The Trail of Ten Falls might be the biggest attraction at Silver Falls State Park — but it’s far from the park’s only wonder. Enjoy a picnic, head out on a quiet hike, hop into your mountain bike’s saddle, or even climb a massive Douglas fir tree across the park’s 9,000 acres. Here’s a rundown on the many ways to have fun away from the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park.
Explore the South Falls Day-use Area
You could visit the South Falls Day-use Area at the southwest edge of the park, never step foot on a trail — and still have a memorable day at the park. The sweeping day-use area hosts several lawns with horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and barbecue grills (perfect for picnicking); a small gift shop and nature store (operated by Friends of Silver Falls); the historic South Falls Lodge, which hosts a small café, restrooms, and (on rainy and snowy days) a crackling fireplace; volunteers who can answer questions about flora, fauna, where to explore; an off-leash pet area; and more.
In all, the park hosts 45 miles of trails across its 9,000 acres. The three-mile Smith Creek Trail, for instance, heads through a forest of big-leaf maple that turns vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red each fall — and the park’s one-mile Nature Trail is a family-friendly footpath that shows off impressive wildflower displays each spring. The Perimeter Trail, meanwhile, heads away from the crowds and into a forest of 400-year-old Douglas fir trees; wildflowers bloom into early summer along the trail, as well.
mountain biking paths
In recent years, trail builders have worked to improve access for all users across the park — an ongoing effort that brought us the six-mile Catamount Trail, which delivers flowing, cross-country rides through a towering forest; turns, berms, and rock features challenge beginner and intermediate riders along the way.
Paved cycling path and Silver Falls Nature Play Area
If you brought your bike, the park’s four-mile cycling loop path makes a great way to travel between the day-use areas, the campground, a spacious meadow, and other fun areas. The path is mostly paved and somewhat flat (with occasional rolling hillsides). Your little ones will love the park’s Nature Play Area, where a 0.25-mile trail travels among 16 play areas — each themed around a different animal. Attractions include a dirt pit where children can dig for rocks and fossils, climb through a hollow log, and more.
Tree Climbing At Silver Falls
Open since 2021, Tree Climbing at Silver Falls delivers exactly what it promises: The venture offers tree-climbing lessons and the opportunity to (safely) ascend Douglas fir trees that are nearly 300 feet tall. Options include introductory climbs, sunset climbs, multi-day courses, and even kid camps.