never looked better -- a big thanks to the TKO volunteers who have been making a big difference here in recent years!

-Tom :)

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Joined: January 11th, 2024, 7:23 am

Re: North Fork Silver Creek (New!) Loop - Jan 25

Post by TrailPerspective » February 2nd, 2024, 9:50 am

Great report and EPIC area! I was there but missed seeing that log you have second from the bottom, I love the eclectic points of interest like that. Thank you for sharing this, most definitely the BEST Waterfall Hike in Oregon, so I'm glad to hear its being well taken care of!

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