Directions: Take I-205 to exit 10 and drive South on Highway 213. Follow signs to Silverton, once in Silverton get on Highway 214. Take Highway 214 for about 14 miles to the South Falls Lodge parking area.
To see our first post click here.
We got here right when the park opened this time (8:00am) which was a really good idea. There was only a few other cars and we didn’t have to fight through crowds at all of the waterfalls. We started the loop at South Falls this time which is near the lodge and bathrooms.
To start this hike take the paved path past the bathroom and around the lodge. You will soon come to an intersection. Go left and downhill switching back once and you will reach South Falls. This is probably the most popular waterfall in the park and with good reason. The trail continues on as you walk behind the waterfall and downhill to a bridge. Crossing the bridge will take you back up to the parking area, so instead stay straight on the trail as you hike along the South Fork of Silver Creek. Soon you will come to a long staircase that switches back down to Lower South Falls. This is the second of four waterfalls that you’ll be walking behind. Continue on the trail and you will soon switch to following along the North Fork of Silver Creek, this is probably the prettiest section of the creek. The fall colors were beautiful in this area.
Soon you’ll reach a few stairs that take you down to a bridge over the creek. Just a short distance later you’ll come to Lower North Falls. It’s a shorter waterfall but still very pretty. The next waterfall, Double Falls, comes quickly and you need to take a short side trail off to your left. Unfortunately with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had lately this waterfall was barely trickling. Head back out to the main trail and cross a small bridge, a short distance later you’ll come to a viewing platform for Drake Falls. It’s not the most spectacular compared to all the others and you can’t get a very good look at it from the platform.
Continuing on another quarter mile will bring you to Middle North Falls. This waterfall looked so different from our last trip, it’s usually a wide curtain waterfall, this time it was maybe a quarter of it’s normal width. There is a side trail that will take you behind this waterfall but dead ends. It’s definitely worth the minimal effort. Soon after this waterfall you’ll come to a trail intersection. Stay straight towards Twin Falls which you’ll reach in a little less than a half mile. Twin Falls is the other waterfall that isn’t much to look at, if you can even get a good look. It does mark the roughly halfway point in the loop though.
From Twin Falls continue on, making sure you stay on the lower trail (canyon trail) towards North Falls. You’ll be hiking for a little over a mile, the first half isn’t very spectacular but the trail does get better and before you know it you’ll be at North Falls. This is another tall waterfall that has a great walk-behind trail. We actually decided to sit at one of the benches behind the waterfall and eat lunch, we definitely recommend this- you can’t beat the view! Continue on past North Falls and you’ll come to your last set of stairs as you climb up to a great view of North Falls below!
A short distance later you’ll come to the North Falls parking area, go straight and under the bridge you’ll see a sign for Upper North Falls. This is the waterfall we missed last time, we’re SO glad we saw it this time. It’s our favorite out of all ten waterfalls! The side trail is a little over a quarter mile and ends at two stairs that take you down to the wide open creek area with a beautiful view of Upper North Falls. Make sure you look downstream too it’s very pretty! When you’re finished head back out to the main trail and go uphill towards Winter Falls.
In about a mile you will reach a parking area and the side trail down to Winter Falls. We were a little bummed that the last waterfall on our loop was also barely flowing, more like dripping. This weather hasn’t been good on the waterfalls! Head back up to the main trail and in about a mile you’ll be back to the Lodge and parking area.
The most noticeable change was the water levels. Even though it’s mid-October the waterfalls were almost lower than summer level. We definitely recommend late fall through spring as a good time to visit.
All of the fall colors were amazing though and make sure you get there as early as possible. It’s a much nicer experience without a million people around.
Click here to see the Silver Falls State Park website for more information.
Distance: 7.5 miles (moderate)
Elevation: 1,200 feet (moderate)
Pet Friendly: Dogs are NOT allowed on most trails.
Good For: All ages
Parking Fee: $5 entrance fee
Popular: Yes, especially summer weekends.