If you’ve decided to visit Silver Falls State Park, just about 35 minutes east of Salem, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind — like when the park’s open, the best time to visit, day-use fees, and more. Here’s a guide that addresses some of the most common questions we hear about visiting Silver Falls State Park.

When is Silver Falls State Park open?

The park is open every day of the year. Gates at the South Falls day-use area—perhaps the most popular area of Silver Falls State Park — are generally open from dawn to dusk all year long, with opening and closing times that fluctuate with sunrise and sunset.

When is the best time of year to visit Silver Falls State Park?

There’s really no bad time to visit Silver Falls State Park, and any visit should be planned around what interests you about the park. Chasing waterfalls? Visit in spring when thundering waterfalls, fed by snowmelt, are at their raging peak. Looking for a pleasant hike or overnight outing? Summertime usually means sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. And if you’re leaf-peeping, the park’s thriving populations of alder and vine maple dazzle with colorful fall foliage displays in October. Winter is the quietest season at Silver Falls, as hiking can be limited thanks to rain, snow, and occasional ice. 

How do you find solitude at Silver Falls State Park?

The park is referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system and sees more than 1 million visitors each year. So if you want to enjoy a little peace and quiet, keep these tips in mind: Try to start your hike along the Trail of Ten Falls by 9 a.m. in spring, summer, or fall; make time to explore the park’s backcountry, away from the popular trail, in summer; and aim for a weekday trip any time of year — but especially during the park’s peak season (roughly between June and September). 

What should I know before visiting Silver Falls State Park during the winter?

The park may remain open in winter, but hikers should be aware of the potential for snow and ice on park trails. At lower elevations, and along the Trail of Ten Falls, the shady nature of the park’s paths mean snow and ice may linger for days or weeks after they first accumulate; at higher elevations, snow may linger for months on end. If planning a wintertime hike, be sure to ask a park ranger about trail conditions — and bring a traction device (such as microspikes) to be safe.

Is there a fee to visit Silver Falls State Park?

Oregon State Parks charges a $5 day-use fee for Silver Falls State Park — payable by cash or card at automated stations near park entries and at most trailheads. Note that 12- and 24-month permits are available online, as well. Campers do not need to pay the $5 day-use fee, and can simply place their camping receipt on their vehicle’s dashboard when parked away from the campground.

What wildlife is found around Silver Falls State Park?

A rich variety of wildlife calls the park home. Visitors may encounter hungry squirrels and chipmunks along the Trail of Ten Falls and in the South Falls Day-use Area — but should never feed the animals. Cougars and black bears, meanwhile, live in the park’s quieter backcountry; encounters are extremely rare, but visitors should prepare for potential encounters and keep their distance at all times.

Is there cell service in Silver Falls State Park?

Cell service within the park is spotty, at best. No matter the network, you may lose service as soon as you arrive at the South Falls Day-use Area — and may not have service again until you depart. Wi-Fi is available at the historic South Falls Lodge, as well.

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