Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park is Oregon's largest state park with over 8800
acres. It is located 25 miles east of Salem in the lower elevations of the
Cascade Range. The Park is home to the largest concentration of
waterfalls in North America with the highest being South Falls at 176
feet. As part of the temperate rain forest with an average annual rainfall
of about 80 inches, it is home to many diverse species of animals, birds,
fungi, and plants (including some huge old growth douglas fir trees). When
it rains in the Park, the basalt fireplace surrounded by mytrle wood
benches and chairs is one of the most popular attractions. There are many
things to see and do at the Park in all weather at any time of the year.
The services that are available include: a campground with both full hook-ups and tent sites; group camping
a conference center with cabins available both on an individual
and group basis (the food is excellent!); three large buildings for lodging
or meetings,the North Falls Lodge, the New Ranch, and the Old Ranch
(which is a remodeled barn on an old sheep ranch); the Log Cabin (built
by the Civilian Conservation Corps), available for day use only; and the
South Falls Lodge (another historic building built by the CCC) that has
interpretive displays, an information desk, a Nature Store which are all
operated by the Friends of Silver Falls, and a snack shop.
Silver Falls Park is a user fee area. The fee for the day use area is $3.00 per vehicle per day and is included in the camping fee. Yearly day use passes honored at all Oregon State Parks are available from the park headquarters and various other places.
Please Note: No dogs, bikes, or horses are allowed on the Canyon Trail.
Horse rentals were available from a private contractor in '95 and are planned to be offered in '96.
Horse rentals are available at the conference!!! Contact the Conference Center for details.
The Canyon Trail is accessible. There is a temporary bridge now in place linking the Winter Falls Trail with the main Canyon Trail!!
Although the February Flood washed out two foot bridges on the Canyon Trail, all of the falls are accessible. The bridge that links the Winter Falls Trail with the Canyon Trail has been washed away and the foot bridge below Lower South Falls is yet to be found. The Ridge Trail loop is open so hiking past South Falls to Lower South Falls is possible and access to the remaining falls is available from the North Falls Trailhead. While this closes the seven mile loop, all of the falls may be seen by doubling back to North Falls on the Canyon Trail and hiking the Ridge Trail. This distance is also about seven miles.
A trail around the perimeter of the park is now being developed.
It will be accessible to hiking, bikes, and horses.
- Hiking Trails:
The Canyon Trail or Trail of 10 Falls is a 7 mile loop that can be joined at the South Falls Lodge, North Falls, or the Winter Falls parking lot. The lower part of this trail lies along the creek bottoms and goes beside or under 10 falls in South Silver Creek and North Silver Creek. The upper part of the trail leads through the forest on the southern canyon rim. There are many trails interlinked so trips of varying lengths are possible.
- Horse Trails:
Silver Falls park has 14 miles of trail suitable for horseback riders. The trailhead is near the southwest entrance of the park. Hitching rails and a loading ramp are available in the parking lot. The trail system winds through the southern half of the park into sections only accessible by horse, bike or foot. The trails are criss-crossed so you can decide how far you want to go.
The Howard Creek Horse Camp is available for those who wish to bed down alongside their horses. The camp can be reached either by horseback or by car. The camp has primitive camping with corrals for the horses. For info or reservations, contact the state park reservation service.
- Bike Trails:
A 4 mile paved bike trail that takes off from the Day Use Area by the South Falls Lodge. This trial is easy to moderate (my rating) with some hills. It winds through the forest, crosses the highway, and makes a loop.
While the bike trail is the only trail designated specificly for bikes, all of the horse trails are open to bikes. The horse trails are rather steep, climbing about 1200 feet from the creek bottoms to the canyon rim. My favorite ride is from the campground or the Howard Creek Horse Camp area up a ridge that runs just west of the YMCA camp.
The Friends of Silver Falls State Park:
The Friends of Silver Falls State Park is a non-profit organization with
a mission to provide interpretive services and acts as an advocate for
(From the annual report prepared by Mark Chambers, former Executive Director)
The Friends group had a membership of 294, up from 15 in May of 1992
when it was formed. 131 members volunteered 6,278 hours of service
to the Park. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept. values this at over
$50,000. The Friends volunteers provided directed service to over 100,000 park visitors and kept the South Falls Lodge open for 304 days. There were 21 school groups with 787 students from the local area were hosted to interpretive programs and walks. Over 300 visitors participated in scheduled nature walks. The Friends hosted 35 Natural History Programs attended by 1,361 park visitors at the campground amphitheatre. There were seven nominations for the Coop Conference Stewart Awards from the group. These awards are for the volunteers making the greatest contributions from all of the Friends groups in the state. We had two winners, Jan Stewart and Ed Boylan, and two finalists, Peg Stewart (no relation) and Rex Swartzendruber.
For information about joining the Friends of Silver Falls State Park contact the volunteers in the South Falls Lodge at 503-873-3495.
- For group site reservations contact the Oregon State Park Reservation Service at 1-800-452-5687 from anywhere in the U.S. From outside the U.S. or from the Portland, Oregon area, phone 503-731-3411.
- For information about renting cabins at the Conference Center for individual overnight stays or scheduling a group event, call 503-873-3113.
- To reserve the Historic Log Cabin in the South Falls Day Use Area, contact the Friends of Silver Falls State Park at 503-873-3495.
Events At Silver Falls
The South Falls Lodge is open seven days a week from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Winter hours are 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. seven days a week.
Come on in and join the Friends by the fire.
The campground is now open year around with great winter rates. (The hot showers are great!)
The campground has 53 sites with electrical and sewer hookups and 51 tent sites. The maximun length of space for RVs is 60 feet. The campground is available on a first come first serve basis, no reservations are accepted.
During the summer, be sure to get there early as many people are turned away on Friday and Saturday despite a large overflow area. The overflow area is available for one night at a time with a 9:00 A.M. checkout time (which is rather loosly enforced ;-). This usually allows a space for people that are traveling through the area and need a place to stay for one night. Campground expansion is being studied. Campsite reservations will probably be available in 1997.
Click here to find out about Silver Falls videos.
Click here to go to the new Friends of Silver Falls State Park Webpages (created by me!-).
Click here to get more info on camping in Oregon State Parks
Click here to find out what Rex is up to now.
Click here to see some mushrooms.
Click here to see some truffles.
Click to visit the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum.
Click here to see what's happening in Sumpter Valley.
Click here to visit Collier Memorial State Park Logging Museum.