View South Falls at Silver Falls State Park Oregon

Where is Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park is located in northwestern Oregon and is the state’s largest state park site. The park is most famous for the long list of waterfalls that reside within its boundaries. One trail in the park, The Trail of Ten Falls, allows visitors to pass by one waterfall after another. Aside from hiking and waterfall viewing, other activities popular in Silver Falls US State Park include mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. The closest city to the park is Silverton, Oregon, and the park is located 53 miles and a one-hour drive south of Portland, 82 miles and an hour and a half drive north of Eugene, and 24 miles and a thirty-minute drive east of Salem. The park is also located near Santiam State Forest.

How Large is Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park covers over 9,000 acres. Most of its geography includes old growth forests, streams, waterfalls, and riparian zones. The park’s trail system consists of over 40 miles of trails. This milage is split between trails designated for walking and hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Silver Falls State Park also contains over 15 distinct waterfalls. Four of these 15 waterfalls possess a horseshoe like setting that allows visitors to pass behind the flow of the waterfall via park trails. The most visited waterfall in the park is South Falls. This fall towers at 177 feet but is not the tallest waterfall in the park. Remote Double Falls are 178 feet tall.

Silver Falls State Park Weather

The weather of Silver Falls State Park changes throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 50- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, and winter temperatures in the park average between 30- and 45-degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest temperatures of the year fall upon Silver Falls State Park in December and January. June, July, and August bring the warmest temperatures of the year to the park. On average, Silver Falls State Park sees about 115 days of rain every year. These 115 days normally amount to around 65 inches of rain every year. Silver Falls State Park also consistently receives snowfall every winter. Yearly snowfall averages in the park total about 13.2 inches.

View of Upper North Falls in Silver Falls State Park Oregon

When did Silver Falls become a State Park

Silver Falls State Park was first designated as a recreational demonstration area in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Simultaneously throughout the 1930’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps was contracted to improve and construct various park facilities. These facilities include the South Falls Lodge which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. In 2008, the Oregon House of Representatives fought to earn Silver Falls State Park consideration with the National Park Service. However, the bill died during committee when the United State Congress met to discuss the park.

Things to do in Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park offers visitors a truly wild experience complete with various outdoor recreation options. Our State Park Visitors Guide list the most popular adventures and experiences found in the park below:

Explore the South Falls Lodge

One of the best places for visitors to start their Silver Falls State Park adventure, the South Falls Lodge provides park information and a history lesson. The lodge was originally constructed in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the park houses educational displays and knowledgeable park staff who can assist visitors with a variety of questions and concerns.

Hike the Trail of Ten Falls

Probably the most popular trail within Silver Falls State Park, the Trail of ten Falls remains true to its name and guides visitors to views of ten of the park’s waterfalls. Visitors hiking on the Trail of ten Falls will meander through dense forest in between their rendezvous at the various waterfalls. The trail is 7.1 miles long and is listed as moderate with some difficult hiking in some places where the trail’s elevation changes sharply.

Embark Down Another Hiking Trail

The Trail of Ten Falls is not the only hiking trail within Silver Falls State Park. In fact, the park contains over 35 miles of backcountry trails. Other popular hiking trails in the park include the Canyon Trail, the Maple Ridge Trail, and the Winter Trail. These trails, along with others found throughout the park, will allow visitors to experience all of the geography and ecosystems of Silver Falls State Park.

Mountain Biking

Several trails in Silver Falls State Park are designated for biking use. The Buck Mountain Loop, Catamount Trail, and the Howard Creek Loop are popular choices among mountain bikers who visit the park. The park also maintains and manages a bike path which allows visitors pedaling all sorts of bicycles the ability to access the park.

Horseback Riding

In addition to hiking and biking trails, Silver Falls State Park also maintains horseback riding trails. Visitors bring their horse and horse trailer to the park and can camp in the horse camp. The trails in the park accessible to horses include the 214 Trail, Buck Mountain Loop, and the Howard Creek Loop.

Wildlife Viewing

Silver Falls State Park provides a home for a variety of wildlife species. The most popular species spotted by visitors within the park include black tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, several species of birds, and other woodland species. Other wildlife species known to call the Silver Falls area home include black bears, coyotes, and mountain lions.

Fishing in the State Park

Several streams in and around Silver Falls State Park provide visitors the opportunity to fish for cutthroat trout and other freshwater species. Common tackle includes lightweight flashy lures and black wooly bug flies.

Camping at Silver Falls State Park

The campground at Silver Falls State Park provides visitors the opportunity to stay within the park for a night or two. The campsites found within the campground can be reserved through the park’s website and its reservation portal. Silver Falls State Park does not offer any walk-in campsites, and often the park’s campground fills to capacity before the evening.

Brick Hiking Trail at Silver Falls State Park Oregon

When to Visit Silver Falls State Park

Visitors can plan a trip to Silver Falls State Park throughout the year. However, spring and summer are the best times to visit the park. During spring, wildlife in the park is the most active as winter temperatures begin to thaw. In summer, temperatures in the park allow visitors to experience a variety of outdoor activities.

Must Have Items to bring to Silver Falls State Park

Every trip outdoors requires packing and planning, and a trip to Silver Falls State Park is no exception. Below is a list of essential items List of Parks suggests visitors may want to consider bringing along with them to the park.

Water & High Energy Snacks

Water and snacks are essential for just about every trip outdoors. Hikers and campers visiting Silver Falls State Park will want to bring additional water and high energy snacks. Some great snacks visitors can enjoy on the trail include beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit, and protein bars.

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Visitors planning to stay longer than a day or two in Silver Falls State Park will almost certainly experience some form of rain in the park. Therefore, bringing a lightweight rain jacket along for the journey is a smart decision a visitor can make when packing for their trip.

Sturdy Hiking Boots

The trails within Silver Falls State Park traverse various terrain and geographic features found within the park. A solid pair of hiking boots will allow visitors to remain comfortable and safe on all of the park’s trails. Lightweight and waterproof boots are among some of the best pairs on the market.

Layers of Clothing

Wearing layers of clothing to Silver Falls State Park is a great way for visitors to ensure they are comfortable in a variety of temperatures. These layers can be added and shed throughout the day as visitors get chilly or warm.

Field Guides & Park Maps

Wildlife enthusiasts may want to bring along wildlife and vegetation field guides along with them to Silver Falls State Park. Visitors planning to hike several of the park’s trails should also obtain park maps from the park lodge.

View of Silver lake in Silver Lake Falls Oregon

Where to Stay in Silver Falls State Park

Visitors looking to stay within Silver Falls State Park will want to obtain a reservation for one of the park’s campgrounds. These reservations can be made through the park’ website and reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel near the park will want to first check out options in Madison. Additional lodging options can be found and hour away from the park in Portland.

Food Near Silver Falls State Park

The closest food to Silver Falls State Park is located in Madison. The town contains several restaurants and a few grocery stores that can suit most visitors' needs. However, visitors looking for additional options or a larger culinary scene can make the hour drive to Portland. One of the most populated cities in Oregon, Portland contains an unlimited array of restaurants, bars, and grocery stores. 

Waterfall and View of Autumn Leaves in Silver Falls State Park Oregon

Airports Near Silver Falls State Park

The closest airport to Silver Falls State Park is located in Portland. The Portland International Airport is located 58 miles or an hour drive north of the park. The next closest international airport to Silver Falls State Park is located in Washington. The Seattle -Tacoma international airport is located 218 miles and a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of the park.

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