First of all, a big hurray to the “Sunshine” in Oregon. Ever since we moved here, the weather was all gloomy and subdued because of rain. Of course, this rain can’t stop anybody from being an explorer. And when the sun is bright and out, definitely take them all in. Moreover, spring is at our doorsteps. What more do you need to go all outdoorsy? My to-do list for this year’s spring is to go as much hiking as possible, chase numerous waterfalls, and do few campings. What are y’all planning for this spring and summer?
So, after visiting the famous Multnomah Waterfalls in Oregon, we ventured on a hike to the Silver Falls State park and the trail of ten falls on a bright and warm day in Oregon. The entire trail of ten falls loop took me above, behind, and around ten stunning waterfalls over an 8.7-mile loop; I was awestruck. In the beginning of the hike, I was quite doubtful whether I could cover them all, but yes, I totally did it. This blog will talk about the 5 hours I spent on the trail of ten waterfalls and how much I enjoyed each one of them.
Ten waterfalls in one single trail? I was skeptical enough like all you readers. I even thought there would be just one or two decent waterfalls and rest would be all small fillers, but I was completely wrong. This 8.7-miles long trek is totally worth it and comprises gushing waterfalls varying from 27 feet to 178 feet.
You can start your hike at either the north or the south trail head. For visitors from out of state, I would suggest to at least cover the north, middle north and south waterfalls being mindful of the time.
Here are the three ways in which you can complete the hike:
- Maple ridge Loop – 2.6 miles
Waterfalls covered: South falls, Lower south falls
2. Winter falls Loop – 5 miles
Waterfalls covered: Double falls, middle north falls, winter falls
3. Trail of ten falls – 7.2 miles
This covers the entire 10 spectacular waterfalls with a moderate hike which includes 800 feet of elevation gain on paved and unpaved trails.
Waterfalls covered: South falls, Lower south falls, lower north falls, double falls, drake falls, middle north falls, winter falls, twin falls, north falls, upper north falls.
For more details: check out the map here.
The first and most famous waterfall is the south falls. It is about 0.5-miles from the south trail head. The scene is stirring. I could easily walk the loop trail behind the falls or even enjoy the view from a wooden bridge. One good thing about this trail is that they were well marked and have sign boards which navigate us to each of the waterfalls. There is no chance you would miss any. The trails are muddy at some point but there are railings on which you can hold on.
I loved the experience of going behind the waterfalls and seeing the world through the shimmering curtain of water. My desire to click selfies ended seeing them. No picture could replicate what I saw and felt there.
The trail descends abruptly while approaching the lower south fall.
As and when we advanced through our hike, more and more waterfalls kept unfolding. The tallest waterfall in the park is the double waterfalls falling from a height of 178 feet and the smallest is the drake falls which is about 27 feet.
“Where is that roaring sound coming from?” – I asked my husband while approaching the middle north falls. This was the most powerful waterfall (visually I felt like that) and roars as water drops 106 feet over the top, then crashes onto the rocks beneath. The hikers can go behind this transparent veil, and enjoy the water rumbling past them in just a few feet away.
After visiting the middle north falls, we were confused whether we should go to see the upper falls or return back to the starting point. “We came this far, not going to give up” – that was my husband’s response. Brave fella! There weren’t many visitors in that route. And being a bear and cougar country, my heart was beating fast out of fear. “Well, let’s face it” – I told myself. Our decision was not disappointing at all. We saw the gracefully falling winter falls, twin falls, north falls and upper north falls by taking this trail.
North falls is again very powerful and thunderous. I liked the small cutout path that leads to behind the waterfall. I was dumbstruck. We sat there just listening to the pouring waterfall and grasping its beauty as much as I could in my mind.
The small detour to the upper north falls was also worth it. It was a 65 feet tall waterfall which falls into a small pool. Don’t miss it.
The way back to the south trailhead was amidst the forest. The scary, but informative thing is the notice stuck in the parking lot of the north trailhead about the cougar and bear sightings in the fall of 2016. It was already 4 pm and the sun was setting slowly. We started the hike back without even stopping for rest. Don’t panic, that’s the mantra if you face a wild animal. We reached back safely.
Here are a couple of tips:
- Make sure you have your hiking boots or solid waterproof shoes on as some places could be wet and damp even on sunny days.
- The temperature near the waterfalls could be less compared to the parking lot. Also the mist near the waterfalls makes it more chilly. Hence, make sure you carry rain proof jackets.
- If you are carrying your camera, don’t forget to carry a lens cloth. Because it gets misty, and you will need to constantly wipe off your lens. I did a big mistake of not carrying one. I managed to wipe using my tee.
- Give plenty of time for yourself for the hike. We completed the hike in about 5 hours and had to rush at the end . But with decent stops and rests, you need 6-7 hours to complete the hike before the sunset. Hence, plan accordingly and start the hike earlier.
- Get enough water and snacks (if needed). There is only one cafe found near the south trail head and it can get pretty crowded.
Best time to visit the waterfalls:
Spring and summers are the best time to visit the trail of ten falls. Winter is also a great time to visit as the park will be less crowded.The falls will be at maximum flow, and everything in the forest will be lush green.