Silver Creek Falls in Oregon is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the state. It is a favorite place for Oregonians to go for a day of hiking, picnics, swimming, and just replenishing the mind, body, and spirit. Visitors from out of state love this heavily-forested retreat where they can experience Oregon's nature at its best.
Favorite activities at Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon are:
There are campgrounds for both tents and RV's, rustic cabins, overnight facilities for large groups, covered group picnic shelters, handicapped facilities, and campgrounds with corrals for horses. There is a swimming area in Silver Creek with a sandy beach and a play ground at the South Falls day-use area. The park is open year round but not all facilities are available in the winter.
Most people when visiting Silver Creek Falls hike the Trail of Ten Falls through the forested canyons where they can view ten spectacular waterfalls. The full hike is about seven miles long but it is easy to take a shorter hike by taking advantage of the different shortcuts which loop back to the beginning. You can still see some fantastic waterfalls by taking the shorter 2.8 mile hike where you turn back after the Lower South Falls. An even shorter loop, less than a mile, can be taken by crossing the bridge which is at the base of South Falls.
You can actually walk behind four of the falls:
The forest is lush with vegetation and has kind of a rain forest feel with lots of moss on the rocks and trees. There is an abundance of wildlife including black bear and cougars. The bear and cougar are not sited all that often but they are there. If you do spot one, know what to do and report the siting to a park ranger. See Oregon Black Bear and Cougar.
If you are visiting the park on a day trip, you will need to park at the South Falls Day Use Parking lot. Drive to Picnic Area C. The trail starts at the far end of the parking lot. There is a $3 day-use charge.
This trail is narrow with steep drop offs and for this reason bikes, skate boards, in-line skates, and dogs are not allowed on this trail. There are 25 miles of trails in the park where dogs are allowed and there are trails set aside for bikes. There are 14 miles of trails for horseback riding.
There is an abundance of camping options in Silver Falls State Park.
The RV sites have full hookup. There are no pull through sites. Tent sites have water nearby. There are sites with disabled access as well as disabled toilet facilities. The RV sites are open year round. Firewood is available for $5 a small wheelbarrow load. Even numbered tent sites 46 - 74 are the most desirable because they have more open space and there is a creek that flows here. An RV dump station is located at the entrance of the North Falls Group Camps entrance.
Enjoy a rustic cabin tucked away in the woods. These cabins are available year round and five of them are ADA accessible. There are one- and two-room cabins with futon mattresses, a small refrigerator, table, covered porches, ceiling fans, fire pits and outdoor picnic tables.
The one-room cabins have a double bed and a futon and sleep four people. There is room outside for a RV and/or tents to sleep an additional four people. The two-bedroom cabins sleep six people with a double bed and bunk beds in one room and a double futon in the second room. No RV's are allowed in the two-bedroom cabin area and there is parking for only one extra vehicle which must fit on the parking pad.
Pets are welcome at the cabins but they must stay outside. The cabins are non-smoking.
Group camps are open from April 1st to October 31st. They are located at the North Falls Group Camping area. These camps are great for a family reunion.
There are two group camps for RV's in the park. Each camp can accommodate 25 RV's. There are no sewer, electric, or water hook ups. A dump station is located at the entrance.
There are three group areas for tents that sleep up to 25 people. The tent sites have picnic tables and fire pits. Water and rest rooms with flush toilets are nearby.
The North Falls Lodge can be reserved for your group to use. It has a modern kitchen with a large grill, oven, refrigerator, and freezer. There are tables with seating for 100 people. The lodge is a popular place for weddings and wedding receptions. A day-use permit, $3, is required for each vehicle when used by groups that are not staying overnight.
Also available for large groups are two ranches that can accommodate up to 75 people in dormitory-style bunkhouses. One ranch is open year round and the other is open April 1st to October 31st. These have large central fireplaces, modern kitchens, and picnic tables. The ranch that is open in the winter has heated modern restrooms but the rest is heated only by the large fireplace. You have to furnish you own sleeping pad, sleeping bag, cooking utensils, and eating utensils.
Here are some wonderful photos of the Silver Falls Lodge and Conference Center.
You do need reservations for camping because this is a very popular park. Don't be put off by that though. The park us huge and even when full to capacity you can find places to just be by yourself to enjoy the surroundings with some peace and quiet. Also, the camp sites are spacious.
To make reservations contact Reservations Northwest at 1-800-452-5687.
This Oregon State Parks Brochure gives you detailed information about accommodation in the park.
Silver Falls State Park is a 30-minute drive traveling east from Salem on Highway 22. The drive to the park through the rolling green farm land is also very beautiful. Have your camera ready! The interactive map below shows you the nearest towns where you can get supplies and groceries.