Ten years ago I tore my meniscus walking on flat pavement. While I was still suffering from the injury and before I even knew what I had done, I headed to Silver Falls for the first time to hike. It didn’t work out. I walked to one falls, complained a lot, and then sat in the car.
That experience was why the Silver Falls Trail of Ten Falls had to be one of our hikes. We got Subway beforehand. We learn from our mistakes. We hopped in the car and headed south. We intended to take the Woodburn exit from I5 on Labor Day weekend. Does anyone see a problem with this logic? Every human being in Oregon was at the Woodburn outlet stores doing last minute school clothes shopping. Our car travel was unpleasant. We ate our Subway as we waited to exit the freeway behind all the frantic moms and children. Some people were even parking on the interstate. Crazypants.
We finally made it to Silverton and were heading toward the trailhead when I remembered that we needed money to get into the park. We headed back to Silverton and found the only bank in the world with no ATM. Not only did it not have an ATM, but it had a sign where the ATM should be that read “Looking for an ATM?” It then had a bunch of nonsense about calling some 1-800 number. “Silverton, really, what is this 1980?” asked my sister.
Once we got into the park we hopped on the trail at the South Falls. The Trail of Ten Falls has several places that people can join the trail. This also means it has several places for dullards in high-heeled sandals and no trail etiquette to stomp five abreast in front of you at glacial pace. Labor Day weekend makes for a lot of people who think they want to hike. They don’t. They need to go home.
Once we got away from the entrances, we really had a great time. You actually walk behind several of the falls through beautiful moss-covered caverns. The height of the falls, the power of the water, it’s enough to take your breath away. There were great walls of fern, salmon berries, and lava rock that made the water take the most interesting paths. Silver Falls is beautiful.
There is a fair amount of uphill as you head from South Falls to North Falls, but I would highly recommend doing it the same way we did it. There is a canyon trail and a rim trail that make a loop. The canyon trail leads along the river, meandering up and down hills and showing you the sites. The rim trail runs along the road. It’s still pretty, but it’s no canyon trail. End with the rim trail, trust me.
When we got back to the car, we decided to drive to our parents’ house on the back roads. If you’re going to Silverton, take the back roads. The extra time is worth the view. The fields are incredible.
For information about Silver Falls click here.