TRADING RAIN FOR WATERFALLS IN OREGON: SILVER FALLS STATE PARK

SF01

Oh my gosh does it rain in Oregon!

November through early January was nothing but an endless stream of rain from the skies. The sun barely crept out.

A view from behind the majestic South Falls

A view from behind the majestic South Falls

Late January through February were ok, with the sun and rain splitting time. March has been a revival of more of the soaky-side of things. The sun peers out often, perhaps while I’m at work or at the end of a week day, giving us a tease before hiding come Saturday and Sunday. Needless to say, its been a bit difficult to catch those sunny days on the weekend (when it really matters to the weekend roady lifestyle!)

Another satisfying weekend day trip! (Me in front of South Falls)

Another satisfying weekend day trip to add to the ledger! (Me in front of South Falls)

Yes, I’m still getting adjusted a bit to the climate of the Pacific Northwest. The winter really took a toll on my usual schedule of plans and activities, opting instead to stick indoors or around town on most weekends. I’ve done much less writing here, well, because there just hasn’t been much going on. Behind the scenes, that’s different. Breeah and I are scheduling out our spring and summer weekend plans as well as planning an incredible journey in May (stay tuned!). Call us wimps, but we’re not used to having to plan around so much rain (nor have I geared up appropriately yet to just dive right into rainy day activities), but hopefully the spring and summer will warm our spirits and we’ll have learned how to handle the wet weather by this time next year!

Winding walkway behind Lower South Falls

Winding walkway behind Lower South Falls

That said we had a fabulously spring-y day to enjoy on the last day of Winter (keeping score at home? That was last Saturday, March 19). We decided to make our third attempt at visiting Silver Falls State Park in the vicinity of the capital city of Salem (last time we tried, two weeks prior, heavy rains hit and we headed for the mall in Salem). We packed a picnic lunch and forged ahead, determined to enjoy the blissful weather and take in a true Oregon gem.

It was so so so worth it!

Lower North Falls, the first of four falls within 1/2 mile of each other.

Lower North Falls, the first of four falls within 1/2 mile of each other.

Silver Falls State Park is a true national treasure (I’m actually somewhat surprised it isn’t a national park site – there is authentic CCC parkitecture all around). From the moment you start your hike you are dropped into the gorgeous panorama that is South Falls. As you huge the side of the rocky outcrop, you can actually hike behind these gushing falls, getting a nice little spray on you in the process. If this was it, it would be impressive enough to drive out to, but if you stopped now you’d miss out on nine more major waterfalls (if you hike the entire 7.2 mile Trail of Ten Falls).

Double Falls (see its baby twin up top?)

Double Falls (see its baby twin up top?)

We decided on the five mile Winter Falls loop, which promises seven waterfalls total and delivered on every one of them. Outside of the South Falls, you can also walk behind Lower South Falls (a little over a mile away and your next waterfall on the trail) and Middle North Falls, which is off on a short outcropping of the main trail. Towards the end of the hike you have five distinctly different waterfalls (including the majestic Double Falls) that come at you in very quick succession. To be honest, the place felt like a waterfall theme-park of sorts. If you want to see a variety of falls in one fell swoop, all with their own different character, come here. Before visiting this park I actually never imagined such place could exist – waterfalls always felt like one-shot deals to me, you drive/hike to one, ogle it for a bit and maybe there is another one in the area you can check out on another drive/hike. I never imagined I’d see seven great ones in a span of four miles of each other.

Drake Falls

Middle North Falls

There is a shorter North Falls loop that promises another 3+ mile hike and the final three showcase falls of the park, something we’re eager to save for another visit. We already have a list of 20-30 different hikes/sites we are hoping to tackle on some nice weekend days, so hopefully those become the norm. If anything a visit to Silver Falls is a wonderful way to kick start the Spring!

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