If you know one thing about Silver Falls State Park, it’s probably that the park hosts the wildly popular Trail of Ten Falls — a 7.2-mile loop trail that takes hikers to the foot of 10 waterfalls (several of which are 100 feet or taller), behind four, and into the heart of a lush, forested canyon that’s accessible all year long. And even though there’s about 1,300 feet of elevation gain, most hikers barely notice the rolling hillsides — and enjoy the opportunity to stop and catch their breath at the base of a thundering waterfall.
So if you have your heart set on hiking one of the most popular trails anywhere in Oregon, here’s a breakdown of what you need to know for having the best possible experience.
How many waterfalls are there at the Trail of Ten Falls?
Yep, you really can hike to 10 waterfalls — and can walk behind four of those — in the midst of a forested canyon. In all, five of the park’s waterfalls are 100 feet or taller; two of the most-photographed include South Falls (which measures 177 feet tall) and North Falls (which tumbles 136 feet over a cliffside covered in lava rock). Visitors can walk behind both, and each can be accessed from a nearby parking area.
What time of year to hike the Trail of Ten Falls?
The trail is accessible and open all year long, though you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Winter may mean ice and snow on the shady trail, especially at viewpoints and sections of trail surrounding each waterfall — which can become inundated with waterfall spray and freeze on the ground. The falls reach their raging peak in springtime, meanwhile, and some slow to a trickle by mid-summer (when the weather is admittedly nicest). Visitation is highest between June and September, thanks to school breaks and family vacations. Colorful displays of foliage can be found along the trail each fall.
When to hike the Trail of Ten Falls?
No matter the time of year, try to get started by 9 a.m., and aim for a weekday outing; an early hike, especially during the week, gives you plenty of daylight, offers a bit more solitude along the trail, and makes it easy to find convenient parking.
Bringing dogs on the Trail of Ten Falls?
We understand that Fido is usually an essential hiking buddy — but you may want to consider leaving your dog home before visiting the Trail of Ten Falls. Pets are not permitted on the Canyon Trail — which comprises roughly a full third of the loop — or on a trio of connecting trails: Winter Trail, Maple Ridge Trail, and Twin Falls Trail. Learn more about where you can bring pets within Silver Falls State Park.
Where to find a map of the Trail of Ten Falls?
Oregon State Parks offers a helpful Trail of Ten Falls map (PDF) that can be downloaded or printed — and which offers trail distances, shorter loop options, park services, and more. A broader Silver Falls State Park map and brochure (PDF) is available on the Oregon State Parks website, as well. Paper maps may also be available at the park.
Options for shorter loop hikes?
If you don’t feel comfortable tackling the full 7.2 miles — or don’t have the time — fear not: A few connecting trails make it easy to shorten your day while still seeing several scenic waterfalls. Choose from a few loops, from a quick one-mile outing that descends to the base of South Falls to a five-mile loop that showcases seven scenic waterfalls. Check out this trail map (PDF) for more detailed information and loop recommendations.
And if you’re new to hiking or could use a refresher, we’ve put together a guide to hiking the Willamette Valley—with resources on permits and passes, outdoor safety, and more.