In this case, Silver is better than Gold
This hike ranks up there as one of the best hikes I've ever been on. What makes a great hike? A well-maintained loop trail for variety; more than one trail option; a big payoff (this one has ten unique waterfalls); a great workout. This one has them all in spades. If you are EVER in the Portland/Salem area and have several hours to spare, do this hike; you will not regret it. Though it does not have the highest falls in the region, this contains the greatest concentration of beautiful waterfalls.
Here is a copy of the Park brochure. I parked in Lot F at the Southwestern portion of the park, and proceeded around the "Trail of Ten Falls" loop clockwise. You can also do it in the opposite direction if you want to get the busier portion of the hike, that which is near the highway and bike path. I proceeded toward the tallest of them, South Falls. The view from above is interesting. Proceed downhill along the paved path and they come into view . Proceed behind the falls, and down to another great view from downstream . Note that these pictures were taken by an old Canon digital camera, and they look professionally done simply because of the stunning views.
Proceed along the The West side of the creek for about a mile to the Lower South Falls . I'm running out of words to describe the variety and beauty of each waterfall, so I'll let the pictures tell the story. Another mile ahead and heading East is the Lower North Falls . A short while later is a short side trail to Double Falls , well worth the extra few minutes. Then comes Drake Falls and Middle North Falls . The trail behind the falls is closed as of October, 2010, but you can get close enough for a good view. A quarter-mile or so along the trail is a bridge to the right. This is the first place I saw anyone else, though it was a rainy October day, and summertime is likely much busier.
Here you have a choice--continue straight along the trail another 1 1/2 miles to North Falls , making the overall loop about 8.7 miles. I was in a time crunch, and decided that I'd visit those falls by car. I went across the bridge and uphill to the Winter Falls , returning along the Rim Trail back to my car. Interestingly, I started thinking about that crummy vampire movie "Twighlight" and its opening scene, filmed in this park, and behold what I saw. Thankfully there were no vampires nearby to sparkle and devour the deer (or separate me from my hemoglobin).
A nearby nice place to visit is the Oregon Garden in Silverton.
Check out the Triplogs.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
Most recent Triplog Review